Japan announced that it had achieved a major technical breakthrough for the realization in terms of space solar power.

Japan since the 1980’s dream: to produce electricity in space and then send it to Earth. An ambitious project was launched in 2009 after the Commencement research in 1998. But a few days ago, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that it had achieved a major technical breakthrough, managing to convert and transmit the electricity by microwaves on a distance of 55 meters.

” This is the first time that sent and the equivalent of a power of two kilowatts a microwave to a small target, using the directivity control device ” , said a spokesman of the JAXA.

The principle is simple, almost: large photovoltaic panels convert solar energy into electricity, with an annual capacity of five to ten times higher (in the same area). This electric current will in turn be converted to energy flux transmitted by laser or microwave to Earth, where it will be picked up by a giant satellite dish, only to be converted back into electricity.

In space, unlike the earth, no atmosphere absorbs sunlight. Solar radiation is four times that of the earth’s surface. Another advantage is the central subject to any day / night, allowing it to be effective 99% of the time. The amount of energy available and should be 8 to 10 times higher than a solar power plant located on the ground.

However, it will take decades before moving to a practical use of this technology, perhaps in the 2040,because there are still a number of challenges, including the delivery of huge infrastructure required in space; its construction cost, or maintenance, since we do not yet know the strength of solar panels to shocks with objects in orbit.