The gigantic PV system that China plans to launch into orbit by the middle of the century is expected to provide several gigawatts of electricity, to be sent to the earth in the form of microwaves. By as early as the middle of the next decade, the Chinese want to test their technologies with a few megawatt-scale pilot plants in the stratosphere.
However, China's ambitions could easily be achieved by the Galactic Empire of the Star Wars saga, according to new figures provided by EOn. The German utility has calculated the amount of solar power that the Death Star space station could theoretically generate.
With a diameter of 160 km, the huge, fictional spaceship offers 40,000 square km of surface area on which PV modules could be installed, if the empire were to use the side that faces the nearest sun. EOn has already removed the space that would be needed for maintenance and ventilation shafts, as well as the combat station's defenses.
The company has concluded that solar modules with output of 171.4 MW per square km could be installed on the surface of the Death Star, to generate around 6.8 TW (6,800 GW). If the PV modules were facing the sun around the clock, the generated energy could supply 2.472 billion households with electricity, assuming annual consumption of 2,500 kWh.
But that's not all. In “Return of the Jedi” the Death Star was expanded to 900 km in diameter. Under such conditions, it could potentially produce an astonishing 218,000 TWh of solar electricity, which would exceed Earth's electricity needs by about 10 times.
EOn's experts wisely recommended the use of all-black PV modules, in order to retain the original aesthetics of the Death Star.
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