UK devotes $3.6 million to space-based solar


The UK government has opened a contest offering support to the developers of space-based solar systems which could have terrestrial applications.

A GBP 3 million ($3.6 million) to GBP 6 million budget has been allocated to the competition but all government policy being rolled out in the UK at the moment should be caveated by the fact the next prime minister could decide to clamp down on expenditure.

Under the terms of the contest published by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this month, GBP 1.25 million will be made available for projects related to the use of wireless power transmission, a cash pot of the same scale will finance high-concentration photovoltaics, and GBP 500,000 will be on offer for design and engineering projects to support those two types of hardware.

A further “up to” GBP 3 million will be available for the development of the “architecture” to back space-based solar, presumably for launch systems and the like.

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The BEIS competition document stated more or less funding may be made available “depending upon budget availability.”

Earth-based applications of such innovations could include super-efficient, lightweight solar panels and electromagnetic power transmission which could transfer electricity from offshore wind farms to mainland demand centers.

The applications window opened last week and will close on September 23 with grants to be awarded in December.

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