In 2002, Dr. Martin Hoffert, Professor Emeritus of Physics, New York University, proposed a radical solution to what appears to be a serious coming energy shortfall (Science, 2002): space solar power (SSP) — collect energy from space and transmit it wirelessly anywhere in the world.
The basic concept, invented in the late 60s by Dr. Peter Glaser of Arthur D. Little: a large platform, positioned in space in a high Earth orbit continuously collects and converts solar energy into electricity. This power is then used to drive a wireless power transmission system that transmits the solar energy to receivers on Earth. Because of its immunity to nighttime, to weather or to the changing seasons, the SPS concept. has the potential to achieve much greater energy efficiency than ground based solar power systems.
There are significant advantages to SSP compared to ground solar power, according to an NSS statement: solar energy in space is seven times greater per unit area than on the ground, and the collection of solar space energy is not disrupted by nightfall and inclement weather, avoiding the need for expensive energy storage. And it’s especially valuable for isolated areas of the world (parts of Africa and India, for example.)
The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) proposed on Nov. 2, 2012 a joint collaboration for a space solar power mission with India and met with former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam. “Kalam assured, certainly he will take up this interest to the Government of India and ISRO [Indian Space Research Organization], so that a hard cooperation and collaboration between ISRO, DRDO [Defence Research & Development Organisation of India] and CAST is realised on one of the great mission, may be Space-based Solar Power initiative so that both India and China can work for long term association with proper funding along with other willing space faring nations to bring space solar power to earth,” the statement said.