Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have successfully beamed solar power from space to Earth wirelessly, marking a significant milestone in space-based power transmission. The experiment was conducted as part of Caltech’s Space Solar Power Project, using the Microwave Array for Power-transfer Low-orbit Experiment (MAPLE) prototype aboard the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD-1).
The array of transmitters in MAPLE successfully transmitted solar power collected in space via microwaves to a receiver on the rooftop of a building on Caltech’s campus. The experiment demonstrated the feasibility of wireless power transmission from space and its potential to provide energy to remote regions and areas affected by war or natural disasters. Japan also plans to utilize this technology by the mid-2030s, with a pilot project scheduled for 2025. Space-based solar power collection offers a 24-hour operation compared to ground-based solar power and has the potential to address humanity’s growing energy needs.