Could Space Reflectors Help the Output of Solar Farms?

01 March 2024

As part of Footprints, we often like to shed light on some of the world’s most interesting and unusual stories from the world of Energy and Sustainability.

Recently, an article about giant space reflectors caught our attention; as it raised the question, could they continue powering solar farms after sunset?

 

 

Space engineers from the University of Glasgow have published new research showing how kilometre-wide orbiting reflectors could boost the output of future large-scale solar farms by reflecting additional sunlight towards them even after the sun has set, offering solar farms an extra two hours of generation each day.

The additional sunlight could boost the output of the world’s future solar farms, particularly at night when electricity demand is high. The output could be scaled up further by adding more reflectors or increasing their size.

They estimate that just 20 reflectors could generate an extra 728 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per day – the equivalent of adding an additional large-scale solar power farm to Earth without the associated cost of construction!