Japanese company plans to build solar panels on the Moon

The visionary tech project that truly is the stuff of science fiction

The proposals from the Shimizu Corporation would see an 11,000 mile strip of solar cells on the Moon harnessing the Sun's energy to provide sustainable clean energy for generations to come. 

The Shimizu Corp. plans to collect the energy gathered on the Moon by using microwave and laser beams sent to a network of conversion facilities on Earth. These beams would in turn be sent to semiconductors and inverters where they would be converted into electricity.

Materials for the project would be shipped up to the Moon from Earth. In keeping with the ecologically minded brief, water for the construction process would be extracted from the Lunar soil rather than being taken from our own precious water stocks.

Sadly those who dream of pollution-free energy for the world within our lifetime are unlikely to benefit from the project. If it is to go ahead it will most probably take place in two stages over two generations. Firstly an infrastructure would need to be established with plans to put a station into orbit around the Earth where ships could be built.

Once in place, resources could be collected from Earth and shipped to the Moon where teams of astronauts and robots would assemble power stations and solar cells connecting them across the Lunar surface with the use of giant power cables.

It’s a fantastic vision from Shimizu and one that naturally has it’s detractors. How does a solar farm on a world with virtually no atmosphere protect itself from potential meteor showers? Moreover, how is a project on such an epic scale going to be paid for?

Technology moves fast and in the time it would take to colonise the Moon science may have come up with a better solution closer to home. 

image: © Dave Young