Jaffe’s vision for the project is a one-kilometer array of modules, along with sun reflectors, which would span about nine football fields. Up until now, the only space satellite to date that even comes close to this scale is the International Space Station, which is a bit longer than an American football field.
While it may seem a bit out there (literally) right now, the Navy’s work to explore alternative solar options for energy isn’t surprising. It’s part of a trend by the US military to explore the use of and deploy alternative energy sources to achieve its mission.
The Army already has erected a number of
key solar arrays as part of microgrids to power its installations, finding that renewable energy can be more cost-effective than using generators or hooking up to the regular electricity grid.
Indeed, the Navy said using solar arrays according to Jaffe’s design could deliver energy at about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. Eventually such an idea might even be extended to the commercial sector to power cities.