Affordable Space Solar Power

Virtus Solis

Limitless power from the Sun

The impetus for Virtus Solis is to provide clean, low-cost renewable energy that directly supplants primary energy production for all terrestrial uses and eventually even extra-terrestrial.  Fossil fuels power 85% of the world in a non-sustainable fashion. This must change. There are limited options for disruption because terrestrial renewable power is intermittent - it is seldom available when and where needed.  Ubiquitous, inexpensive and clean energy are desperately needed. Cleaning up electric power requires replacing the equivalent of more than a million tons of coal use every day for the next 30 years. But even that is not enough. Globally, most of the planet’s population suffers from energy poverty[1],[2] and access to low cost energy is the greatest lever for universal prosperity[3]. Limitless low-cost energy solves these problems and promotes sustainable growth and harmony.

Initial addressable market would be the United States at $34B for electrical energy infrastructure.  Worldwide total addressable market for electrical energy infrastructure is $750B, and if fossil fuel prospecting is included the market rises to $1.2T .  Sufficiently low electrical energy cost would enable carbon-neutral synfuel generation below fossil fuel costs for those applications like commercial aircraft and heavy freight which don’t have viable alternatives to convert to battery power .  At Virtus Solis's forecast price of $25/MWh the entire world’s energy consumption would be approximately $4T.  

Energy return on investment (EROI) for alternatives to fossil fuels has been poor or non-dispatchable - driving up pricing volatility .  Penetration of intermittent resources has highlighted the need for storage to time-shift the harvested energy.  Lazard has estimated the cost for renewables-integrated storage to be minimum $100/MWh assuming only two hours per day of available storage, implying a scaling problem to improve renewables penetration as over-building would be needed to charge that storage.  

Space solar provides energy cost-competitive with all available alternatives as seen in Figure 4 below, with 100% availability and the added advantage of instantly dispatchability across great distances  (approximate field of view of the transmitter above North America is coast to coast) to effectively become ‘universal spinning reserves’.

Virtus Solis’s factory-built, high economy of scale solution to energy production is targeted at that global scale primary energy market.  As launch costs are key to delivering low cost space solar power, a purpose-designed vehicle is included in the technology stack..  At $200/kg the launch costs account for a third of the deployment costs of the solar power satellite, whereas the state of the art is currently at $4000/kg.  Forthcoming improvements to the state of art from SpaceX’s Starship improve launch costs to an estimated $1000/kg in the period leading up to the first solar power satellite deployment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] USA per capita at 9kW, worldwide average at 1.8kW – calculated from BP data

[2] “BP Statistical Review of World Energy - June 2018” https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2018-full-report.pdf

[3] Cutler J. Cleveland; Robert Costanza; Charles A. S. Hall; Robert Kaufmann “Energy and the U.S. Economy: A Biophysical Perspective” Science, New Series, Vol. 225, No. 4665 (Aug. 31, 1984), 890-897.

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