Friday, June 06, 2008



LONDON, ENGLAND, June 1, 2008: Jyoti is the Hindi word for light. It’s something Pranav Mehta has never had to live without. And he is lucky. Near where he lives in Gujarat, one of the most prosperous states in India, thousands of rural villages lack electricity or struggle with an intermittent supply at best. “Rural India is suffering a lot because of a lack of energy,” said Mehta.Much of that electricity will come from coal-fired power plants, like the US$4 billion so-called ultra mega complex scheduled to be built south of Tunda Wand. Yet Mehta has another solution for India’s chronic electricity shortage, one that does not involve power plants on the ground but instead massive sun-gathering satellites in geosynchronous orbits 22,000 miles in the sky.

His dream is to have satellites that would electromagnetically beam gigawatts of solar energy back to ground-based receivers, where it would then be converted to electricity and transferred to power grids. And because in high Earth orbit, satellites are unaffected by the earth’s shadow virtually 365 days a year, the floating power plants could provide round-the-clock clean, renewable electricity. “This will be kind of a leap frog action instead of just crawling,” said Mehta, who is the director of India operations for Space Island Group, a California-based company working to develop solar satellites. “It is a win-win situation.”


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