Japan will try to beam solar power from space by 2025. This is reported by Engadget.

The corresponding public-private project is headed by Kyoto University professor Naoki Shinohara, who has been working on space solar energy since 2009. As part of the work, it is planned to deploy a series of small devices in orbit that will try to direct the collected solar power to ground receiving stations hundreds of kilometers away.

However, even if Japan successfully deploys orbiting solar arrays, the technology will still be closer to science fiction than reality. This is because the production of a system capable of generating 1 gigawatt of energy would cost about $7 billion using existing technologies.

The use of orbiting solar panels and microwaves to transmit energy to Earth was first proposed in 1968. Since then, several countries, including China and the United States, have spent time and money to implement this idea.

The technology is attractive because orbiting solar cells are a potentially unlimited source of renewable energy. In space, solar panels can collect energy regardless of the time of day, and thanks to the use of microwaves to transmit the generated energy, clouds are also not a problem.

Japan and the country’s space agency JAXA have been trying for decades to make the transmission of solar energy from space possible. In 2015, JAXA scientists successfully transmitted 1.8 kilowatts of energy, enough to power an electric kettle, over 50m to a wireless receiver.