The Azimuth Project
Lunar solar power (Rev #5)



Lunar solar power (LSP) is an idea to build photovoltaic solar power on the moon in order to avoid the energy loss caused by the atmosphere and then return the energy to Earth with microwave transmission.

moon base

The power losses in the atmosphere and cloud is roughly 50 %, so any solar photovoltaic system placed on the surface of the Earth already has half of the solar energy to start with. As the total solar energy from the Sun to Earth is 174 000 TW/s (Tera is 10^12) this is a huge loss of energy.

This is from Dr Criswell’s 2003 testimonial hearing in the senate:

By 2050, approximately 10 billion people will live on Earth demanding ~5 times the power now available. By then, solar power from the Moon could provide everyone clean, affordable, and sustainable electric power. No terrestrial options can provide the needed minimum of 2 kWe/person or at least 20 terawatts globally.

Solar power bases will be built on the Moon that collect a small fraction of the Moon’s dependable solar power and convert it into power beams that will dependably deliver lunar solar power to receivers on Earth. On Earth each power beam will be transformed into electricity and distributed, on-demand, through local electric power grids. Each terrestrial receiver can accept power directly from the Moon or indirectly, via relay satellites, when the receiver cannot view the Moon. The intensity of each power beam is restricted to 20%, or less, of the intensity of noontime sunlight. Each power beam can be safely received, for example, in an industrially zoned area.

Its an idea that is supported by several scientists. David Archer writes this in his book “The long thaw How Humana are Changing the the next 100 000 years of Earth’s Climate”. In the Epilogue when addressing how to make new stabilization wedges he says:

I have two favorites big ideas for generating lots of energy. One is to > build solar cells on the moon as advocated by David Criswell.

David also sugges that Socolow idea of making 7 wedges initially shoud consider 12 as the danger levels of CO_2 has gotten lower - like the 350 ppm which is advocated by the ((350]] organisation.



One of the most important elements of a human planetary base is power production. Lunar data make it clear that several types of solar-to-electric converters can be manufactured on the Moon. Materials research and processing demonstrations are suggested that can be carried out on Earth, the Space Transportation System (STS), the International Space Station (ISS), and on the Moon to advance the in situ production of solar-to-electric power systems on the Moon. Many of the technologies will be applicable to Mars, the silicate moons, and asteroids.

  • David Criswell, Wikipedia. This article has personal bio on Criswell and a cost estimate for a demo as well.

category: energy