A research group representing 16 companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
, will spend four years developing technology to send electricity without cables in the form of microwaves, according to a statement on the trade ministrys Web site.
It sounds like a science-fiction cartoon, but solar power generation in space may be a significant alternative energy source in the century ahead as fossil fuel disappears, said Kensuke Kanekiyo, managing director of the Institute of Energy Economics, a government research body.
Japan is developing the technology for the 1-gigawatt solar station, fitted with four square kilometers of solar panels, and hopes to have it running in three decades, according to a 15-page background document prepared by the trade ministry in August. Being in space it will generate power from the sun regardless of weather conditions, unlike earth-based solar generators.
One gigawatt is enough to supply about 294,000 average Tokyo homes.