San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) is planning to buy solar power beamed to earth from space, local newspaper reported on Tuesday.
PG&E has asked California state regulators to let it hire Solaren, a Southern California startup company, to generate electricity from solar power in space, the San Jose Mercury News said in a report.
Under the purchase agreement, Solaren will deliver 200 megawatts of clean, renewable power over a 15-year period starting from 2016. One megawatt of electricity generally is enough to power 750 to 1,000 homes.
PG&E hopes the agreement can be approved by California Public Utilities Commission by the end of October.
Solaren plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, and then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in California's Fresno County. From there, the energy will be converted to electricity and fed into PG&E's power grid.
While the concept of space solar power makes sense, making it work at an affordable cost is a major challenge, which Solaren says it can solve.
Though the overall cost of the proposed deal hasn't been disclosed, PG&E spokesman Jonathan Marshall said it will be comparable to what the company buys through other renewable energy contracts.