"This project may not be implemented in the near future. However, it’s necessary to study the problem, experts say. This may breed new technical solutions, such as more effective lasers or solar batteries." - Russia OpEd 3.14.13
The idea of collecting solar power in space and transmitting it to earth is not a new one. The idea has been popular for decades because solar panels in space would be far more efficient than those based on Earth, due to the lack of clouds, or disturbance by the ozone layer.
Russian scientists have proposed the construction of a giant solar-power space-station which would orbit the earth. The idea was put forth by none other than the Central Scientific Research Institute for Engineering, part of the Russian Space Agency.
American Peter Glaser first conveyed the idea of space based solar power back in 1968 when he suggested that solar panels covering an area of several square kilometres could collect solar energy and convert it into electricity, from where it could then be transmitted to the Earth’s surface via the medium of microwaves.
The Russian plan is very similar except they will use lasers rather than microwaves. Unfortunately no laser currently exists that ...