Land of the Rising Solar Panel

PhysOrg reveals why Japan is going to outlast us all – because instead of (or in addition to) prospecting for oil reserves, they’re going to put solar panels in orbit:

The planned solar station will produce 1 Gigawatt of electricity from its four km2 (approximately 2.5 square miles) array of solar panels, which is enough to power just under 300,000 Tokyo homes, at present usage levels. Since the array will be in orbit some 36,000 km (22,500 miles) above the earth’s surface, it will be unaffected by weather conditions and will be able to generate power constantly.

They admit it’s too expensive to be practical now, but once they’ve started, they should find ways to bring the price down significantly. Hopefully, the technology isn’t also useful as a remote-controlled death beam. Because, you know, microwaves from orbit… there’s a profit potential there.