Solar Satellite Arrays
We've always had the power of the sun, but we always can find better ways to harvest it.
A cheap and comparatively easy technology to implement. Solar Satellite Arrays can provide power to entire cities or even entire planets depending on the scale and investment. They are often used to replace Nuclear based power sources which can be prohibitive on cost or can take hard to find resources. Solar Satellite Arrays are broken up into two components, the Collector Array and the Storage Array.
Collector ArrayA collector array is the space-born side of the Solar collection array. It uses low-power engines and a constant rotating gyroscope to maintain a geosynchronous orbit with the planet as well as maintain direct sunlight for as long as it possibly can. Geosynchronous orbit allows the Collector array to stay on top of the planet-side storage array thus making the power far more easy to manage and handle. Collector Arrays can be stringed together to be as large as several miles in diameter, with all power be diverted into a singular microwave beam directed to the surface collector.
Storage ArrayStorage Arrays are the planet-side facilities that collect the microwave output of the collector arrays as well as store an excess power into batteries to be used at a later date. Combining a turbine system and a solar updraft tower, the storage array has a multitude of ways to turn the power harvested from space into usable energy for a planet. Typically a storage array is kept outside of a city as the size can range from a football field to an industrial complex depending on the scale of the corresponding Collector Array. The microwave collector, while still requiring protection to enter, is non-lethal in short exposures.
Real EstateSolar Satellite Arrays are not the most space-efficient solutions for power, as they can take up a large section of both land and space. The Microwaves used to transmit power from the Collector to the surface can cause errant radiation if not secured and maintained properly so even more space is recommended to protect the population around the Storage Array.
DowntimeCollector Arrays rely on direct line of sight with a system's star for its full power, there are times when Solar Satellites are only gathering of a portion of their normal power, which means batteries become critical to cover for times when a systems star is not available. Some planets which have multiple stars can overcome this issue through careful programming, but many planets with longer days can start to have problems if power-usage is not properly tracked.
MaintenanceSolar Satellite Arrays also require a high maintenance to keep functioning. While later generation arrays have far more inbuilt systems to keep them operating, the common use Collector array normally needs to be inspected and serviced once every decade. This means planets that suffer a collapse may lose their primary power source in a decades time.
Easy to SabotageA Collector Array requires a geosynchronous orbit, which means that if they are shoved off course, no power generation can occur. This makes Collector Arrays a prime target for terrorist attacks, as a simple bump with a wayship can cause power loss for an entire city if the Collector Array is not able to correct itself. Many Collector Arrays have to be protected either with automatic security drones or with manned patrols.
It's quite inspiring to see that red and white solar tower rising from the tops of the housing. It's a testament of the Sophontic ability to expand. A beacon of civilization in what would otherwise be an inhospitable world.