Energy Products

Could solar power be used to cool the Earth?

Probably a dumb question from a tired brain, but is there a certain (astronomical) number of solar power panels that could convert the Sun's heat energy to electrical energy enough to reduce the planet's rising temperature?

EDIT: Thanks for the responses! For clarification I know the Second Law makes it impossible to use converted electrical energy for cooling without increasing total entropic heat in the atmosphere, just wondering about the hypothetical effects behind storing that electrical energy and not using it.


  • Orbital PV power plants would do the trick. Beam the resulting power down to the surface via low-energy RF. This is an idea that's been around for decades.

    In addition to providing power, the orbital array would shade the surface.

    Problem is, that an installation of any useful size would probably cost Trillions (with a "T") of dollars.
  • “ would probably cost Trillions ”

  • I thought the big problem with the orbital array (ignoring cost) is if the power beam (microwaves) wanders from the target, it could kill millions. Also, birds would be fried if they fly through the beam. Then again, Trump could use it to kill off any states that don't vote for him, while claiming he's only killing COVID.
  • That's why it would need to be low-energy RF, which would require a huge receiver array on the surface.

    IMO, cost is the biggest issue against adoption of such a scheme. There's just not enough political will to spend this kind of money unless the ROI is immediate. Stopping Manhattan from being flooded fifty years from now just isn't important to short-term-thinking politicians.
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