It sounds like something out of science fiction: collecting solar energy from the Sun up in space and beaming it safely down to Earth with clever wireless tech. But it’s something that could be happening as soon as 203 thanks to the West of England's growing space industry!

The brainboxes at Bristol University led by Dr Timothy Pelham and his team are busy testing the different wireless systems which will actually enable the solar power collected in space to be transferred to earth.

Dr Pelham, showed the Mayor round the University’s special purpose-built ‘Anechoic Chamber facility’, which is key for the high-tech research, explained how the project will provide evidence on the safety and reliability of different wireless systems - key to making solar farms in space a reality.

These solar satellites - still in early development - have huge potential to boost the UK economy while slashing emissions and driving down bills for locals in the region too by providing renewable energy all year round, as the Sun is visible 99% of the time.

Mayor Norris hailed Dr Pelham and said the “groundbreaking” research was further proof of how key the West of England’s 100 company-strong space industry is becoming. 

His Mayoral Authority is funding work on Space West - the region’s “space cluster” - and will double the 1,000 people working in the region’s space industry over the next four years.

Mayor Norris said: “The West of England space sector is a success story.

From Bristol’s Thales Alenia Space who have built super-vital satellite tech used in space missions to track the health of our precious planet, to the vital National Composite Centre base in Emerson Green, we really are harnessing the endless possibilities of space to boost all our communities.

“Dr Pelham and his team are no different.Their work could really help us take that giant leap - getting energy directly from space, with the West of England at the forefront of this.

“It just goes to show how vital the West's space sector is becoming. And with the cash my Mayoral Combined Authority is putting into Space West, we can and will go even further - to protect our planet, and explore our universe.”

Dr Timothy Pelham added: "Our work at Bristol is a key-enabling technology for the development of space-based solar power worldwide. 

"Space-based solar promises reliable, renewable power for the first time, using antenna arrays bigger than any built on Earth so far. 

"Our open-source electromagnetics software opens the door to the design and safe operation of space-solar, and a new generation in renewable power."

One study found that space-based solar power could generate a quarter of the UK’s current electricity demand.