What if we put solar panels on balloons?


An electro-chemist with the Japanese-French laboratory NextPV is studying the idea of putting solar cells on balloons and floating them high in the sky. This would make the solar cells “five times more abundant than on the ground.”

New Orleans is already a Top 10 solar energy city according to at least one report. Cloudy days and rain prevent 43% of the sunlight we could could get each year. Solar balloons would immediately improve that percentage because they would be above the clouds.

Potential problems would include airspace. Planes, helicopters, and drones would have to stay clear. And birds beware.

The balloons would have to be connected to the ground by cables. The cables would move around depending on the wind. So, solar balloon farms would use up a lot of surface area. We could put the solar balloon farms in Lake Pontchartrain and reroute airport traffic.

I like this idea. I am adding it to the Science Future Map.