Space Colonization Wiki

Solar panels or heat engines?[]

What would be best, using solar panels or heat engines to generate electricity in orbit for transmission back to Earth?

The reason for asking is that at the Earth's distance from the sun, photovoltaics can generate as much electricity as a heat engine, but further out in the solar system where sunlight is much weaker, from the asteroid belt and beyond, a heat engine could generate much more electricity than a photovoltaic system by changing its working fluid to something that boils at a much lower temperature.

So should we be bothering with solar panels at all in orbit of the Earth? Would it not be better to prove the space solar heat-engine technology, a technology already proven at the surface of the Earth, so that we don't have to develop a new technology when we do start to colonize the further parts of the solar system?