Solar energy can be many things: renewable, green, and cost-effective. But can it be art? Of course! More and more projects are cropping up in public spaces that prove solar energy not only helps power cities but also inspires creativity.
Here are three installations that explore the cross-section of solar energy and artistic expression.
Designer: Dan Corson
At the base of the Space Needle, a series of towering flowers demonstrate the power of solar. Standing 33-feet tall with petals measuring 20 feet wide, the flowers generate energy with 270 four-watt panels mounted on the top of their heads -- proof that solar energy works even in the commonly cloudy Pacific Northwest.
For five hours each night, the installation puts on a colorful show. Downward-facing domes produce a dazzling display of color-changing LEDs. However, this project intends to educate as well as entertain. A kiosk inside the Pacific Science Center -- the installation is located just outside of its gates -- displays the project’s electricity generation in real-time, as well as daily, monthly and yearly totals.
Solar Peace Sculptures
Location: This is a traveling exhibit.
Designer: Fred George
This installation comprises recycled oil barrels, each with an attached solar panel, taking the form of the peace sign, Geral Holtom’s 1958 symbol calling for the end of nuclear weapons. The sculpture stands 58 feet high and feeds energy right back into the host city’s grid. This is a moving exhibit, “designed removable and transportable - to be where young people want to engage with responsibility for new solutions and technologies -- for a sustainable future…,” the artist’s website states.
Location: San Antonio
Designer: Cruz Ortiz
This first-of-its-kind installation uses SolarSkin, a special film that turns any solar panel into a canvass for artistic expression with minimal disruption to the system’s performance. La Monarcha is a project of the Land Art Generator Solar Mural initiative, which raises awareness of renewable energy through public artwork.
La Monarcha celebrates the city’s status as the National Wildlife Federation’s first Monarch Butterly Champion City. The installation includes four panels measuring a combined six-foot-six-inches wide and 11-feet tall.
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