Green Energy Plug

Paula B. Garcia Rosa: Combining renewable energy with public art

In my blog post today I would like to share three amazing initiatives that incorporate renewable energy into the design of public artwork.

Solar collector

The first initiative I would like to share is the Solar Collector – a solar powered interactive sculpture installed in Cambridge (Ontario, Canada).  The sculpture consists of twelve aluminium shafts with angles reflecting the position of the sun through the year. Each shaft has three sets of lights, three solar panels and a battery to storage the collected energy.

solar collector

The sculpture absorbs solar energy during the day, and then in the night the stored energy powers a performance of flowing light patterns.  The patterns in light are created by the community through a web interface.


Greeting to the sun

Another wonderful public art installation that collects solar energy is the Greeting to the sun in Zatar, Croatia. The Greeting to the sun is a 22-meter circle with multi-layered glass plates and solar panels set into the stone paving of the city quay. With the collected energy during the day, LEDs shift colours and patterns creating a light show from sunset to sunrise. The absorbed energy is also used to power a portion of the quay lighting system.


On the background of the Greeting to the Sun, the visitors can listen to the Sea Organ, a massive musical instrument built into marble stairs and played by the local ocean waves.



Land Art Generator Initiative

Every 2 years the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) launches an international design competition where interdisciplinary teams of artists, architects, scientists, and engineers are invited to design public large scale site-specific artwork that harvest renewable energy, and also educate and inspire the viewers. The initiative started in 2010, and the 4th event will be held in Southern California next year.

One of the participants of the 2010 competition is currently working towards the installation of an urban prototype of the WindNest project in Pittsburgh.  It will be the very first of the LAGI competition designs to be constructed. The prototype will integrate wind and solar technologies to produce 8,000 kWh per year – enough energy to power a local park carousel. Still, Windnest’s visitors will be able to charge their phones using the energy generated from the artwork.



Paula B. G. R., Metamorphosis Collaborator



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