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  • [ November 21, 2013 ]
  • The beauty of solar power is being showcased in art

BY LIZ ZABEL | IOWA ENERGY CENTER

Renewable energy can do more than save energy and money—it can be a beautiful work of art.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Hall Studio

The Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatchewan, Canada recently installed new stained glass in the cathedral that not only brighten the church with colored glow, but also generate solar power for the building. The windows, designed by Canadian glass artist Sarah Hall that she titled “Lux Gloria,” generate an estimated 2,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year with nearly 1,000 small silver-colored panels that are embedded into the glass. This is the first art installation to be linked to the grid.

To create these solar installations, she designs, paints, and fires her own glass before sending it off to a German glassworks studio that embeds the glass with the solar cells and wiring.The product is then finished with a glass panel and a thermal pane.

Hall started incorporating solar energy into her art in 2005, when designing a window to be part of a house competing in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon—a competition where students build affordable, livable homes that use solar power for energy; but she is not the only artist to incorporate solar into projects. In fact, Martine Kaczynski, an associate professor of fine arts at the Pratt Institute in New York City, said incorporating solar power into art is not a new concept. She herself created a replica of an unused gas station in New York which included a solar-powered outdoor movie theater. In 1989, artist Robert Behrens created a piece called “Solar Intersections,” which includes various sized steel poles that link to solar panels. Artist Lynn Goodpasture created solar-generating glass for the children’s section of Calif.’s Pearl Avenue Branch Library that power a lamp at the library’s entrance with the hope of encouraging interest in solar energy.

Source: Artists tap into solar power, E&E News

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