June 30, 2008 Gorbet Design has created a solar installation that cleverly combines modern art with renewable energy technology. The Solar Collector's 12 cylindrical shafts rise up from a grassy hilltop at the Waterloo Regional Operations Centre in Cambridge, Canada.
The dynamic sculpture created by artists Matt Gorbet, Rob Gorbet, and Susan LK Gorbet launched on the summer solstice - June 21st.
Each of the Solar Collector’s shafts has three sets of lights and three solar panels and their angles reflect the angles of the sun through the year. The tallest shaft is perpendicular to the sun at winter solstice, when the sun is low in the sky and the flattest shaft faces the high sun at summer solstice. The solar panels collect the sun’s energy during the day and store it in batteries within each shaft.
Described the project as a “collaboration between the community and the sun,” the interactive installation allows members of the community to use simple web-based controls to compose wave-based patterns that flow across pulsing lights that are spaced along the shafts. By logging on to the Solar Collector website, any user anywhere in the world can create and submit a patter to be considered for the next performance. The composition is then played that night when it becomes dark. The unpredictable nature of the energy supply means the performances also change depending on the natural rhythms of the sun and seasons.