Solar Ivy captures the sun's energy whilst creating a pleasing visual aesthetic
July 7, 2011
Solar Ivy was inspired by traditional mansions, where ivy decorates the exterior walls and reflects the organic essence of nature. Created in collaboration with Brooklyn-based parent company SMIT, Solar Ivy is a series of solar cells printed with conductive ink that resemble ivy leaves. The leaves have been designed to be placed on the outside of residential or commercial buildings as a way of utilizing and absorbing solar energy, whilst also doubling as a shade screen.
The original idea came from siblings Samuel and Teresita Cochran, for a thesis on Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology in 2005. Since then, the idea has grown into a fully fledged business, and a piece at the Museum of Modern Art's "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition in New York.
Lightweight and flexible, Solar Ivy can reportedly be easily mounted on to a vertical wall, not only creating a pleasing aesthetic but also expanding the area of power generation. Using a steel mesh base, the solar leaves can bend to create various curved or rigid shapes, or be mounted to contour the outer surface of a structure. Each leaf features a thin photovoltaic panel and is available in three types.
The organic type contains non toxic materials, with each leaf costing around US$18 and producing 0.5 watts. The amorphous silicon leaves costs US$23 each and produce 0.75 watts a piece, whilst the CIGS option utilizes a more efficient type of thin-film which costs approximately US$21 per leaf and produces 4 watts of energy. Depending on the desired look, customers can select from a range of colors and shapes to suit their style. On average, 500 Solar Ivy leaves are recommend for a residential house, which would generate close to 250 watts of power.