Solar Ivy captures the sun's energy whilst creating a pleasing visual aesthetic


July 7, 2011

Solar Ivy captures the sun's energy whilst creating a pleasing visual aesthetic

(Image by Solar Ivy/SMIT)

Solar Ivy captures the sun's energy whilst creating a pleasing visual aesthetic (Image by Solar Ivy/SMIT)

Image Gallery (12 images)

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.

Source: Inhabitat

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Sounds neat, but I would be worried about vulnerability to high winds or hail.


Yep, not to mention the leaves shadowing each other, which will greatly reduce output. Seems not a lot of thought went into the practical aspects of these, yet again. Have no idea why TH keeps running these sorts of articles, don\'t they have people there with technical knowledge?

Mr T

Keep posting these inventions. These are all the small steps that will take us to the large solutions. This is not perfect but it is a step closer to putting cells on the front of older buildings. It almost works, I think they could look even closer to leaves and the ones that are overlapped should be fake cells that are there just to bring the illusion of overlapped leaves. I\'m sorry that some people don\'t have the patience for small steps.


@sonic: Well said, from reading the usual \'fast-draw\' negative comments it would seem to be somewhat of a hobby for the same coterie of early contributors....finding fault.

Having said that, I suppose constantly sniping at other peoples\' ideas in order to see oneself in print, is easier than having ones own! Ian Colley.


$10,500 for 250 watts of power. Or, to put it another way, $10,500 to power 2 and 1/2 incandescent light bulbs.

I can\'t imagine why more people aren\'t jumping on this opportunity! :P

Kirk Lawson

what happens in Fall? do we have to buy new \'leaves\' every spring? ;-)

No mention of the purpose of the blank areas in the photos - wouldn\'t it be better to be 100% populated?

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