If you live in an apartment but want to be able to generate your own solar power, Solgami may be the solution that you are looking for. All without blocking any of the natural light.
The thing with apartments is that you don’t really get to have a say when it comes to having solar panels. It is only your landlord that can make the decision as to what goes on the roof.
This may be about to change with a new origami-style blind design that can hang inside your windows and generate electricity. This doesn’t only not block the natural light, its design brings more natural light inside.
It works by reflecting the light within the screen, generating electricity via multiple bounces between the geometry and integrated solar panels.
Ben Berwick, an architect and the director of the Australia-based design firm Prevalent had this to say:
We’re looking at repositioning the city as a place of production, not just a place of consumption.
Most of the world’s population live in cities, and that number is ever-increasing. With Solgami, the design will make it easier for more people to participate in the global project of transitioning to renewable energy.
Of course, there is nothing new about solar on windows as there are coatings that can go directly on to the glass. But the alternatives have been inefficient and darken rooms.
Largely, it’s reducing the quality of your light–why would you put something in your window that’s going to cut your light by 50% just to gain a small amount of electricity?
The shape is based on louvers that are sometimes used in office buildings to reflect more natural light inside.
What happens with typical rooftop solar panels is that most of the light that hits the panel is reflected back up into the sky. The Solgami has been designed so that it can bounce the light between multiple solar panels, generating more power.
The design is made by screen printing thin film solar cells onto a plastic backing, cutting out the design, and then folding it into the origami shape–something that’s difficult to do in early prototypes, but relatively simple to manufacture at scale.
When used in an apartment, the power will run from the blinds into a box on the wall, and then likely back into the grid; even if it doesn’t fully offset someone’s electricity bill, it could be a way for city dwellers to contribute to solar power at a much larger scale.