If you’re with a friend, and you both see an energy generating solar panel, you’ll probably see nothing else. However, some artists see one and think that they can turn it into a work of art, and some of the results are astonishing. Solar panels are pretty versatile when it comes to where they can be used, but whether they’re at the heart of an individual artwork or form part of a wider piece, they can make it look quirky, unique, futuristic and, in many cases, eye-catching.
One of the best examples of solar panels being used as art is a piece by Sarah Hall, which sees solar panels placed in between glass panes and framed. Amazingly, they still work, generating light as well as energy, making them ideal to have in any Eco-friendly home or office. Solar panels work just as well with outdoor art as they do indoors, as The Silicon Forest in Portland by Brian Borrello proves. Resembling trees, small solar panels act as ‘leaves’, sprouting from the base.
While that piece is a good example of how solar panels can help to make great pieces of public art, perhaps the best place to witness solar panels as art is on Solar Street in the Austrian town of Gleisdorf. All along this 3.5km long road, you’ll see up to 100 different buildings, public artworks and statues where solar panels are used to dazzling effect.
Solar power alone can be pretty impressive when used for artistic purposes, but the celebrated Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata, renowned for his works involving laser drawings has used both solar and wind power for his latest piece. In Afghanistan, he will be projecting a luminous laser image of the Bamiyan Buddhas, an ancient artwork recently destroyed by the Taliban onto a rural hillside. This work will be innovative and proves that renewable energy can be used for more than just generating electricity.