Heliotrope Solar House

Designed by Rolf Disch and constructed in Freiburg, Germany, the house uses sunlight for both electricity and water heating. It collects rainwater and recycles domestic wastewater, and also uses a composting toilet.

Disch’s design is so effective that it actually generates 5 times more energy than it uses on average, making it the world’s first energy positive solar home!


Solarwise Garden in Minnesota

Thanks to Minnesota’s Pollinator Friendly Solar Act of 2016, the area surrounding these solar panels are being kept as a habitat for bees. Connexus Energy incorporated pollinator habitat around their solar panels soon after the act was signed. In April 2017 they went a step further, and partnered with a small family business, Bolton Bees, to install beehives at the solar facility. It’s the first solar farm to include its own apiary, but I hope it’s a trend that continues!

You can help support Travis and Chiara Bolton and their beehives by buying their honey!


Was just poking around the solarflower site again (as I take some wheels off my old bike to hopefully, eventually, build a couple of his wind turbines) and he actually has a whole extra page with early concepts of in-progress/upcoming sustainability-minded, scrap-based, open-source projects! I swear this dude is like a solarpunk hero


Solar Power Towers

Instead of using photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into electricity, a solar power tower is a type of solar furnace. An array of mirrors concentrates sunlight on a central tower and the heat is used to provide power, similarly to more conventional generators.

Early designs used the solar thermal energy to heat water, producing steam, which was used to drive turbines. Newer designs use liquid sodium or molten salts (similar to the way some nuclear plants work). These liquids have high heat capacity, meaning they can store a lot of thermal energy. This stored heat can then be used to boil water and drive steam turbines, with the added benefit that enough heat can be stored to keep generating power even after sunset.

One of the leading organisations developing this technology is a Spanish company, Abengoa Solar.


ART.Rainbow by Daniele Gualeni

A solar powered dome pavilion concept, for parties and events. The dome is prefabricated, easy to assemble, covered in flexible solar panels and LED lighting, and can be created with different colours as desired. By day it provides shade and stores energy, by night it’s an illuminated social space.


Benben Solar Park
Aswan, Egypt

An ambitious project, the Benben Solar Park is currently under construction and aims to be the largest solar farm in the world. It was opened and began producing energy in March this year, starting at 50 MW output. By mid-2019, they plan to be collecting over 1.6 GW of power. 

A massive complex, the entire site covers 37.2 km² and will eventually contain 32 solar plants, providing power for 350,000 people. Currently, funding has been secured for 29 of those solar plants.

With ample sunlight and plenty of open space, Egypt is well suited to solar energy, and authorities hope that the entire country will be able to be producing 90 GW of solar power by 2035.