11 Must-See Art Installations, Inspired by Solar Panels

Categories: Energy

We all know that solar is a practical, smart investment. It’s good for the environment, frees people to control their own electricity production and is one of the fastest-growing industries (read: JOB CREATORS) in the country. But one of the complaints (often heard from homeowners’ associations) is that solar panels are ugly.

We beg to differ — and apparently, so do artists around the world. Here are 11 of the most artful uses of solar panels we’ve ever seen.

1.Solar Installation, Zwickau, Saxony (Germany)


We love this installation in front of the Zwickau University of Applied Sciences in Zwickau, Saxony (Germany). Photographer André Karwath took the photo back in 2005. The goal is to increase the visibility of solar installations — as if Germany needed the help.

2.Solar Intersections, Davis, Calif.


Soaring toward the sun, Solar Intersections is a commissioned work by renowned artist and educator Robert Behrens. The installation built in 1989 includes sixteen 70-foot-high steel poles coated with a special adhesive paint on which solar panels are placed. Framed by crate myrtle trees and perennial flowers planted in a checkerboard pattern, the artist created an entire setting to reflect the place in which his work is displayed.

3. The Silicon Forest, Portland, Ore.


Where else but Portland, right? Local artist Brian Borrello is a visual artist, designer, educator and public artist. His experience with a broad array of sculptural and graphic techniques, and a versatile range of conceptual approaches is evident in his paintings, sculptures and public art pieces. As a visual artist, Brian is particularly interested in creating awareness of human life in balance with other life forms and with our shared environment. In his art for the public realm, he seizes opportunities to make ‘places’ by activating urban spaces through image, form and symbol, in response to history, community and context.The Silicon Forest is powered by solar panels and can be seen at the Interstate/Rose Quarter Station in Portland.

4. Seed-Pod, Chattanooga, Tenn.


Birmingham, Ala. artist Dee Dee Morrison is quickly becoming one of our favorites. Listen to her describe her own work: “As a sculptor and installation artist, my work has been influenced by my interest in biological forms and light; coupled with the interest in the natural world is a fascination for technical and scientific advances. As a result, a unique style has evolved to reflect my understanding of the natural world by using heavy industrial metals, laser jet cutting methods andorganically inspired designs to create solar powered sustainable sculptures.” How cool is that?

Morrison’s sculpture is an artistic representation of a seed pod coming out of a dormant state to form new life. But it’s more than just a display of nature’s beauty. Seed-Pod is also a visual display of the power and energy that’s available every day in the sun’s warming rays.

(SPOILER ALERT: You’ll see another of Dee Dee’s works later.)

5. Energetic Energies, Milan, Italy



Japanese architect and sculptor Akihisi Hirata introduced the world to two solar-inspired installations at Milan Design Week showing how solar panels could be used in the future to power entire cities. According to the All That Is Interestingblog, Hirata had this to say about his goal with the pieces:


“Nature is three-dimensional and filled with living organisms. Future cities should be similar if they are to coexist with nature. And solar panels hold greater potential to actually create more livable cities, aesthetically speaking, than their current form suggests.


We couldn’t agree more.

  Page Turn