*Solar Palm (latin: musa lampyris) is a self-sustaining, natural-looking palm, both for indoor and outdoor use. It looks like a regular, natural palm tree but it doubles as a self-powered lamp: during the day it collects solar energy through the top surface of its leaves and stores it in an accumulator hidden in its base. After dusk *solar palm uses the collected energy to power the bottom part of its leaves, to provide vivid, bright illumination that disperses the darkness. The energy can be also used for charging mobile devices via an integrated USB connector.
Since 2013 we have been working with Sefar, the leading manufacturer of precision fabrics, and with G24 Power, the world leader in the design and manufacture of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC), to take advantage of recent advancements in luminescent fabrics and in flexible solar modules, and to obtain both the natural look and the high efficiency of the surfaces of musa lampyris.
The top part of each leaf consists of multiple DSSC-based solar modules to provide a low-cost yet efficient and robust mechanism for collecting solar energy. The modules are designed to cope with partial shadows and sub-optimal sun angles, which are of course unavoidable as the sun moves across the sky. Additionally, the modules are covered with a special green filter, to yield a more nature-like look yet without impeding the energy collection. The bottom part of each leaf is a single sheet of a luminescent fabric decorated with natural looking patterns, providing a full-surface illumination. The patterns can of course can be customized arbitrarily, to mimic the looks of a desired palm.
The first prototype we've created gives an estimated 4-5 hours of continuous full illumination after an average spring/summer day at Switzerland-latitudes (it will be obviously longer in locations with stronger average sun exposure). However, this is just the beginning and the available illumination period can be extended to a full night in several ways, including:
trimming down the intensity of the illumination
increasing the ratio of "solar-area" to "luminescent-area", e.g. by employing addtional solar-only leaves, which would collect energy but would not provide light (currently the ratio is ~ 1, as each leaf both collects and consumes energy),
the fast-paced improvements in the efficiency of employed technologies.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
cast and credits:
concept, design and realization: Drzach & Suchy
luminescent technology: Sefar, the leading manufacturer of precision fabrics
solar technology: G24 Power, the world leader in the design and manufacture of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells,
electrical engineering and consulting: Dariusz Mochnacki