Solgami: Origami Solar Panels Generate Energy For Apartments.

Solgami: Origami Solar Panels Generate Energy For Apartments.

Solgami: These Origami Solar Panels Generate Electricity For Apartments.

by Mike Brown on February 11, 2019  –

A new design of solar panel could help apartment dwellers harvest electricity from their windows without prohibitive installation costs. Solgami, designed by Australian architect Ben Berwick, is a window blind that generates power while bouncing more light into the room using a folded origami design.

“It’s a bit of a reconnection to the natural setting,” Berwick, who founded architecture firm Prevalent, told Fast Company* this weekend. “It’s making your apartment a better place to be.”

The design combines thin film solar cells with reflective inks. It’s folded into a shape measuring 10 centimeters (under four inches) deep so that it bounces light into the room, meaning natural light reaches broader areas of the space. It can switch between open and closed, meaning it acts as a replacement for blinds, while also folding back for complete window access. The design has undergone several iterations since its first unveiling in 2015.

It’s an idea that could help millions of people living in apartment buildings. Around 54 percent of the global population lived in an urban area in 2014, a figure set to rise to 66 percent by 2050. While the Tesla Solar Roof and similar panels can help homeowners harvest clean energy, Berwick’s solution could help the majority of the world take advantage of similar technologies.

Prevalent's design in action.
Prevalent’s design in action.

The project is also aimed at offering a simpler solution for city-based solar generation, compared to invasive measures like special solar windows. SolarWindow, a company developing such a solution, noted that a 50-storey building generating energy through this solution could generate up to 50 times more power compared to placing roof panels on the same building.

Berwick’s design was chosen as a finalist for the 2019 Lexus Design Awards at the end of last month, meaning it will now receive support from the car firm to create a prototype in time for the Milan Design Week in April. The entry was one of six chosen from 1,548 entries, with other finalists including a turbine that harvests aircraft jet blasts for electricity and a modular house design. Four experts will chose the eventual winner on April 8.


Solar-Powered Cars?

Solar-Powered Cars?

Watts Up With Solar-Powered Cars?

Check out these two super cool solar-powered cars.

For years, the concept of solar-powered cars has loomed over the electric car industry as a hopeful, possible future. But there are many who argue that this concept is not only impractical, it is basically impossible.

But the innovators behind Lightyear One, a fully solar-powered vehicle to be released in 2019, just won an award for their design. Lightyear One, a car whose ability to use solar power has been thought of as an impossible feat, just won a Climate Change Innovator Award. Designed by the Dutch startup Lightyear, the “car that charges itself” can supposedly drive for months without charging and has a 400 – 800 km range.

Lightyear solar-powered car







German manufacturer Sono Motors is taking pre-orders for its Sion solar-powered car, with the vehicles due on Europe’s roads in 2019. Other manufacturers also have solar vehicles in development. Dutch Company Lightyear says the first deliveries of its own fully solar-powered car are scheduled for 2020, a year later than originally planned.

Both the Lightyear One and Sion vehicles are covered in solar panels that can either power the car directly, or charge the onboard battery.

End of the fill-up?

The batteries in the solar-powered cars offer a fairly standard range compared with other electric vehicles. The Sion has a 250km range, while the Lightyear One has a 400-600km range. By way of comparison, the Tesla Model S has a sector-leading range of more than 630km.

However, while you would need to recharge standard EVs at the end of their range, solar-powered cars could, in theory, go on and on. Even if the Sion’s battery was empty, its manufacturer says the car could drive 30km per day. Lightyear, meanwhile, says its car could run for months without being charged.

This could help overcome one of the biggest barriers to widespread EV adoption, the lack of charging points.

Bloomberg predicts that by 2022 EVs will cost the same as fossil fuel cars, helping kick-start a trend that could see them account for more than a third of global new vehicle sales by 2040.

Whether solar-power vehicles will join this affordability trend remains to be seen. The Lightyear One is currently being marketed at prices from $140,000, excluding taxes.

Sono’s Sion, on the other hand, is pitched to be more affordable, sitting within the market range for an average-price vehicle, which in the EU is currently around $25,000. The company is taking pre-orders for the vehicle at $18,800, plus a $4,700 rental charge for the battery.

Do you have an EV and are looking for a Level 2 EV Charger?

Watts Up with Solar-Powered Boats

Watts Up with Solar-Powered Boats

Check out these four super-cool solar-powered boats.

Since most recreational boating is done when the weather is nice, solar power is particularly well adapted to the task.

The Constance Shuttle: The Constance solar shuttle is 100% solar powered, and operates on Lake Constance, near the border between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It can carry up to 60 passengers at speeds of 15 kph

The Sun 21: The “sun21” was awarded by the Guinness World Records for the fastest transatlantic crossing made completely under solar power. The “sun21” crossed the Atlantic ocean from Gran Canaria to Martinique in 29 days. The boat is equipped with solar modules, batteries and motors allowing a constant speed of 5-6 knots (10-12 km/h) 24 hours a day. This is equivalent to the average speed of sailing yachts.












The Soel Cat 12: The SoelCat 12 is a trailblazing energy autonomous solar electric catamaran. It brings true eco-tourism to water-bound resorts, lagoons, nature reserves, and reefs. During downtime, the SoelCat 12 can utilize its solar array to feed the AC grid. Just plug it in – as simple as that. No sunshine or nightly cruises? The 120kWh lithium battery systems supply all the energy needed. catamaran










Our Favorite, The Peña Blanca: Clayton Grantham said visitors to Peña Blanca Lake are surprised to learn his boat’s engine is directly powered by solar panels, not through solar energy stored in a battery. Grantham’s raft is made of wallboard and PVC panels, a $5 folding chair and a $95 motor. He said people can buy cheaper and more efficient solar panels than his, which are 10 years old. He said 325-watt panels sell for less than $150 each. When the sun is strong, the solar panels allow the boat to travel at 3 mph and charge his MP3 player so he can listen to music while he picks up trash.