Solar Panels Inspired by Nature Could Power Homes of the Future

Dwell highlights a clever new design idea called Solar Ivy. Using concepts of biomimicry (where industrial design imitates nature), the Brooklyn-based design group SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) seeks to "invent a hybrid new approach to solar and wind power."

Their Solar Ivy—flexible photovoltaic 'leaves' made of sheets of recyclable polyethylene—is a modular, ivy-like system that can be used on the sides of buildings, to capture the sunlight much like plants do. As the 'ivy' flutters and shifts in the wind, it converts solar energy into electricity.

[They] are currently developing the next generation of the technology, which they call GROW. It will look and act like Solar Ivy, except that as it flutters in the wind, it will transform that kinetic energy into electricity, making each leaf that much more potent and powerful.


The full post includes an interview with the creators, who say that the technology will be made available in mid-October. Its modular design could be implemented at various scales, from a small barn or house to a large office building or structure, potentially making solar power more accessible to individuals.

Images courtesy of SMIT