• Wed. Oct 5th, 2022

“Now’s the time to design a photo voltaic future”

Read Time:7 Minute, 20 Second

A radical change in perceptions is required for society to completely embrace solar energy, write pioneering designers Marjan van Aubel and Pauline van Dongen as a part of Dezeen’s newly launched Photo voltaic Revolution sequence.


We’re firstly of a worldwide power disaster. Our polluting power system primarily based on finite fossil sources is destroying our planet and threatening its inhabitants.

The information is overflowing with studies of planetary destruction by people, fossil fuels and geopolitical conflicts, all intently tied to a dangerous power system that has no future. The IPCC report (AR6, 2022) reveals that human-induced local weather change is inflicting critical international disruption and poses a serious danger to the wellbeing of individuals and the planet.

Her highly effective rays are calling us louder than ever, as a result of we now have reached a crucial level

The struggle in Ukraine is placing additional strain on the power system; because of the battle with Russia, Europe has restricted entry to fuel. Rising power prices are quickly rising the price of dwelling for all, probably pushing many individuals into poverty.

But, right here we’re. All underneath the identical solar that nourishes us on daily basis. Her highly effective rays are calling us louder than ever, as a result of we now have reached a crucial level. The present power system has turn out to be untenable on all fronts: economically, socially and environmentally. Thankfully, there’s a hopeful various at our fingertips.

For the primary time in our historical past, photo voltaic power is the most affordable supply of electrical energy for many main international locations. This begs the query: why is not photo voltaic power extensively used and embraced by society but? As a way to speed up the power transition and make it accessible to everybody, it’s essential that photo voltaic power turns into a self-evident and pure a part of everybody’s day by day expertise.

What does it take to realize this shift? The predominant narrative surrounding photo voltaic power focuses on technical and financial issues, resembling effectivity and payback time. This one-sided, technocratic perspective leaves no room for human and cultural values, limiting the social acceptance and full potential of photo voltaic.

It’s time to create house for surprise, design and creativeness. Room for pioneers who deliver the human dimension again to the drafting board. Room for aesthetics, engagement and interplay. In order that we will create significant and emotional relationships with photo voltaic power.

So, it’s time for a brand new perspective. Taking a look at photo voltaic from a design perspective – seeing it as a fabric as an alternative of seeing it as a mere purposeful know-how – can shift the main target away from effectivity and price.

By means of photo voltaic design we will generate a extra inclusive and holistic photo voltaic narrative. For most individuals, pondering of photo voltaic power evokes blue reflective panels on roofs, a cumbersome know-how that turns daylight into electrical energy. Many individuals think about them ugly and that is not shocking since a lot of the know-how consists of “one-size-fits-all” panels which can be “caught” onto present surfaces.

As photo voltaic designers, we’re fascinated by the solar and photo voltaic power. But we’re additionally involved about how photo voltaic is built-in in our on a regular basis atmosphere. It’s extra usually an afterthought than an integral and important design ingredient. For instance, photo voltaic panels are usually the very first thing that’s omitted when designing a brand new constructing for value causes, and dealing with photo voltaic power just isn’t a daily a part of the curriculum in design training.

Imagining and making a photo voltaic future that we might all prefer to dwell in can be a matter of design

In our inventive world, nevertheless, a photo voltaic panel may be comfortable and welcoming to the touch like a textile or colourful and stuffed with narrative like stained glass. So sure, technical and financial elements like effectivity play an necessary function, however making one thing significant requires a way more holistic strategy.

Amongst different issues, we take into consideration the fabric aesthetics, the qualities of interplay and cultural values that photo voltaic has to supply. Imagining and making a photo voltaic future that we might all prefer to dwell in is not only a technological or financial difficulty, additionally it is a matter of design. Now could be the time to design that photo voltaic future.

Because of this we initiated The Photo voltaic Biennale, going down for the primary time from September 9 to October 30 within the Netherlands. For seven weeks, the biennale focuses on the human angle, as a result of a solar-powered world goes past scientific analysis and uniform photo voltaic panels, in any case. Cultural practices and place-specific power wants additionally decide how the post-carbon future will develop.

With a Photo voltaic Seminar, a Rotterdam metropolis program, academic Photo voltaic Labs and an in depth foremost exhibition, the biennale presents a brand new and inclusive view of photo voltaic power that evokes surprise, design and creativeness. The Photo voltaic Biennale seems on the massive theme of photo voltaic power by means of 5 lenses, every manoeuvring past effectivity in their very own approach: private, social, spatial, environmental and digital. Its program is run in collaboration with numerous areas, organizations and designers resembling Het Nieuwe Instituut, ParX, Studio Roosegaarde, Boijmans Van Beuningen, Subsequent Nature Community.

The Power Present – Solar, Photo voltaic and Human Energy exhibition at Het Nieuwe Instituut, curated by Matylda Krzykowski, kinds the center of the biennale. It presents the cultural, social and ecological views of photo voltaic know-how in a chronological approach, displays on the non-public power stage of the customer and reveals dozens of modern examples.

With the various program we present the various alternatives for photo voltaic designers to get began and we name for motion. By means of the interactive “Solar within the Metropolis” program, The Photo voltaic Biennale goes into the town of Rotterdam to encourage its residents outdoors on the road, the place the solar shines and other people meet, and to contain them in an accessible approach in photo voltaic power and the power transition. If you want to learn to turn out to be a photo voltaic designer your self, you may be a part of one of many labs the place we deal with photo voltaic as a fabric and work hands-on.

Photo voltaic panels now not should be black and blue, cumbersome or positioned far out of sight

All in all, the biennale reveals that photo voltaic panels now not should be black and blue, cumbersome or positioned far out of sight. In actual fact, photo voltaic has the potential to get very near us. Just like the rays of the solar, photo voltaic surfaces and objects can interact our senses and imbue our expertise of the world with which means.

Our mission doesn’t cease on the biennale. Along with an in depth program, the biennale additionally heralds the beginning of The Photo voltaic Motion: a global community of people that wish to contribute to a future constructed with photo voltaic design. The idea of this motion is a Photo voltaic Manifesto and a sequence of Photo voltaic Rules that function tips for photo voltaic designers, in order that photo voltaic design as a self-discipline can turn out to be extra widespread.

Let photo voltaic design get underneath your pores and skin and really feel the photo voltaic power flowing by means of your physique. We invite you to assist design a photo voltaic future: be a part of The Photo voltaic Motion!

Marjan van Aubel and Pauline van Dongen are Dutch designers who specialize in experimenting with photo voltaic and have masterminded The Photo voltaic Biennale. Van Aubel’s new ebook, “Photo voltaic Futures: The right way to design a post-fossil world with the solar” explores how photo voltaic know-how can turn out to be photo voltaic design.

The Photo voltaic Biennale runs from 9 to 30 September, going down on the Het Nieuwe Instituut and different areas in Rotterdam. To search out out extra, see Dezeen Occasions Information.

The highest picture reveals the roof of the Dutch pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, designed by van Aubel, which included stained-glass-like photovoltaics.


Solar Revolution logo
Illustration is by Berke Yazicioglu

Photo voltaic Revolution

This text is a part of Dezeen’s Photo voltaic Revolution sequence, which explores the various and thrilling attainable makes use of of photo voltaic power and the way people can absolutely harness the unimaginable energy of the solar.



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