Ranking Solar Design: Where Are The Artists?

I like the idea of solar power. Yesterday, we introduced the stylish Sanyo eneloop solar light. But generally, the designs aren't exactly moving my heart yet. Why do they all have to be square? Black, well, maybe that makes sense, if you are an engineer. Where are the artists? The photo above is from the Panasonic Center in Tokyo. They call it the Wind Seagull, because (obviously) it works on cloudy, windy days as well. I'll give it a 3 out of 5 for good intentions. More ratings below the fold!

Sanyo's Solar Ark is huge, it is fantastic. You see it from the window if you ride the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka. But it is 10 years old and actually made of panels that Sanyo had to recall due to some manufacturing error. Still, I like the design. 4 out of 5 for impact.

Sigh. When the well-meaning bureaucrats at Tokyo City Hall decided to make a roof-top garden, they also added solar panels. Square ones. Bonus: On the right, the Asaka Waterworks solar panels. 2 out of 5 for total lack of imagination (I would have given them 1 but the 2 is for effort - I understand it must have been hell even getting this far, meeting after meeting, before a decision was made).

The Asaka Water Purification Plant is home to one of Japan's largest solar power generation facility. Operated by Tokyo's Bureau of Waterworks, the plant's some 11,000 square meters of solar panels generate 1,200 kilowatts of electricity, which is equivalent to the power consumed by about 4,000 households.

Eto-desu-ne, nan to iieba... is the way to say "Hmm, I wonder what to say..." in Japanese. This bike, with (square) solar panels just doesn't look good. Frankly, forget about it. 1 out of 5 for complete lack of any sense of design. I could be kind and give it a 2 for effort, but... Eto-desu ne... I don't think there was any effort to make the design look good. Sumimasen, (I'm sorry).

Wow, I actually like these street lamps! They are called Ecoluna and are made by Reco Inc. Each lamp has six blue LED lights and five white LED lights for "the healing effect of the heart of the Purkinje phenomenon is provided." 4 out of 5 for nice design and I'd probably give them 5 out of 5 if they hired a proofreader for their website so we could all actually understand what they mean.

Selene is "a newly introduced energy saving product which stores the electric energy from solar cell in Hybrid System. It is using high brightness LED and makes smooth and soft light in the night which is very effective for special decoration on any kind of landscape architecture such as apartment, parks, public spaces and the like. It also discriminates against environs. For more gorgeous and graceful life style, Selene™ will surely be the light of your space."

I think I will give Eppscore Co., the Korean company, 5 out of 5 for nice design, pretty photos and general effort, just because.

Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp

Tags: Japan | Solar Energy | Solar Gadgets | Solar Power