Nectar – Solar Flora Evan Ross
Nectar Product Development
Nectar Labs, Contextual Research, Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Firmware & Software, User Experience, Production Transition, Consumer
Background and Challenges
Nectar Product Development embraces the concept of sustainable design – both for the benefit of its clients and as a vital part of its company mission. When Nectar was given the opportunity to design an artistic structure as a permanent installation outside the Long Beach Convention Center, the firm created the revolutionary SolarFlora power-generating sculpture.
Artistic Yet Practical
SolarFlora posed significant challenges that tested both Nectar’s artistry and engineering acumen. Like all fine works of art, the sculpture had to be visually appealing, so passersby would notice it and want to look at it. The structure also had to utilize solar panels to generate renewable power, and Nectar had to position the panels in a manner that didn’t detract from the beauty of the artwork, as well as integrate lighting, seating, and power access.
Taking a Page from Nature
As a permanent installation in front of the Long Beach Convention Center, SolarFlora is raising public awareness about how renewable energy generation can be incorporated within cities, towns, and parks in tasteful, appealing ways. Renewable solar power generation is no longer relegated to cold, industrial-looking rooftop panels or solar farms out in the middle of nowhere, but can be artistically integrated within urban environments to create both beauty and renewable energy.
SolarFlora has received a lot of attention, including discussions at the TEDxSoCal Symposium and a feature article in Oprah’s O magazine. The SolarFlora installation marked an important milestone because it demonstrates how art can serve a practical function by increasing utilization of clean, renewable energy. A second generation of SolarFlora structures—for widespread installation around the nation and world—is currently development.
Solar-Powered Art for Urban Environments
Nectar borrowed from one of the nature’s best designs—a germinating plant—in creating the 15-foot-tall SolarFlora sculpture. The plantlike structure carries solar panels in its three leaves, which generate up to 1.2 kilowatt-hours of electricity each day while projecting a soft green light at night that illuminates the surrounding sidewalk.
The energy generated by the solar-panel leaves not only powers the lights but also links to additional electrical outlets. Lastly, SolarFlora had to exude grace yet withstand extreme environmental conditions, such as occur during hurricanes, dust storms, blizzards, and earthquakes. In short, SolarFlora had to meld art with practicality.
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