We are completely dependent on our environment for energy. As the world’s population increases, non-renewable sources of energy will be depleted, quite apart from the obvious negative impact they have on our environment. What we need now are creative and practical ideas for harnessing renewable sources of energy.
The most ubiquitous source of renewable energy is the sun. What is more, urban and suburban landscapes around the world are covered with millions of square miles of cement-based sidewalks/pavements, flat roofs, public squares, etc, often in direct sunlight.
Lab of Misfits brought these two facts together to develop a solar panel paving stone system that could turn urban thoroughfares and open spaces into sites for harvesting solar energy, without compromising pedestrian access/use. These were first used for the Beaconinstallation.
The stones are made from renewable, durable materials (e.g., recycled glass or recycled rubber), in which are embedded high-efficiency solar panels. Through a patent-pending wiring and energy management system, the stone-circuits transfer the energy harvested to drive lighting, storage devices or even back to the grid. Paths and/or squares are made by 'daisy-chaining' the stones together, forming circuits for driving independent light sources. Each circuit is controlled by a computer energy system that distributes thes stored energy when and where it’s needed.
Who makes them?
Each stone is hand-made by local youths from disadvantaged backgrounds hired through a mentoring/apprentice scheme with the aim of improving social ecology as well as our physical ecology. Fifty per cent of the profit from all sales of the stones goes back to fund social development projects in the area local to any installation.
Where can they be installed?
Example 1 – Pavement/sidewalk: Old Street, London, which has literally millions of pedestrians passing every month.
Example 2 - Roof: Primary school in Shoreditch, London.
Example 3 - Even boats: Top deck of a London canal boat
Measurements of energy harvested from the Beacon were made between Sep. 12th and Sep. 23rd. The weather was mixed – i.e., a combination of wet, sun and overcast. No day was clear. Time of sunrise was around 7am and the time of sunset was around 7pm – i.e., daylight hours were 12 hours per day. Given that the longest day of the year in June is 16 hours and 40 minutes and the shortest day of the year in December is 7 hours and 40 minutes, the data for this time of year represents a good approximation of the average amount of energy harvested throughout the year.
It is important to stress that these measurements were made in London. Installations in better climates and where the sun is direct overhead would of course generate better data.
Price of paving stones depends on nature and extent of installation. Please contact Beau Lotto for details.