Solar Shade by Australian designers Buro North educates primary school children about collecting energy from the sun while providing shade in playgrounds.
The canopies have solar cells on top and large handles on the base mean that the canopy can be rotated by pupils or teachers to get the most efficient orientation in relation to the sun throughout the day.
LED displays communicate how much energy is being generated and whether the device needs turning around.
For more from Buro North see our story from December about their Eco Christmas tree.
The following information is from Buro North:
In partnership with the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab we have developed a solar-collecting sun-shade for Australian primary school yards aptly titled the 'Solar Shade'.
As a government funded initiative, the VEIL solar-shade is a future possibility for the integration of solar-energy harvesting technologies into a form that is pragmatic (providing shade & energy), evocative and educational. Current Australian school curriculums utilize information around consumption and energy as an educational device, and we have designed this interactive concept to explore the visual connection between energy collection and consumption.
The goals of the government funded project include:
- The creation of a solar shade that exposes and exhibits the technology of solar energy harvesting;
- To engage students by developing an interactive concept that requires their input to function;
- To shield students from the harsh Australian playground sun;
- To inform students about the collection of electricity and how the quantity of energy harvested directly relates to the world around them;
- To provide students with a direct benefit from the collection of solar energy.
About the VEIL Solar Shade design concept:
It features a broad, uni-directional solar panel surface as a visible face for the structure. Most solar collecting structures position the panels on an elevated surface not visible from the ground, removing visual recognition from the audience.
The structure is rotated throughout the school day to best suit the position of the sun. Markings around the circular base indicate best time-specific direction for shade in the morning and afternoon. The large handle on the shade allows for smooth rotation by children and adults.
The shade area of the structure is extended by the large sail-cloth awning that extends from the solar panel section. The Solar Shades can be arranged in clusters in appropriately sized spaces to create playground shade.
The underside of the shade features a dynamic visual feedback system to instantaneously indicate the quantity of energy currently being collected from the solar panels. Correct solar orientation will generate a positive visual message (LED's glow green), incorrect orientation will indicate the low amount of power collection (LED's glow red).