Solar Energy in Public Space

Solar panels galore. On top of roads, sport pitches, shopping high streets and public transport. Solar energy can be produced in any kind of public space in the city of 2050, according to Tom van Heeswijk of Wageningen University & Research, and artist Sabrina Lindemann. Aesthetically designed canopies can provide solar-powered streetlight.


Sustainable energy is of crucial importance to the post-fossil city. It future cities, this type of energy could be integrated into public space, which becomes multifunctional and as important as never before. A pleasant experience of the surroundings is fundamental — there is still resistance against wind and sun parks due to their visual impact. How can sustainable energy be visually pleasant and thus successful in urban design? Research shows that visual attractivity is often heavily influenced through the form and silhouette of an installation. Based on this research and inspiration from nature, this proposal visualizes how solar panels can harvest the sun’s energy and deliver a contribution to the consumption of electricity in urban areas.

Luminous at night

Sabrina Lindemann
Tom van Heeswijk

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Wageningen University & Research