While GE’s focus is primarily on rolling out solar technology so that it’s feasible for utilities to adopt, the uses of solar are limitless. The latest installment of The GE Show, an online series that examines large-scale issues and explains what’s being done to solve them, just launched and takes a closer look at the possibilities — from solar airplanes to stadium roofs to even solar-powered artificial plants that mimic real ones.
The video below shows how much energy the sun can produce and what it means for our future.
The GE Show’s slideshow showcases 10 inventive uses of solar — we’ve spotlighted five below.
The Lunar Cubit is an award winning design proposal which consists of a series of solar panel pyramids forming a renewal energy plant. This amazing series of pyramids will power homes in Abu Dhabi and will also serve as a stunning, illuminated public art installation by night.
The sky’s the limit with solar power. Literally. As wide as a jumbo jet and the weight of a mid-sized car, the Solar Impulse plane, composed of 12,000 solar panels, can fly day and night. It’s currently undergoing test flights, but it’s working towards a record-breaking round-the-world journey.
Taiwan’s dragon-shaped arena is the perfect example of the scalability of solar power. Designed by Toyo Ito, this 50,000 seat arena generates 100% of its electricity from photovoltaic technology through its 8,844 solar panels that illuminate the track and field with 3,300 lux.
A team of Japanese scientists and engineers created an artificial houseplant with high-efficiency organic thin-film solar cells as leaves. Each flexible leaf has a complex structure protected by a thin plastic layer which means that in the future these generators could be embedded into buildings, clothes, and toys.
These amazing solar trash cans were designed to reduce the impact of trash in cities. Powered by the sun, these compactors allow the cans to store more trash, thus lowering the operating costs, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with garbage collection by up to 80%.
If you were lucky enough to head to SXSW 2011, you probably laid your eyes on GE’s Carousolar — an all-white traditional carousel powered by 100 of GE’s 80-watt ‘thin film’ solar panels. And to top it off, it’s lit up by GE’s cool and colorful LED lights. The time lapse video below shows it in action from day to night.