1 August 2010
Shield your windows and collect solar energy to power your home at the same time! An ingenious concept first launched by Sweden-based Interactive Studios in 2005, as the Energy Curtain, a window shade that is specially woven from a unique blend – a blend of textiles, solar collection and light emitting materials was presented at the Wired NextFest 2006 festival.
The research was funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. In the US, the idea is being further developed by architect Sheila Kennedy of KVAmat x in a project called Soft House. From this grew the idea of enabling the 2 billion people currently living without electricity worldwide to create their own energy-collecting textiles using local materials and traditional weaving and sewing techniques in an open source model – thus The Portable Light Project (www.portablelight.org) was formed. The most accessible idea is to incorporate the photovoltaic strands into fabrics sewn into useful bags, which are easily carried around during the day. The people of The Portable Light Project are currently working with the “think and do-tank” Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to scale the project and to make it accessible across the globe. I imagine the biggest challenge is to figure out how the price of these flexible photovoltaic strands can come down, as the cost is still prohibitive to a majority of our global citizens. Noble idea, though… I love it! You can read more about it here: