By Andrew Liszewski
Here’s an interesting alternative to traditional solar panels which can take up a lot of space and require the installation of special mounting structures. GROW, which was created by the Brooklyn based sustainable design group SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) is actually a large collection of small, leaf like solar cells which can be used to cover a building just like growing ivy will over time. Except of course the GROW leaves are made from 100% recyclable polyethylene covered with thin film photovoltaic modules encapsulated in Tefzel.
The solar leaves need to be wired together in order to collect the energy they produce, but the system is extremely flexible allowing it to be installed on a building no matter what shape it is. It’s also extremely easy to maintain since replacing a single leaf when it fails doesn’t require you to take down the entire installation. And most importantly since the leaves are thin and flexible they actually flutter in the breeze and have the appearance of real ivy, making them aesthetically pleasing. I don’t think anyone is opposed to having solar panels on their home, but it’s ideas like this that make the technology more accessible and easier for a homeowner to implement.