World’s First Solar Mural Installation, a Land Art Generator Artwork by Cruz Ortiz, to be Unveiled at Luminaria. La Monarca’s final home will be at EPIcenter where it will generate clean energy for the site
SAN ANTONIO, TX –– Land Heritage Institute(LHI), in collaboration with EPIcenter, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) have partnered to present the world’s first Solar Mural installation – public art that produces renewable energy.
The Solar Mural artwork, La Monarca, will be unveiled at Luminaria, San Antonio’s 10th annual contemporary arts festival, held at Hemisfair on November 10, 2017. La Monarca’s final home will be at EPIcenter, and it will indeed generate clean energy.
La Monarca will be a spectacular, giant lotería card #24, which celebrates San Antonio’s status as the National Wildlife Federation’s first Monarch Butterfly Champion City.
The image, crafted by San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz, is printed onto a special film produced by Sistine Solar. The film visually masks the standard dark blue solar cells, replacing them with the beautiful La Monarca image. The film allows light to pass through to the photovoltaic cells beneath and generate electricity.
There will be four panels stacked 2×2 at a vertical angle, measuring 6’6” wide by 11’ tall. Each panel stands at 66” x 40”.
Power from La Monarca will be stored throughout the day and then used to power the lights that will illuminate the artwork during the Luminaria Festival.
Following the close of Luminaria, La Monarca will find a permanent home inside a pollinator garden on the EPIcenter campus along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River where it will generate solar energy for the facility.
“EPIcenter is a place committed to new energy innovation; we are excited to premiere the world’s first Solar Mural at Luminaria and look forward to enjoying this work of art – and the energy it will produce – at the EPIcenter campus,” said Kimberly M. Britton, Chief Executive Officer.
Partners hope that in the near future, Las Monarcas will be a swarm of Monarch Butterfly-inspired Land Art Generator artworks to be designed for placement at and to provide power to social service centers, municipal buildings, or eco-cultural tourism destinations throughout the City of San Antonio or other stops along Monarch Butterfly migration routes.
LHI will also be hosting the 5th biennial LHI Art-Sci Symposium in partnership with Luminaria in Southtown on Saturday, November 11, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Mercury Project (538 Roosevelt Avenue), free and open to the public. Symposium sessions, geared toward a general audience and fine for families with finesse, will focus on Sound Art & Sound Walks, Feminist Art in a Digital Age and reGEN: artists and scientists exploring regenerist practices and renewable energies. For a full agenda please see http://www.renewableart.org.
At Luminaria, La Monarca will appear atop a grassy knoll between two of the three historic 1960s-era “Confluence of Cultures” murals commissioned for the HemisFair ’68 World’s Fair: a stone mural by Juan O’Gorman and a glass tile mural by Carlos Mérida. Luminaria will take place Friday, November 10, 2017 from 7:00 pm to midnight at the Hemisfair campus in downtown San Antonio, TX. (NOTE: The grassy noll is between E. Market St. and the Convention Center.)
La Monarca has been a collaboration between Land Heritage Institute’s LHI Art-Sci Projects, EPIcenter, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Land Art Generator Initiative. Fabrication and technical support has been provided by OCI Solar Power, Mission Solar Energy, Sun Action Trackers, and Sistine Solar. The project has been made possible through support from EPIcenter and OCI Solar Power, the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more at http://www.monarcas.org.
EPIcenter is flipping the switch on an historic 1909 power plant by transforming it into a world-class center that will be the hub for new energy technology innovation, education and community engagement, and entrepreneurial incubation and ideation. The EPI stands for Energy, Partnerships and Innovation. Learn more at www.epicenterus.org.
The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) delivers sculptural installations that have the added benefit of renewable power generation for individual buildings and/or the utility grid. LAGI artworks provide power to neighborhoods and cities while adding visual interest to outdoor spaces—from public parks and streets to private courtyards. LAGI arrives at context-specific design solutions that reflect the needs of the end-user by utilizing a variety of project delivery models. These include: design competitions, direct commissions, calls for proposals, and facilitating participatory design processes within communities. Learn more at www.landartgenerator.org.
About Land Heritage Institute
Land Heritage Institute is under development as a living land museum on 1200 acres of open space along the banks of the Medina River on the far southside of San Antonio preserving, maintaining and interpreting 10,000 years of continual human habitation. Learn more at www.landheritageinstitute.org
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Learn more at www.lisc.org
About OCI Solar Power
OCI Solar Power is a leader in the solar power industry. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, OCISP develops, constructs, finances, owns, and operates solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities, specializing in utility, commercial, and industrial-scale solar projects. For more information, visit www.ocisolarpower.com.
The wings of a butterfly have inspired a new type of solar cell that can harvest light twice as efficiently as before and could one day improve our solar panels.
Solar panels are usually made of thick solar cells, and are positioned at an angle to get the most amount of light from the sun as it moves throughout the day. Thin film solar cells, which can be only nanometers thick, have a lot of potential. These are cheaper and lighter, but because they’re less efficient, we usually use them only in watches and calculators, instead of solar panels. Scientists studied the black wings of the rose butterfly, and copied the structure to create thin solar cells that are more efficient. Unlike other types of cells, these can absorb a lot of light regardless of the angle, and are also easy to make. The results were published in the journal Science Advances.
The rose butterfly is native to Southeast Asia. Because it is cold-blooded and needs sunlight to fly, its black wings have evolved to be very good at absorbing energy. “The really interesting thing is that the butterflies, which have evolved these complex structures as a result of selection over millions of years, are still way outperforming our engineering,” YaleNUS College biology professor Vinod Saranathan told The Verge in an email. (Saranathan was not involved in the study.)
To figure out why these butterflies are so efficient, scientists led by Radwanul Siddique, a bioengineer at the California Institute of Technology, looked at wings under an electron microscope and created a 3D model of the wings’ nanostructures. The wings are built from tiny scales that are covered in randomly spaced holes. The holes are less than a millionth of a meter wide, and they help scatter the light and help the butterfly absorb heat.
The holes are random in size, distribution, and shape, says Siddique. Using computer models, the team figured out that the position and order are important for absorbing light, but the shape doesn’t matter. Next, they created a similar structure using extremely thin sheets of hydrogenated amorphous silicon that have the same type of holes.
Most solar panels are positioned at an angle, which means they generate lots of power for a few hours and then not much the rest of the time. Solar panels using Siddique’s technique could produce more power throughout the day. Though Siddique is now at CalTech, he did this research as part of his doctoral work in Germany, and some members of his old lab have already received funding from the German Research Foundation to work on solar cells and LEDs.