The director's Sun Flowers aim to make photovoltaics a little less ugly.
Years after switching to solar to power the sets of his movies, James Cameron has taken the next step and re-designed the solar panel. His version looks like a giant photovoltaic sunflower, and the first units were installed on the Malibu campus of the MUSE school (started by Cameron's wife, Suzy Amis Cameron) last month.
Each of Cameron's Sun Flowers is 28.5 feet wide and has 14 petals. Sonnen Systems provided tracking technology so that each panel would move throughout the day to follow the course of the sun, eliminating one of the problems with traditional, stationary panels. At MUSE, the current setup generates about 260 kWh per day, meeting 75 to 90 percent of the school's energy needs.
Cameron hopes that people usually repelled by the ugliness of photovoltaic cells might give his new Sun Flowers a try. And the director/explorer plans to make the design open-source. As soon as he secures the patent, the design should be available for all those who have enough money to build a little piece of the future in their backyard.