In the race to bring to every corner of the world, the biggest issue researchers and manufacturers of solar energy have faced is that of limited space. Especially in crowded environments, rooftop solar panel installations and other means of bringing solar energy to those areas are limited. Inventions, such as shared panels through solar community gardens have helped bring solar energy to some areas, but most major cities are still without practical renewable energy solutions. Architects and engineers everywhere are working to find a solution that will bring affordable and efficient solar energy to even the most populated cities. One Australian architect, in particular, has created an ingenious invention that will help larger cities receive solar energy. It is born from a surprising mix of window blinds and origami. 

How Solgami Works 

Solgami is an alternative to window blinds. The blinds themselves are constructed using a combination of thin solar cells and reflective, ink materials. The solar cells and the reflective materials are then placed onto transparent sheets and folded into triangular, origami-like shapes. Multiple triangular solar cells and mirror shapes are then placed together to form blinds that are approximately the size and width of plantation shutters. Any light coming through the window is then reflected through the blinds, moving through the mirrors and the solar cells. The mirrors in the Solgami solar structure help light to reach areas of the room typically not reached just from opening standard blinds. In addition to the light offered, solar energy is generated as sun passes through the blinds. There are three positions that users can choose from to place the solar blinds, ranging from completely closed, open, and somewhere in between. 

Solgami Competition 

Since 2015, the Solgami has undergone several revisions and design changes. It is also not the first city-focused solar energy project proposed in recent years. However, it is one of the most practical solutions offered thus far. One example of a similar solar energy project comparable to Solgami is Tesla’s SolarWindow. The biggest difference between the SolarWindow model and the Solgami is that the Solgami blinds do not require the same construction as the SolarWindow. The ease of installation offered by the Solgami can dramatically decrease costs and help large cities bring solar energy to businesses in crowded areas with greater ease. 

Solgami has received significant support from the solar energy industry, even recently landing a place as a finalist in the Lexus Design Awards 2019 competition. Lexus is now helping to fund a prototype for Solgami that is scheduled to be revealed at Milan Design Week this upcoming April. Out of over 1,500 entries, Solgami was selected to compete with 5 other finalists. By April 8, a sole winner will be announced and full production of the prototype will be explored.  

About the Solgami Creator 

Ben Berwick, lead architect and creator of Solgami, emphasizes that his Sogami solar blinds are a way to connect with the resources already here and the world around us. Utilizing the power of the sun is crucial to a renewable future and a philosophy that has guided Berwick’s design. His Solgami creation could potentially help millions of residents who live in urban areas worldwide. Figures are only expected to rise in coming decades when it comes to population growth in urban locations. Solutions like the Solgami make this future seem less daunting, knowing solar energy access and control may soon be easier than ever. 

Berwick has spearheaded several other solar energy projects through his architecture company known as Prevalent. Founded in 2017, Prevalent is based out of Sydney, Australia and works with both private and commercial solar energy customers. Burwick has over 4 years of commercial architecture experience in Sydney and 2 years of experience working with various architecture firms in Japan. Prevalent ultimately pushes for social change that will have an impact on the local environments in a positive way. 

Check out Solgami’s website to watch a video demonstrating how their solar blinds function and reflect light: https://www.solgami.com/ 

Resources 

https://www.inverse.com/article/39395-how-these-windows-could-rival-tesla-s-solar-roof-for-renewable-energy 

https://www.inverse.com/article/53172-these-origami-solar-panels-generate-electricity-for-apartments 

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