Solar Cat, a giant cat-shaped solar panel, is changing the perception that “renewable energy is a boring utility purchased by the most privileged”.
Designed by NYC-based tech company, Grouphug, the Solar Cat is a 140-watt cat-shaped solar panel that is mounted to a window at the New York Hall of Science in Queens.
The energy harvested by Solar Cat powers an adjacent interactive pedestal that features fun facts and diagrams about how solar panels work. Visitors can physically flip a switch to send Solar Cat’s harvested energy to power up a model house, and charge their phones using one of two built-in USB ports that are powered by Solar Cat.
The exhibit is designed to educate visitors from around the world about the creative possibilities of renewable energy, and to empower more people to adopt sustainable technology.
Grouphug founder Krystal Persaud interviewed over 100 New Yorkers last summer when doing research for the project, and found a lot of misconceptions about solar energy that discourage people from taking steps to go off the grid.
Krystal Persaud said: “People think solar panels are ugly and utilitarian, or that you have to own a house with a roof to go solar, which leaves out millions of apartment dwellers in NYC. We realised, the fundamental design of commercial solar panels hasn’t changed in 60 years, despite the price of solar cells dropping a whopping 99% over the last four decades. We asked ourselves: why aren’t more industrial designers integrating solar technology into their products? How can we make solar cells appeal to every New Yorker?
“At Grouphug, our mission is to change the perception that renewable energy is a boring utility purchased by the most privileged. The technology itself can be designed to be more relatable, have a personality, and be fun.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com