I recently rediscovered a trove of blog fodder ideas on my Evernote account. For example in 2010, I was impressed with the concept of Solar Piksols. These used an array of small solar panels projecting from a wall to create create both images, via the pattern of shadows, and energy, from the mini-solar panels on top of each one.
Unfortunately, it seems to be one of those bright (yes, sorry… pardon the pun) ideas that never took off. Four years later and the website of the original designers doesn’t seem to have moved from the original concept and further web searches show a small splash at the time but no evidence that they have moved into production or even custom installations.
Perhaps the energy return was too small, as the surface area exposed to strong sunlight at any one time would be tiny compared to an equivalent flat PV panel, especially one tilted to follow the light. Maybe the technology will advance with more efficient cells and one day this will become a reality. Meanwhile though, file away under ideas for a sunny day.