Solar sunflowers at Austin’s Mueller development

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Solar sunflowers at Austin’s Mueller development

Austin’s new development at the site of the old Robert Mueller airport includes a small solar farm consisting of fifteen of these lovely blue “solar sunflower” collectors, designed by Cambridge’s Harries/Héder Collaborative, whose concept was selected from a pool of 37 applicants to Austin’s Art in Public Places program. Details of the project are available here. The collectors, which have been installed but aren’t yet active, will collect energy during the day and release it at night as light for the nearby hike-and-bike trail.


16 thoughts on “Solar sunflowers at Austin’s Mueller development

  1. Craig says:

    What is really funny about this “environmental” installation is that is sits next to the frontage road which was re-directed to force you to drive through the shopping center instead of a normal route which would take you to your cross street.

    That little trick by the developer (clearly designed to encourage additional shopping) will probably use more energy in a day than those solar cells will produce in their lifetime.

  2. Doug says:

    Here comes the hoodlums to “teach this thing a lesson” in 3..2…1.

  3. D says:

    Anything that lines I35 in Austin is far from being considered “art”

  4. Ryango says:

    Clearly, this design does not maximize energy collection, so maybe the point is art? The path is badly laid out for bikes, and being gravel, shouldn’t be called a bike path at all. As a recreational walking path… well, it is on the side of I35, which is not a pleasant place to walk, and Ive never seen anyone walking here. So what is the point of these things?

    To say they are just decoration is too generous, as they imply something they do not deliver; sustainability. The only thing they sustain are path lights on a poorly designed trail.

    What a bunch of expensive fluff, pasted to the side of the latest big-box strip mall. I predict that in the next decade, a new conservative movement will eviscerate the left for ridiculous projects like this.

  5. Sean Michael Ragan says:

    I think they’re pretty. That’s why I posted them. :)

  6. jidas says:

    I understand only 3 of them “lit up” last night. Was there technical problems?? Anyone know who installed the soloar panels??

  7. Anonymous says:

    TxDoT was the cause of the rerouting, not the developer. It sucks, but kept the 51st Street/Cameron Road intersection from failing. Change may be coming, but don’t expect traffic to work anytime before TxDoT redoes IH35 through this area.

    And, while I’m not gaga over them, the “Sunflowers” ARE INTERESTING.

  8. Green guy says:

    SOlar PV installations are not as efficient as some other renewables available. Austin Energy’s best kept secret is its solar thermal program. This technology is already financially viable and over 60% efficient. Austin solar

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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