▶ Watch introduction to Works That Work
Connect with us RSS Questions? Email us directly!

Photo: Trond Stegarud/Gaustatoppen Booking

Solar Spell — Rjukan, Norway

by Anne Miltenburg

For six months out of every year, the sun disappears behind the mountains of Rjukan, located in a 450m (1,500ft)-deep valley in central Norway. When industrialist Sam Eyde founded the town in 1913 to house his factory workers and their families, he realised that the absence of light was a problem. He devised a plan to place mirrors on top of the hill that looms over the town, but had to abandon the plan for lack of adequate technology. Since the sun could not come to the town, the town had to come to the sun, and so he built a ski lift instead. In 2014, after a decade of research into advanced technologies, local artist Martin Andersen was able to raise enough funds to build three giant solar- and wind-powered mirrors. From their position at the top of the hill, they follow the sun on its trajectory across the sky, capturing its rays and beaming them down to the town square. When the winter sun is strong enough, Rjukan’s residents grab their beach chairs, head to the square, and soak it all up.

Connect with us RSS Questions? Email us directly!