|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 04 April 2012|
Solar panel mini power plants created in the likeness of flowers? Why not? I think it’s a great idea.
Solar panel mini power plants created in the likeness of flowers? Why not? I think it’s a great idea. John Hippensteel, founder of the Wisconsin-based Lake Michigan Wind and Sun Ltd, thought so too when he first had the idea of creating “flower power”. It’s not the flower power of the psychedelic 1960s, which by the way was coined by the poet Alan Ginsberg in 1965 however, but a sculptural interpretation using photovoltaic solar panels that Hippensteel designs, builds, and installs in botanic gardens, and for residential and commercial customers.
Dubbed solar flairs, the panels cost between 30% and 50% more than standard photovoltaic arrays but have the added benefit of aesthetics, making a visual statement about a company’s or homeowner’s commitment to the environment. Hippensteel who runs the company with his wife Ann and several other partners, has always been interested in alternative energy, primarily wind and solar. In fact the Hippensteels have had a windmill generating energy on their property for years as well as solar panels.
The flower power idea got its start when a local college solicited proposals for a solar power demonstration project but wanted a unique twist. Enter Hippensteel’s flower power solar panel sculptures. So far, Hippensteel has installed the solar flairs at the Green Bay Botanical Garden and at a municipal water treatment plant in Peel, Ontario, Canada.
Photo source and more information:Lake Michigan Wind and Sun Ltd