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International Day of Cooperatives

Did you know that Saturday 4th July 2020 is the International Day of Cooperatives? We think that our Moths To A Flame project is a great example of a cooperative in action, one which has grown significantly over the last few months as we’ve nudged the project to include more digital content.

The Art and Energy business model is a fairly informal collective. We have members and partners with knowledge and experience in all sorts of areas: from Plymouth Energy Community who are proactively seeking change in our domestic energy situations, to Dave and Jo at Lasercutz who are helping us cut solar cells to re-imagine solar panels as beautiful solar artworks, and Miranda who has written and illustrated a beautiful children’s book for Moths to a Flame. One thing that we have in common is a growing concern about the climate crisis, and a desire to see change to benefit our environment. Together we hope to make a difference.

Over the last few months Covid-19 has meant that our meetings have all been held through a computer screen. We have become increasingly confident and fluent in conversing by email and Zoom, but we’ve really missed being able to get together to create and catch up over a solar artwork project and cup of tea! When our partners at PEC told us that the International Co-operative Alliance had chosen the theme of ‘Climate Action’ for 2020, we wanted to do something fun to celebrate and join in… the International Day of Cooperatives has given us the perfect opportunity to get creative  again!

Jenny put together little creative packs that went out in the post to eight of our collective. We then met up one evening via Zoom for a project update and a bit of a tutorial. Each participant painted a moth onto a square of glass, then returned them.

The next stage is to add solar cells nestled within the moth paintings, then combine them to create a single large interactive solar artwork. In the next week or so Jenny will send creative packs out to more of our collective… if there’s one thing it’s made us realise it’s quite how many amazing people we’re working with, this cooperative artwork is set to grow!

As with most of our projects the final piece is already evolving, but that’s the joy of having lots of lovely people cooperating together creatively!

This mini-project was inspired by a conversation with Plymouth Energy Community, who have funded the short film to be released on International Day of Cooperatives, 4th July 2020.


Development of the project has been funded by Arts Council England through Jenny’s individual grant. We have found a way to work at a distance, plus Jenny’s using this opportunity to experiment further with the electronics powered by our cooperative solar artwork… keep an eye out here for further progress reports!

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Cutting solar cells is like cutting eggshell

Did we ever tell you what a total nightmare it was learning how to cut solar cells?

We tried a whole variety of laser cutters and glass cutters before we met Dave and Jo at LaserCutz in Honiton. (Who knew that just the person you need, could be right on your doorstep!)

Dave and Jo really share our ethos of research through play, and an enthusiasm for experimentation and trying new ways of working, and they have helped shape the Art and Energy Collective enormously.

Needless to say, we would not have made the works that we have without their help, and I hope they will be able to help you too if you decide to start working with solar cells to make art. 

Before we worked with Dave from LaserCutz
And after!
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Colourful solar cells – Our supplier

We often get asked where we get our colourful solar cells! It is so rare to see them in the UK! In fact very few people have ever even seen them.

So we thought we should share with you some information from LOF Solar, the company based in Taiwan who are our suppliers and who make colourful solar cells for us.

If you do get in touch with them, please mention us!

LOF contact details

LOF Solar Corp. 2F, No. 6 Prosperity Road 2, Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan (30078)


You can find them on social media too!

LOF linkedin

LOF facebook

LOF Pinterest

LOF instagram


LOF Solar Corp have been really professional and easy to work with, and as they have been so helpful in supporting our work, we’ve agreed to share information for them about their products and services.

The information below has been supplied by LOF.

LOF Solar Corp. company introduction

Since 2008, Lof Solar has been a world-leading inventor, developer, and manufacturer of high-efficiency color solar cells. Lof Solar is also a tribute to Professor J.J. Loferski, a solar cell pioneer, who was a great teacher and inspiration to Lof’s founder when he studied at Brown University. Each day, Lof is devoted to making the world greener, merrier, and prettier via colorful Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solutions.

Dr. Joseph John Loferski (1925-1997), a physicist and pioneer in the development of modern solar cells, was born in Hudson, Pennsylvania, USA. In 1953, he received a doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Loferski then went on to serve as an emeritus professor of engineering at Brown University, where his book, Methods of Improving the Efficiency of Photovoltaic Cells, was published in 1972. In the span of his research career, he authored 150 technical papers and 5 books focused on photovoltaic cells. What Dr. Loferski and other early solar cell researchers demonstrated was that semiconductor devices might one day produce commercially competitive, pollution-free electricity.

Our colorful products are supplied to clientele worldwide, including Germany, Italy, the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, China, India, and more. We export the majority of our products to overseas markets. Additionally, the lifetime of our innovative product easily surpasses 25 years- comparable to the traditional blue solar cell. LOF products have received a number of patents and certifications, including TUV, IEC 61215(design qualification and type approval) and IEC 61730 (safety qualification).

LOF is the winner of the Outstanding Photonics Product Award and the Taiwan Excellence Award. With both innovative material and patented technology, LOF has raised the bar on both aesthetics and function in the solar world.

LOF color solar cells come in a variety of colours. Here is some information from LOF about their products.

LOF Tile Red Color Solar Cell  Classic Series – the ultimate PV solution to preserve a historical tile red roof

For residential roof applications, the option is no longer limited to the cold blue or black panel. Our Latin-inspired fired-clay-like TILE RED solar cell will blend seamlessly into your roof, preserving the original aesthetics of your home and allowing it to remain warm and attractive. LOF Red Tile can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including roof tiles, brick walls, and public art installations. Successful cases: LOF Tile Red Rooftop in Venice; LOF Tile Red Rooftop in Avignon, France.

LOF forest green color solar cell classic series -green energy – literally

Our forest green solar cell can help showcase your effort to make the world a little greener. with its natural coloring, lof’s forest green cell will make your building blend beautifully into the surrounding landscape. example applications include windows, roof, shutters, and balcony railings. successful cases: germany black forest ; green solar shading at utah university


LOF True Steel Colour Solar Cell Classic Series -more than a shade of gray

Our true steel color solar cell suits the needs of the modern minimalist- the color blends seamlessly into stainless steel, concrete, metal, slate, and stone. Power your building with this smooth solar look. Successful case: Hotel Jakarta Amsterdam, Scandinavia BIPV Façade

LOF Lavender Colour Solar Cell   Classic Serie-ultraviolet rays

With its bright and lively hue, we’ve found that LOF Lavender is becoming a favorite for designers and home owners alike. A unique way to apply the LOF Lavender color solar cell is by pairing it with the ancient Chinese concept of Feng-Shui, which conveys the notion that certain colors bring positive energy into a new space. Now, you can bring this positivity into your own space with the help of our lavender solar cell. Successful case: Chungli, Taiwan

LOF Golden Brown Color Solar Cell Classic Series – get “down to earth” with sandy tones

Integrate the sandy tones of LOF’s Golden Brown color solar cell into your building’s envelope to obtain a warm and natural look. This color will coordinate beautifully with wood or slate. Successful cases: American residential solar shingle.

LOF Metallic Gold Colour Solar Cell   Marble Series -red granite – imagine marble in gold

The grains in each piece of the metallic gold solar cell are unique. Varying patterns, textures, and shadings on the cell’s surface make this sustainable material appear as beautiful red granite rather than silicon. Combine the power of solar energy with the elegance of design aesthetics. Successful case:  Austria gold solar house

LOF Emerald Green Colour Solar Cell   Marble Series -solar goes green – literally

A favorite among the marble series, LOF Emerald Green’s design is unique- as you view this product from different angles, the emerald colors change from deep green to golden green, and thus, create a stunning visual spectacular. Varying shades of golden to dark green are intertwined to create a stunning solar panel. Successful cases:  PTT Headquarter Green Global Map ; Emerald City in Seattle

LOF Stone Elegance Color Solar Cell   Marble Series -imagine natural granite- marble in grey

Let this natural granite look make an elegant statement for your building. Whether applied to the façade, skylight, or roof, your building’s exterior will be exquisitely transformed. Successful cases: World’s tallest color BIPV skyscraper-ISP bank HQ; Ex-Michelin area by Renzo Piano.

LOF Disco Pink Color Solar Cell   Marble Series -pretty in pink

LOF Disco Pink is a fun and bold color that is sure to catch the eye of all.  


LOF color BIPV

Color photovoltaics are a frequently applied element in Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). BIPV are photovoltaic modules or systems which can be incorporated into the construction of a building, thus replacing conventional building materials while also providing a source of renewable energy.

LOF color solar cells have proven to be a popular choice among architects. For example, LOF cells have been an important feature in several, notable BIPV projects including Le Albere, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank HQ by Renzo Piano, London Kingsgate House by Horden Cherry Lee, and the Agricultural Sciences Building at Utah State University by HDR. Examples of residential BIPV projects include Black Forest, Germany and Austria Gold Solar House.

LOF’s double-glass BIPV panels are extremely versatile and can be applied to rooftops, façades, skylights, balconies, blinds, shutters, bris-soleil, carports, louvres, and art installations. In addition to generating power, LOF’s panels provide weather protection, heat insulation, and shading from the sun. Upon customer request, all solar modules can be customized. LOF customizations include module shape, color, laminate construction, laminate module size, module voltage, and module transparency.

Now, with the advanced techniques of color BIPV, you can transform your home or building into a space powered by solar- with style.

At LOF, we will work with you/architects and provide professional, technical consulting services and design solutions. Before installation, we will also provide a 3D graph/visual of your building or home with installed color solar cells/panels. During the early stages of the project, we also offer design consultation services. Below are some example solutions for color solar cell application and design.

Art Installation/Landscape

An astounding art installation is worth more than a thousand words. See how art can express the beauty and power of solar energy in a poetic way.

Façade – Color BIPV can be applied to both the façade of buildings and of landscapes. Advantages of this design solution include weather durability, sound insulation, shielding, thermal insulation, and resistance from external impact/forces.

There are several types of photovoltaic (PV) façades including cold, warm, and double-skin. Cold façade consist of a cavity wall structure (see LOF Emerald Green Seattle Airport Tower). Warm façades provide thermal and acoustic insulation (see World’s Tallest Color BIPV Skyscraper- ISP bank HQ). Double-skin façades are composed of the complete existing façade with an extra transparent glass envelope constructed in front of it to help regulate a building’s temperature and provide sound insulation.

Louvre – The photovoltaic (PV) louvre is semi-transparent. Thus, it can provide a source of renewable energy while still allowing you to enjoy the view and sunlight from the outdoors. Movable shading louvres are intricate and can be adjusted vertically or horizontally. The incident sunlight irradiance can be tailored everyday by moving the louvres based on different climate conditions and hours of the day. Thus, PV louvres offer architects a vehicle to play with shadow and light. 

Skylight – Due to their laminated glass design, LOF color BIPV products can be used for overhead installation. BIPV skylight systems can double as an energy saver and an exciting design feature by transforming the way light and shadow are captured in a space.

Rooftop – LOF can provide design solution consulting services according to the material and construction of traditional and modern houses. The use of BIPV in roofing systems can provide a direct replacement for your roof’s shingles/tiles. This BIPV solution not only saves energy but also allows your roof to retain its original coloring.

Balcony Railing – Ever thought that your balcony could become a vehicle to harness solar energy? LOF’s color BIPV can easily be integrated into your balcony’s railing to not only generate electricity, but also serve as elegant decor.

Shutter/Brise-Soleil – The shading elements are a particularly important factor in the design and construction of a building. Shading elements increase access to direct sunlight while also providing architectural benefits, such as passive shading.

Carport – Grid-tie solar systems or residential solar carport systems can produce power via color BIPV. At LOF, we provide a variety of color BIPV solutions to design solar array structural systems. Our professional team is here to assist you with the custom design of your solar carport project. Benefits include heat insulation, energy conservation, and the enhancement of your corporate identity system (CIS). 

Platform – LOF color solar panels can be installed horizontally on the parapet top or as a platform. For example, at the Shanghai World Expo’s China Pavilion, LOF color solar panels were installed 180 degrees on the top of parapet. This idea of replacing the original, aluminum plate with a color PV panel was a brilliant, ground-breaking way to integrate PV into the surrounding landscape.

Power Plant – Ground-mounted solar power plants are not limited to the standard blue or black panel. Colored solar panels are a great alternative to consider, especially as a means to showcase your company’s name or logo. 

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Exhibition of Art and Energy works at The ESI in Penryn

Chloe and Naomi have been collaborating with post-doc researcher Katie Shanks over the past year to challenge the aesthetics of silicon solar PV in order to re-imagine solar panels as places for artworks of the future.

Using the solar labs at the ESI, we’ve been able to build and test some of the first solar panel artworks of their kind, and in this talk, we will share some of the process and learning from our creative exchange, as well as our plans for future collaboration.

An exhibition of the works developed together will be on display at the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter in Penryn from September 5th until October 11th.

Please visit the exhibition during the ESI’s opening hours, and if you’d like to meet Chloe, Naomi and Katie, then please book a place at this talk at 4-5pm on Friday 27th September.

During the talk, we will share some of our learning, give you a demonstration of the construction techniques and have some light refreshments! 

Places are limited, so please ensure you book early.

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Art and Energy at home in Kaleider Studios

Today we spent the day setting up camp in Kaleider Studios where we plan to be for the rest of the year  allowing us to really evolve; researching new processes, working on new pieces, and delivering workshops.

We are extremely grateful to the Kaleider team and the wider Kaleider residents network who’ve supported our work from day one. 


We are so pleased to be able to support Art and Energy and see the creation of their amazing photovoltaic artworks at workshops within Kaleider Studios. It is amazing to think that the seeds for this project were planted at a Lunchtime Talk at Kaleider back in 2018 and see what it has developed into. 

 We have a wide range of Resident artists, designers, technologists and academics at Kaleider but hosting Chloe, Naomi and the rest of the Art and Energy Collective means that we regularly see people making artwork which is both beautiful and asks big questions about our approach to climate crisis.” Peter Vanderford, General Manager

Kaleider’s studios at 45 Preston street are situated in one of the most interesting areas in the city. South and North of the river meet in this vibrant part of the city which is becoming increasingly known for its pioneering spirit. We work with a wide variety of people across the city and Kaleider’s new studios make it easier to bring people together.



We value being based at Kaleider because it challenges us, lifts our sights, helps us make better work, stimulates our imaginations, provides us with opportunities, new thinking, access to people we need and inspires us to keep working better.

The rich history of the place reverberates throughout the space and has been given new life by the Kaleider team. 45 Preston Street has been opened up, reimagined and extensively improved already. The variety and flexibility of the spaces available now mean that the building serves a huge set of purposes, is easy to work in and is a pleasure to invite our visitors and participants to share.

Being a resident at Kaleider has helped us overcome many of the hurdles of setting up a new creative venture, the access to space to trial work, test ideas, gain advice from those with other skills and experience, access expertise, share and participate, store things and do the daily admin. 

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We are unstoppable! We are UnLtd

Setting up a social enterprise isn’t without it’s challenges! But it’s also very exciting and rewarding. Some of the rewarding moments come when someone else validates your ideas and decides to get on board with the journey.

So, we are feeling really excited today as we’ve just found our that UnLtd have decided to support our work with some mentoring, training and funds to help us develop our work further.

UnLtd is a charity which supports social entrepreneurs – people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better. Their mission is to reach out and unleash the energies of people who can transform the world in which they live. 

Check out their website! 


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Cutting solar cells is tricky – but can be done!

Cutting solar cells is tricky.

They are incredibly fragile – rather like handling eggshell….but brittler.

The thing is, a solar cell doesn’t have to be square shaped in order to generate electricity. 

So, if you can cut them, then you have the reward of being able to create different shaped panels and we are looking forward to showing you some of these in the new year.

So cutting cells is a challenge. As you will know from our various forrays into this in the past, we’ve tried all sorts of methods and all sorts of cutters – But Dave and Jo at LaserCutz in Honiton have helped us to find a solution.

I hope you’ll be impressed by the results!

With help from Ian Hankey at The Fab Lab in Plymouth and his talented code writing son Jamie Kaye, we’ve designed a spectrum of different shapes all with the same area so that we can see whether or not the shape of the cut cell has any impact on the energy generated by the cell.

So, it’ll be back to the solar lab in Penryn in the next few weeks to get results from this latest set of tests.

“We love this project as it so much fun but has a very real and practical aim” Dave and Jo at LaserCutz

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School of Social Entrepreneurs supporting Art and Energy

School for Social Entrepreneurs brings together people who want to change things for the better. People tackling urgent issues like poverty, education, inequality, health, climate change and much more.

Following a rigorous application and 2 stage interview process, we were absolutely delighted to be accepted on to one of SSE’s courses and join the fellows network of incredible pioneers across the world working towards fixing some of society’s problems.

Art and Energy is still such a new company and we have so much to learn that we are really grateful to Lloyds and Big Lottery for supporting SSE to deliver this support.

We will start meeting up for training and peer support activities in September this year and the course will run for a year helping us to face all the challenges that come with being a start-up and helping us achieve our vision for city regions to have beautiful green technology that generates energy and also represents the unique culture of the place and designers working with solar PV to enhance our spaces with sustainable energy installations that local people want to live with.