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No more tickets available for the unveiling of our first solar panels! But…….

It’s very exciting that we’ve already booked ALL the tickets for the unveiling of our first solar panel artworks at Mikro Fest in Kaleider’s Studios on Friday the 15th March.


You don’t need to miss out!

Please come along on SATURDAY 16th MARCH – 12-4pm

45 Preston Street, Exeter

Chloe and Naomi will be around all day and look forward to talking about these new pieces with anyone who’ll listen! 

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Art and Energy’s first public display of solar panel artworks at Mikro Fest in Exeter

Art and Energy CIC is an artist-led energy company reimagining solar panel technology as an art material for the future to open doors for imagination and a creative respond to the climate emergency.

You may think you know what a solar panel looks like; rows upon rows of inky rectangles, but these pioneering pieces illuminate the possibilities of a new cultural exchange with our energy infrastructure.

Art and Energy has been working with esteemed partners at The University of Exeter, LaserCutz in Honiton, The Fab Lab in Plymouth and The RSA in London to explore the aesthetic versatility of the solar photo voltaic technology and develop this new craftivist approach to generating green energy.

On display for the first time anywhere ever, Art and Energy are delighted to unveil these new artworks on:

  •  Saturday 16 March from 10am – 4pm
  • at the new Kaleider studios, 45 Preston Street, Exeter 
  • as part of Mikro Fest.

In January 2018, Chloe, Art and Energy’s founder presented the idea for solar panel artworks to Kaleider residents at one of Kaleider’s famous Lunchtime Talks and it was with feedback and guidance from the people in attendance that the idea took root.

It is with sincere gratitude to Exeter City Futures Velocities programme for nurturing the idea in those early days.

Kaleider has been busy renovating a really old three storey building in Exeter in order to fill it full of makers and making. In the process they’ve fallen in love with it, despite the bits that they can’t afford to renovate yet. And they want to mark the moment.

So on 15th and 16th March they’re opening the doors of their new home, Kaleider Studios, and putting on some art in the building and around the city. They’re calling it Mikro Fest.

It will be a modest celebration. There will be several artworks to experience in the city and around the building from our Residents, collaborators and SWCTN Immersion Fellows. They will release programme information and booking details for these nearer the time.

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The unveiling of our first solar panel artworks at Mikro Fest in Exeter

It is with huge excitement and anticipation that Chloe Uden and Naomi Wright invite you to attend the unveiling of our first solar panel artworks.

This private view will take place just before MikroFest at 3:30 – 5:00pm on Friday 15 March at the new Kaleider studios, so you will also have an opportunity to see their new space as well.

If you can’t make it on Friday the space will be open  all day on Saturday 16 March as well, so please drop in.

Although this is a free event, booking is essential as space is limited.

Over the past year we have been pioneering and testing a number of new techniques in designing and constructing artworks that generate power and we would like you to be one of the first people to see them.

We are deeply grateful to the wonderful people who have supported us in our journey to this point and would like to say a special thank you to:

  • Katie Shanks a researcher at the university of Exeter to test and fabricate our work
  • Dave and Jo Neale at LaserCutz in Honiton to find ways to manipulate the shape of cells
  • Ian Hankey a master glass craftsman at The Fab Lab in Plymouth
  • The Velocities team at Exeter City Futures to help us develop our project
  • The RSA’s Catalyst team
  • Jenny Ayrton a glass artist based in Plymouth
  • Patricia Hilto-Robinson a glass artist based in Hampshire
  • Bryn Fogden at GB Sol to develop our ideas
  • Clare Bryden for her help creating our website and ongoing advice
  • Chris Moss from Mav3rick for his ongoing support and advice
  • Joc Spencer-Mills and the rest of the Kaleider team for being relentlessly supportive of our work
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ECOE supports Art and Energy’s programme of workshops

Last night Exeter Community Energy held a community benefit fund allocation event.

We pitched our idea of buying kit so that we can run workshops for people who want to learn how to make their own solar panel artworks. We then took part in a participatory decision making process.

It was really exciting to be involved in such a unique and engaging decision making process, and we are so happy that the group decided to award Art and Energy the funds to do this work

Over the next few weeks we plan to get the kit we need to run the workshops and then to start programming in the workshops for the latter part of 2019.

So, if you think you might like to support, host or attend one of these workshops, please get in touch and/or keep an eye out on our website over the next few weeks.

Here is a link to a page on ECOE’s website where you can find out more about the other applicants and winners


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Help us win support from ECOE to run more solar panel making workshops!

Early in January Art and Energy applied to Exeter Community Energy’s community fund for money to pay for the tools and equipment we need to run solar panel making workshops for people in and around the city who want to 

  • learn new skills, 
  • have fun and 
  • have a creative hand in responding to the climate emergency through generating electricity from the sun.
We’re hoping to work with at least 100 people over the next year.

We are delighted to have been shortlisted and invited to participate in a pitching event to win your hearts and votes and hopefully the support from ECOE.

Please put this date in your diary and come along and lend us your ears!

30th January – 6:30 – 8:30pm at Stephens Scown offices in Exeter

There will be a number of other fabulous energy projects in the city that you might also be interested in!


“Recently, we have been doing a project [with art and energy] on making solar panels to help save the world. We have been making our own so we can charge our electronics at home. I am passionate about our planet…We hope you like it.” Izzy age 11

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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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Blue Peter Project kids finish their solar panels

“What an awesome group this has been, amazing project thankyou! ” Parent

 The final two hour session with our Blue Peter Solar Panel project team was very busy bring everything together!

solar cells were glued to the etched glass, the tabbing together was finalised before we fully encapsulated the cells, wired them up to a transformer and and put them into their frames.

It was a nerve-wracking moment wondering if they actually worked and given it was dark outside we couldn’t test them! But fortunately Poppy’s tortoise came to the rescue lending us its heat lamp which was just right for making sure the kids had done the job.

Fingers crossed that Blue Peter will like the one the kids made for them and hopefully they will get their Blue Peter Badges soon.

So inspiring and exciting!” Parent

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Blue Peter project kids learn how to solder!

Week 2 of our kids solar panel workshop and the participants have made their frames and learned how to solder tabbing wire to the solar cells.

We’ve been using waste cells that have been donated by our partner GB-Sol, so the young people are delighted to be re-cycling the materials!

Although soldering was very tricky, we still managed to get it all done and the steam coming off the iron impressed some of the kids.

We’re learning lots about how best to do this with young people and are grateful to each of our guinnea pigs for helping us learn how we can run similar workshops for others in the future.


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Blue Peter kids solar art project starts!

Our solar panel artworks project with children in Heavitree has started and it’s amazing what you can make at your kitchen table!
The children are planning to take their solar panels home to charge their devices and are hoping to earn their green Blue Peter badge through the project.
Most people think of solar panels as inky blue rectangles on roof tops or fields and aren’t aware that you can actually make quite beautiful things using solar technology to generate your power!
The great thing is that solar PV isn’t as hard to work with as people might think as these brilliant young people are showing.
I’m so happy to find that some of the young people in my community want to be pioneers in this new art-form!Chloe Uden
Throughout November, the children will be meeting once a week to etch, solder, paint, glue and put together their solar panels so they can join our green energy revolution and respond in a small way to the climate emergency.
Photo Credit: Will Dolphin
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Testing Testing 1,2,3

So, you know what a standard solar roof tile looks like right? Basically, a solar roof tile is the same as a solar panel, but it doesn’t have a metal frame and the surface of the tile has been etched.

When we realised that you can etch the surface of glass on a solar panel without effecting the efficiency significantly we realised that perhaps you could etch patterns, words, images onto the solar panels allowing the panel to have another cultural dimension.  

We’ve been working with master glass maker Ian Hankey to explore different glass etching and engraving processes to determine which are the most effective and which have the least impact on the efficiency of the solar cells.

It is also with great thanks to The RSA and their catalyst funding that we have been able to undertake this work.

We tested chemical etching following conversations with Plymouth based artist Jenny Ayerton, and we tested sand-blasting and laser etching at different pressures and settings to see which was the best from an efficiency perspective and which also gave us the most interesting marks.

We explored whether etching on the top or the bottom side of the glass from to the solar cell worked best and we were surprised and delighted at some of the results.

We discovered that in some instances (that we will need to re-test to confirm) the etching actually marginally increased the power output from the cell and we also noted that none of the tests we did actually had a significant negative effect on efficiency.

We also discovered that some etching processes gave clearer images.

We still have further tests to undertake.

What this means is that we may be able to ‘retro-fit’ existing solar arrays with some processes to add value to the installations and add character and local reference.

We have had some support from the fabulous glass engraver Patricia Hilton-Robinson that will allow us to explore the impacts of engraving and we have also texted the first glass mosaic over solar PV created by Exmouth based artist Allan Punton. This showed us quite different results and we plan to test a variety of different coloured glass soon too.