Garden gnome

Gnome-on-a-log… of course.

As the price of producing solar panels starts to fall and people are finding smarter, thinner and more flexible materials to create them, it seems like no place is safe from these sun sucking devices. Even the humble garden gnome is getting in on the act. To celebrate the arrival of spring and the advent of slightly warmer weather, we thought we’d share some of the more unusual places we’ve seen solar panels popping up.

Batmobile lawn mowers
If your dream is to own a batmobile, but you can’t afford it, then this might be the next best thing – a solar powered mower by Husqvarna. But at around $2k it might be cheaper to buy a goat.

If checking Facebook at the beach is that important to you a US-based designer is intricately stitching panels together in the form of a bikini so you can charge your iPhone on the beach.

Sun-powered cinema
In the UK, The Sol Cinema is a unique mobile cinema powered by the sun. It accommodates eight people and features a library of short videos, many with environment themes.

Last year the Chanel runway show at Paris Fashion Week featured a catwalk that looked like it was made from solar panels. Unfortunately it was more power dressing that power generating as the panels were fake, but it looked fancy.

 Magazine ads
Nivea broke new ground for advertisers last year when they launched a concept video featuring a solar panel in a magazine which you could use to charge your phone.

CSIRO is also working on new applications for solar panels and recently launched a printer that can print cells the size of an A3 sheet of paper. Read about some of the potential applications of this technology on the ABC news website.



  1. Australian Red Cross is selling emergency radios that can be charged by cranking a handle, or….. placing it in the sun. It comes with a small solar panel.
    Now that is what I call practical use of solar energy!

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