Solar Umbrella: Clean Power Made, And Shade

Most solar panels are installed on rooftops or balconies where they’re positioned to capitalize on daytime sun without taking up valuable patio or yard space. Solar arrays tend to be big, bulky and, well, unsightly. They’re certainly not anything you (or your homeowner’s association) would want sitting out in the front yard for all to see.

But a new design from Ombrellone Solare seeks to transform solar installations from something you want to hide on the roof to something you’ll want to invite guests over to see. The Italian company’s series of solar parasols are an innovative design that provide cooling shade while still harvesting energy from the hot sun.

Solar Parasol

image via Ombrellone Solare

In its most basic form, the Eclipse outdoor parasol acts like a typical outdoor umbrella: it provides protection from the sun, allowing you to enjoy patios and back yards without danger of a serious sunburn. But the designers of this spherical umbrella took the design a step further in its Kosmos design, adding organic solar panels that harvest the sun’s energy to produce electricity for the included LED light and various electronics devices.

Both the regular and solar umbrella feature a flat design, they stand up better to stiff winds that cause a traditional outdoor umbrella to sway and spin. Instead the shade sail is tightened inside and is majestically silhouetted against the sky.

Developed in collaborations with Konark Technologies Inc., this review notes that the parasols were a great success at Milan Design Week because they not only provided shade to the people puffing and panting in the sun, they also provided people with an outlet in open space to charge their laptops and mobile phones with their advanced technology.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog