Solar beach umbrella cools you … and your gelato


From pv magazine USA

A fold-out solar umbrella design that was inspired by NASA spacecraft and origami could bring clean energy to beachfront resorts this summer and beyond.

The “Parelio for Sammontana” design is a collaboration between innovation company Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), architect Italo Rota, and gelato-maker Sammontana.

The fold-out array is meant to be deployed in the sun, shading beachgoers and generating PV energy that feeds attachable nebulizers and coolers underneath. This provides a way to keep beachgoers, their drinks and Italian ice cream cool on hot summer days.

The project was supported by a “transformable design” proponent, Prof. Chuck Hoberman of Harvard University. He worked with Italo Rota and MIT Prof. Carlo Ratti on the design. The modular system means that multiple umbrellas can be strung together, leaving it up to resorts to be creative with how they integrate the technology.

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The umbrella is 8.2 feet high, has a 10.5-foot diameter, and includes panels over the entire top. A prototype is on display in the Porta Nuova district of Milan from June 12 to Aug. 8.

The solar umbrella is one of many ways designers are finding ways to integrate pv technology into unlikely spaces such as windows and blinds.

Image: Carlo Ratti Associati

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