Gallery: Lunar Cubit: Gigantic Solar Pyramids to Power Abu Dhabi


The motto of these sleek black pyramids is “Renewable Energy Can Be Beautiful.” No, the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas did not suddenly develop a green streak — the project, called Lunar Cubit, is a pyramid-shaped solar power complex designed to power thousands of homes in the Abu Dhabi desert.

The proposal placed first in the Land Art Generator Initiative, a contest which asks designers to integrate art and interdisciplinary processes with the concept of renewable energy. Each proposed project must generate enough green energy to power thousands of homes, while also serving as an innovative public art installation.

Lunar Cubit consists of eight small glossy solar panel pyramids that surround a central large pyramid in a semi circle. The pyramids act as a lunar calendar, and the central pyramid is inversely illuminated according to the phases of the moon — meaning it is at full illumination with the new moon. The surrounding smaller pyramids act like the hands of a clock for the eight phases of the lunar calendar, illuminating in different combinations to indicate the waxing or waning of the moon. Each is outfitted with energy-efficient LED lights, of course.

By day, the pyramids function as solar energy-producing power plants. Each of the frameless solar panels is made of glass and amorphous silicon, and they’re able to produce enough renewable energy to power 250 homes. That may not seem as productive as a solar power farm, yet it is truly exceptional considering it is also a public art installation. If actually constructed, Lunar Cubit would pay back its cost of construction in five years, through the megawatt-hours of clean renewable energy that it produces.

Lunar Cubit, designed by Robert Flottemesch, Jen DeNike, Johanna Ballhaus, and Adrian P. De Luca, combines the power of the moon, ancient measurement (it is proportional to the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Giza), and renewable energy. The Land Art Generator Initiative is currently seeking partnership to start construction, and if completed, it is anticipated to become a tourist destination in itself.

+ Lunar Cubit

Via Fast Co Design


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  1. dramdahi May 10, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    the opening statement of this article says \”renewable energy can be beautiful\”. I get the feeling that the author implies non-renewable energy presently is. My personal opinion, this project seems like a mockery to the whole climate change exercise. Lets start first by encouraging our foreign expats consulting architects to not over prescribe fossil fuel energy designs to our middle eastern counterparts for the sake of harnessing profits.

  2. herman miller santa rosa February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I would want to see these pyramids. Great idea to incorporate the illumination with the phases of the moon. There are so any solar opportunities that we haven’t taken advance of yet. I just heard of using the roofs of cars. Lets be more sustainable.

  3. pilottage February 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

    limited use of the power, it could have a simple thermal ground producing potable water + Efficiency from thermal solar panel is better than voltaics only. So make electricity + Water… then use the remaining heat to produce Air cooling with a solar aircon system… = Electricity + Water + Cold… this is more an Art than an energy project for the moment. And it could serve better in poor rural inter-tropical zones than in the fat rich suburbs of Dubai…

  4. electric38 February 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Great design, but who wants electric power produced by just another monopoly? Show some designs that are built into the housing. Something that will end the users dependance on a utility company….

    Thank you

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