SOLAR LILY PADS Proposed for Glasgow’s Clyde River

by , 05/12/08

SOLAR LILY PADS Planned for Glasgow’s Clyde River, Glasgow Solar Lily Pads, Floating Solar panels, Clyde River Solar, Lily Pad Solar, Zm Architecture, Peter Richardson, Solar power, solar energy, renewable energy, photovoltaic

In a stunning example of biomimicry, Scottish architecture firm ZM Architecture have come up with a brilliant scheme to provide solar power to the city of Glasgow – and do so in a way that is provocative, creative, and aesthetically appealing. The proposal? To design Solar Lily Pads which will float in Glasgow’s River Clyde and soak up the sun’s rays, sending electricity to Glasgow’s grid while also stimulating urban riverfront activity.

Taking 1st Place in the International Design Awards ‘Land and Sea’ competition, the Solar Lily Pad proposal by Peter Richardson impressed Glasgow’s City Council so much the city is now considering testing a small pilot project in conjunction with the Glasgow Science Centre.

SOLAR LILY PADS Planned for Glasgow’s Clyde River, Glasgow Solar Lily Pads, Floating Solar panels, Clyde River Solar, Lily Pad Solar, Zm Architecture, Peter Richardson, Solar power, solar energy, renewable energy, photovoltaic

What we love about this project is the innovative thinking in a proposal for urban energy generation. Whereas most urban design schemes to generate more renewable electricity would usually focus on rooftop photovoltaics or wind turbines on public buildings, it takes a creative leap to envision Solar Lily Pads. But of course, the idea is perfectly natural, and makes good sense when you consider that the intrinsic design of the lily pad is all about maximizing access to the sun’s rays. We hope this great idea takes off and inspires both city governments and other designers to get creative with the design of photovoltaics.

+ Solar Lily Pads

+ iDesign Awards
+ ZM Architecture

Via the BBC >

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  1. albertsauve September 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Ian, call me.

  2. alex.pdx November 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I’m a big fan of solar, but in addition to the valid executional criticisms raised above, this idea has some pretty fundamental conceptual failings. Covering over any river with panels is a terrible idea, even if we try to make it feel better by calling them lily pads. Rivers are a precious resource in cities, whose value lies in recreation, transportation, ecology and beauty, not finding (incredibly inefficient) ways of turning them into power generators.

    Frankly, this seems like a bad idea that’s generating enthusiasm because it’s got that feel-good buzzword “biomimicry.”

  3. scotty October 2, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    wandered here by chance and cant beleive what i`m seeing.
    surley glasgow city council could find a thousand better uses for
    however much money it would cost to float this big white elephant
    on the clyde.
    looks like another idiotic way to waste my money.

  4. Arch1888 July 11, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Sorry y\’all,
    But it has to be said. The Clyde needs more, much more than a few wee pads.
    Scotland is blessed with many a loch, thus, less traffic, less in the way etc.
    The Clyde docks once upon a time ruled the world, what a sad legacy it would be if all that Scotland could do for Glaswegians past, present and future, was to float these idiot contraptions.

    C\’moan City Councillors:

    1. Float a better idea.
    2. Last time I looked, the Clyde was a tidal, navigable waterway, so think about the emergency services, rowers, and other leisure users.
    3. Use the money to educate people to use less power.
    4. Water and electricity don\’t mix.

    Just say nae


  5. leeroybrown May 21, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Urban generation? Would the Clyde not benefit from increasing port activity rather than restricting it by making it impossible for any vessel larger than 10 meters to sail into the clyde. It is not a good idea – ports were not invested in to float lilly pads that give energy. If we need more energy lets sail a massive LNG carrier up the clyde to deliver as much as the city could ever need.

    Solar power is notoriously expensive due to a serious lack of raw materials hicking up prices, couple this with neds and bricks and the maintenance costs of such project would spiral.

  6. Cool Tech of the Week: ... May 17, 2008 at 8:38 am

    […] functional space by populating them with solar panels shaped like water lilies. Aiming to increase quality of life, while generating energy, the lilies so impressed the Glasgow City Council that they expressed […]

  7. avide designer » ... May 15, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    […] Plus d’infos et source: Inhabitat […]

  8. ponytrekkingholiday May 14, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I do like the idea though, i just don’t think it will work in Glasgow.

  9. ponytrekkingholiday May 14, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I live in Glasgow and given that the majority of it near the river is completely run down and populated by neds, these wouldn’t last five minutes. I know someone who does rescue drills on the Clyde with Strathclyde Fire and Rescue and i’m told they get volleys of bottles/bricks/needles every time they’re on the river. Anything peculiar or of value on the Clyde will just be seen as another easy target.

  10. blahdiddyblah May 13, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Ok, that doesn\’t look aesthetically pleasing. What are the actual advantages? I mean look at all those bare roof tops there. What\’s wrong with roof tops? Get that shit out of site. Solar panels aren\’t aesthetically pleasing- I know, there is a big array sitting in my yard. So what if they are immulating nature (sort of), I just don\’t see the advantages at all, but I can think of technical challenges. Cleaning. Keeping birds and other life forms off. The output of an entire string is compromised when a shadow falls on any one part of it- at least on my arrays. The insidiously penetrating nature of water. Angle as someone already pointed out. Shading the river. Creating new habitat (could be good, could be bad.. especially for the panels). All in all, this seems like a creative idea out of useful context with all those rooftops out there.

  11. Bob Wallace May 12, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Glasgow is located about 55 North. Panels need to be tilted up considerably even in the summer to be effective this far from the equator. These are flat.

    And they are ugly. IMHO, which may have little bearing on the issue.

    Anyway, look at all the empty rooftops in the area that could be fitted with panels on adjustable racks….

  12. vbxc May 12, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Awesome…. except Glasgow is hardly the sunniest of locals.
    Solar power is not very efficient, so I’m guessing that the plan to power the whole city from a river’s worth of floating photo voltaic cells is a little optimistic.

  13. Lennergy May 12, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Good, one of my part you are working with.
    With my Floating, in any river upancored, WaterPowergenerating Barges, with Wind Power and Sun power up above it is by me complete technique and by me fullfilled long time ago.
    We are right now producing this my 3-Power stations in Brisbane Australia, welcome to inform you in my homepage:
    All the best for the future and let´s save the world from more polutions.
    Leopold Mac Ender

  14. M2JL May 12, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Nice! I love it when technology emulates nature.

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