Solar Sunflowers Bloom In Austin
Oneof the best things about living in Austin, Texas is the sustainable,forward-thinking the city incorporates into new developments like theMueller redevelopment project. The project is an urban, mixed-usedproject that includes homes, office and retail space and the DellChildren’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
Expected to be fully developed within the next 10 to 15 years, thecompleted project will include more than 140 acres of open space, amixed-use town center surrounded by 4,600 single and multi-familyliving units, and more than 4 million square feet of retail and officespace.
Situated along Interstate 35 — the most traveled roadway in CentralTexas — the initial phase of Mueller is already making a statement ashome to Austin’s largest public art project.
“SunFlowers – An Electric Garden,”is a self-powered art installation that uses solar power collectedthrough photovoltaic arrays to light the hike and bike trail that hugsthe frontage road along the west side of the development. The arrayswill generate more than 18,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually,and excess power generated will be channeled back into Austin’s energygrid.
By day, the solar sunflowers provide shade for runners and bikers. By night, they illuminate the trail around Mueller.
The Applied Materials Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm,provided partial funding for the sunflower project. The companyrecognized the opportunity to not only support the arts in Austin, butto use the project to also familiarize people with solar energy andhelp illustrate the possibilities for a solar-powered future.
As solar energy is being incorporated in new and forward-thinkingways, projects like the SunFlowers not only create visual interest, butthe solar energy produced is helping to ultimately change the way weall live.
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