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Self-powering lamp Sunne turns solar technology into solar design

The amount of power the sun sends to our planet in a single hour is more than all of the earth's inhabitants consume in a year. No wonder solar energy is showing unprecedented growth and is expected to account for 60% of the increase in global renewable capacity in 2022

So: it's powerful, it's booming, but what about beautiful? Aiming to turn photovoltaic technology into objects people want to surround themselves with, solar designer Marjan van Aubel created Sunne, a self-powering lamp with integrated photovoltaic cells that harvest energy when the sun is out. Stored in a battery, that energy is released when night falls — as plain light as well as with the pink, orange and yellow hues of sunset and sunrise. An accompanying app shows how much energy Sunne is capturing at any moment and can also be used to change the light's settings.

Sunne was crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2021, and the concept won various design awards before going into production. Lamps were shipped to backers this summer, and now, coinciding with Van Aubel's ambassadorship at this year's Dutch Design Week, Sunne has been launched as a solar design brand. The lamp is its first product and is available for purchase, made to order in the Netherlands for EUR 995.

Trend Bite

When it comes to solar energy, the conversation is usually about efficiency, cost and payback periods. But to craft a post-fossil world worth living in, the narrative also needs to embrace human values like beauty and pleasure.

By creating tangible and joyous connections between humans and the energy they consume, designers like Marjan van Aubel can shift the perspective away from pure functionality and towards objects of desire.

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom