Solar lily pads in the limelight

04 Jun 2008

Glasgow architecture firm ZM Architecture have won a prestigious design award with a proposal to create "solar lily pads" on Glasgow's River Clyde.

The innovative concept for gathering solar power along the river won first place in the International Design awards "Land and Sea" Competition.

The Solar Lily Pad proposal by Peter Richardson has already caught the interest of Glasgow City Council who is considering testing a small pilot project in conjunction with the Glasgow Science Centre.

Peter Richardson of ZM Architecture commented, "In cities all over the world there are disused water ways, canals and rivers.Often they become the focus for regeneration and for most people offer an improved quality of life and environment. Our project proposes to stimulate river activity and change by proposing that the surface is used to harness the power of Solar energy on a large scale."

The plan is for the energy created to be transformed and exported to the grid, reducing the carbon footprint of the city. The idea references large lilypads that are  optimised for efficient photosynthesis, so the design is inspired by nature. They can be moved and dismantled and are simply tethered to the river bed, integrated motors can rotate the discs so their orientation to the sun is maximised throughout the day.

  • Architect's impression by supplied by ZM Architecture