MALIBU—Last weekend, on May 17, the sustainability-focused MUSE School unveiled five “Solar Sun Flowers”, designed by “Avatar” director James Cameron.
The flowers, which are 30 feet across with a 16 foot stem, are made of solar panels bolted together to look like sunflowers. They act like sunflowers, too – they use astronomical calculations to move toward the sun to maximize the amount of energy absorbed. Depending on sun exposure, the five flowers offset the school’s energy usage from 75-90 percent.
MUSE School, located in Malibu Canyon, is a private and non-profit institution co-founded by Cameron’s wife, Suzy Amis-Cameron, and her sister, Rebecca Amis. The school’s mission is, “Inspiring and preparing young people to live consciously with themselves, one another, and the planet.” The flowers are to be integrated into the school’s curriculum, with a digital “dashboard” that students can use to see how many resources the flowers are saving, compared to different sources of energy production.
James Cameron is in the process of patenting the flowers and making their design free and open-source, so that anyone can make them. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron said, “When we saw that there was a positive response to the design, we started to discuss maybe we do a startup company. But I thought, if we do that we’ll build several hundred. But if we make the design open source and publish the plans online and empower anyone to use this idea, there may be ten thousand… I think it’s a beautiful way to express the spirit of what solar energy is all about.”