Norwegian town builts mirror system to have light in the winter


In Norway, deep in the narrow Vestfjord valley in Telemark, surrounded by steep mountains, at the foot of the mighty Gaustatoppen mountain, lies the industrial town of Rjukan.Rjukan is home to a thriving little community which manages without the sun for almost six months of the year.

The Solspeil – sun mirror, is a spectacular project that will strengthen the identity and attraction of the Rjukan town.

Sam Eyde, the founder of the town Rjukan launched the idea in 1913 of a “Solspeil”. He saw the importance of the “sun in Rjukan” as well in the winter. He had also a need to give his workers the opportunities for sunlight in the winter. This idea is one of the few Sam Eyde did not manage to follow-through to completion.

Instead, his successors built a gondola in 1928 to transport Rjukan´s inhabitants to the winter sunshine. This gondola is called Krossobanen. It remains functional, and is an important connection between the town and the mountains, where the sun´s rays are limited to in the winter months.

Today’s technology has made an idea that was first conceived in 1913 possible: to deliver the sun to the people of Rjukan.The idea was taken up again in 2005 by Martin Andersen, an artist and resident of the town.

A computer-driven heliostat, placed at the top of steep mountain wall 400 metres over the town will capture the sun´s rays and direct them into Rjukan´s centre. The three heliostats consist of computer-driven mirrors that follow the suns movement over the horizon and will reflect its rays into Rjukan´s market square.

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