Catching Spilled Light

Map of Cambodia
Catching Spilled Light
Mar. 13, 2017
Spilled Light

Still from "Spilling Light" by Michael Kuetemeyer

One month until American Arts Incubator begins in Cambodia. In preparation, I am working with Bophana Center and Kruosar Solar to design and install a local solar electric power system at Bophana, where the exchange program will occur. It will provide electricity for the month of workshops and project development. After the exchange it will continue to provide power, sustaining the community projects, building environmental health. Each day the energy is replenished when rotated into the stream of sunlight. What worlds will we create with the power we collect?

Solar Powered Nintendo Switch

Portable solar array. Photo: R Kuetemeyer

When my kids pre-ordered the Nintendo Switch earlier this year we decided to add another level to the game - it would only be charged with power they collected. Before it arrived we put together the power system– a 21-watt portable solar panel with charge controller connected to a 5-volt USB battery pack. Now that the Switch has arrived they can use it as much as they want, as long as they are able to keep it powered by the sun. If they can power it, they can play it.

We are learning to get really good at catching the sunlight.

Video: Michael Kuetemeyer

A photon that will reach the earth has just left the sun.

spilled light
(an energy-inspired poem)

photons fall upon us
born in the fusion reactor at the center of our solar system
4 billion kilograms of matter converted into photons every second
only 1 in 2 billion photons are radiated directly towards the earth
every second 2 kilograms of matter is converted to energy and sent just to us

In 8 minutes and 19 seconds they complete their journey of 150 million kilometers
some of this light is reflected back into space
less now that the ice has melted
some is harvested by plants giving them the power to grow
a few are caught by solar panels and transfer their energy into electricity we can use
most end their journey by simply spilling heat into the oceans and onto the global city

new photons are just now beginning their journey from the sun
their light will be here soon
catch them before we spill