Solar mirror: the sun always shines in Rjukan

Rjukan, a small Norwegian city, is situated in a deep valley. The sun is gone for 6 months every year. A big solar mirror will now give Rjukan sun throughout the year.   

May 2013: After years of planning, the work on installing a big solar mirror, a heliostat, with a surface of 100 square meters, began on a hillside over the city. When the construction is completed, it will adjust the sun’s movements, reflect the sunlight, and transmit light to a fixed spot in the city centre throughout the year. A computer program will make sure that the mirror adjusts the sun’s movements.

The construction weighs 14 ton, and every part is moved up on the hillside by a helicopter.  In Italy you can find a similar construction, but it is not nearly as large and complex as the one in Rjukan.

However, the idea to use a big mirror to reflect the sun in Rjukan is not at all new. In 1913, a worker, Oscar Kittelsen, suggested that Rjukan should install a mirror up on a hillside so that the sun would reach the city centre during the winter.  Now, finally, a hundred years later Kittelsen’s dream is coming to life (nrk.no).

To see how the solar mirror works, click here

Photo by: Kjell Jøran Hansen (CC)