Ground Report | New Delhi: The Italian town that build its own sun; Surrounded by mountains and left in the dark for three months a year, a city in northern Italy has found a creative solution to its sunlight problem. In 1999, local architect Giacomo Bolzano proposed installing a solarium on the façade of the church, but the then-mayor, Franco Midili, rejected the idea.
Instead, he asked Bonzani about the impossible: to bring the sun to Viganella in 83 days when it was blocked by mountains. how? Setting a giant mirror on one of the peaks above the city reflects light into its main square.
The Italian town that build its own sun
The ingenious idea was put into practice, and on December 17, 2006, the project finally saw the light of day. The mirror was designed by Bozzani with the help of engineer Gianni Ferrari and cost around €100,000. Eight meters wide and five tall, it reflects sunlight for six hours a day, following the sun’s path in the sky thanks to a software program that rotates it.
The 3,500 inhabitants of the Norwegian village of Rjukan may be very happy to live in a natural setting full of trees, but for months the village was a kind of dark house: the sunlight could not reach because of the mountains.
So they decided to install a series of giant mirrors on top of the mountain that reflect the sunlight on short winter days. No sooner said than done. In November 2013, the first rays of sunlight illuminated the town square. The mirrors are connected to a computer system and solar panels that follow the course of the sun to catch even the last drop of light.
As explained by the Mayor, who together with the architect set up the “artificial sun” for Viganella, devising a system of pulleys and a burnished steel mirror, consisting of 14 panels and a surface area of 40 square meters, located at an approximate height 1,000 meters of Mount Scagliola.
Day of the Light
This 8 by 5-meter mirror, which was built in Huelva, Spain, receives the sun’s rays and makes them reflect towards the houses of the town since it captures and reflects light for about six hours, from 9 to 15 hours, being its moment of maximum effectiveness at 11 in the morning, when an optimal alignment is established between the mirror and the places it illuminates, such as the main square of Viganella.
The mirror is fixed to a concrete structure and is operated through a computer that allows following the path of the Sun and directing the reflection of the rays towards Viganella, tilting and rotating the panels so that the solar rays are always reflected downwards. , illuminating the city that, even before this invention, lived in the dark for more than 80 days each year.
The sun, in fact, is essential for the processing of vitamin D, which is essential for bone formation. With vitamin D we help the body to assimilate calcium and phosphate from our food. Lack of this vitamin weakens the bones.
Viganella’s success inspired
The success of Vignella inspired other cities around the world. In 2013, a similar mirror was installed at Rjukan, a valley in south-central Norway, when a group of engineers came to Viganella to study the mirror at the site.
The invention may also prove useful for the Icelandic village of Sedisfjordur, which – due to its location in a very narrow fjord – always struggles to get sunlight, even in summer. In 2008, local residents tried to ask the Icelandic government to set the national clocks forward by two hours in the summer so they could enjoy a little sunshine after work, but so far their pleas have been unsuccessful.
While history is full of examples of solar mirrors—from Archimedes’ mirror, said to have burned a fleet of Roman ships at Syracuse, to their application in modern space telescopes—Vignella’s project still feels unique and sweet. does. It is highly appreciated by its residents, who will be basking in its artificial sunlight for generations to come.