For five months out of every year the people of Rjukan, Norway receive no direct sunlight in their town. Nestled in a valley between mountains, the low winter sun cannot make it over the peaks, but this winter, for the very first time, sunlight will reach the valley floor with the help of giant computer-controlled mirrors.
Previously, locals had to take a cable car to the top of the mountains to receive some Vitamin D, but the ‘Mirror project’ will illuminate the town square with reflected sunlight, brightening up the center for its 3,000 inhabitants. The project, which will cost approximately $825,000, will see the installation of sensor-equipped, solar-powered smart mirrors, that will follow the path of the sun to reflect the most light down into the valley at any time of the day.
Norwegian officials hope that the project will enliven the gloomy town, stating on the project website:
The square will become a sunny meeting place in a town otherwise in shadow.
The installation was inspired by a similar scheme in Viganella Italy, another valley village that was cast in the shadows of the Alps prior to installing mirrors in 2006. Norwegian delegates visited the town before embarking on their own mirror project.