Mirror Shines Sun On Norwegian Town
Rjukan is a small town in Norway. It has 3,386 year round residents. Sam Eyde, the founder of Hydro (Norsk Hydro) company, a fertilizer company, founded the town. The town site was chosen because of the 341 foot waterfall provided a source of electricity. The town is located in an area with great skiing, hiking and ice climbing. The waterfall itself has been painted by many an artist, some of them quite famous. It is a good place to go.
There is one challenge with the picturesque town. There are a lot of mountains surrounding the town. The town itself is located at the bottom of a valley at the base of Guastatoppen Mountain. Because of this, the town is in shade for 6 months out of the year. I am talking like shade, as in no sunlight, from September to March. Living without sun for 6 months has it health problems and the residents used a gondola that was designed in 1928 to go to the top of the mountain. There, 1640 ft up the mountain the town’s folks can get some sun. We all need the Vitamin D we get from the sun.
The town folks had an idea, however. It was hatched 100 hundred years ago but the technology was not available for the plan. The original idea was a suggestion by bookkeeper Oskar Kittelsen. He suggested using a mirror to reflect sunlight into the town without the technology it was a no-go. Hence, the gondola was born. Recently, the mirror concept was reborn this time with technology on its side. In 2005 Martin Anderson learned about a sports stadium in Arizona that made use of mirrors to grow its grass in the partially covered dome. Andersen helped raise the money to put up the mirrors in 2013
Three heliostatic mirrors are installed on the side of the mountain 1476 ft. above the Town Square. The mirrors reflect the sunlight and shines directly on the square, a 8611 ft. area. Computers control them so the mirrors can track the sun and adjust themselves they move every 10 seconds so the residents get sunlight throughout the day. Pretty amazing, isnt it.