Solar Powered Billboard

Advertising, Creative Direction, Experience

Using Zero Watts of Grid Energy

The Idea

When I was at DDB, I was contacted by the ECD in our San Francisco office, Ben Wolan, and asked to contribute some thinking on how we could execute a few ideas they had for their client, Energy Upgrade California.

Billboards in America use of 140 billion kWts of energy per year. EUC was able to get their message out by partnering with McDonald’s (another Omnicom client) who had the ad space.

How It Worked

The idea was to make a billboard light-up at night without using any electricity. I did’nt know much about the world of solar cell power generation and battery storage. I do now. We rented a trailer of batteries and solar panels. During the day the batteries would charge and then slowly discharge at night. The billboard was 100% off the California power grid.

The “light” was achieved by using electroluminescent tape. Which can be trimmed to any size. The power consumption is minimum. The vinyl was printed in a unique way. If up close you would notice a different saturation patten in the area where you want the light to shine through. The effect allows you to essentially have two different layouts. A daytime and nighttime version.

Energy Upgrade California® is a statewide initiative committed to uniting Californians to strive toward reaching our state’s energy goals. That’s why we’re inviting you to Do Your Thing™—to better manage your energy use for the future of California.

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