Norwegian town uses mirrors to combat winter darkness

Norwegian town uses mirrors to combat winter darkness
A small Norwegian town that receives no sunlight between September and March is erecting giant mirrors to redirect natural light onto it throughout the year.

A Norwegian town that receives no natural light during the winter has erected giant mirrors on surrounding mountains to illuminate it all year around.

Rjukan, a small town home to 3,500 people, sits at the bottom of a deep valley where nearby mountains block it from sunlight between September and March.

Its residents are so fed up with being starved of sunlight for such a large part of the year that they have spent US$835,000 on installing three large mirrors, known as heliostats, to redirect sunlight onto the town’s main square.

The idea was conceived more than a century ago by local Sam Eyde. However, a cable car that brought people up to the mountains was built instead because technology at the time meant the mirror project was unfeasible.

Helicopters installed the huge mirrors earlier this month. A solar-powered sensor will track the path of the sun to ensure the town is lit during winter.

Residents will have to wait until September to see if the project is a success.