The Norwegian town of Rjukan is located in a valley between steep hills -- so steep, in fact, that the town is impenetrable by sunlight for five months of the year.
But three sets of giant mirrors, with a surface area of 538 square feet, are poised to shed some light on Rjukan during its dark months. The mirrors, located on surrounding mountains, will get their first real-world test in September, the month in which the darkness descends on the town. The mirrors will be remotely controlled via a computer at the town hall, in order to reflect sunlight into a 2,150-square-foot area of the town square.
The idea was first considered more than 100 years ago, but the technology to turn the idea into reality did not yet exist. The installation cost the town of more than 3,000 residents approximately $850,000. The mirrors will be powered with solar and wind energy.