A couple weeks ago I was driving west on I-70 toward the mountains to go skiing. Driving past Golden, for the first time I noticed a massive facility off the highway. What is that? I wondered.
I got my answer this week when I was hired as director of photography for a shoot about NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the source of the massive structure I noticed on that drive.
In the course of the shoot we got a tour of the facility, including this area where they test and monitor various solar panel designs (you can see downtown Denver in the background). Some of these panels have been out there for 20 or more years as part of the study is seeing how long a panel will last. The panel most often being used today is one that has a grid-like pattern on its surface. In the past, solid black panels were popular but birds would frequently fly straight into them to their death thinking they were a body of water. The grid design was developed to break up the silhouette.