A small town in Norway that sits in the shadow of steep mountains this week got its first-ever glimpse of sunlight during the winter, the Associated Press said.
Rjukan sits in shadow about six months out of the year, but thanks to the placement of three large mirrors on nearby mountain tops, a reflected stream of sunlight shot into the town’s center square Wednesday.
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The three 183-square-foot mirrors send the sun in an ellipse pattern to light up about half the square. People gathered as the mirrors, which are controlled remotely from Germany, were turned on and a band played “Let the Sun Shine In,” The Associated Press said
It took helicopters to bring the mirrors in and install them 1,500 feet up the mountains, the AP said, to the tune of about $850,000. The mirrors, or heliostats, are often used for solar power in the Middle East, but the power these mirrors generate will tilt them to follow the sun’s path across the sky.
The town was established a hundred years ago by Sam Eyde, who built it for workers of his hydroelectric plant. At the time, Eyde had ideas of bringing more light to the town, but the idea didn’t come to fruition until a local resident worked to make it happen starting in 2005, AP said.
The company Eyde founded, Hydro, paid for most of the costs of putting up the mirrors.
A mayor of the municipality in which Rjukan sits said in a statement that it’s important Hydro is involved in the project, the International Business Times reported
“Rjukan was built on new technology, and it is new technology that is now the basis for the sun mirror,” Steinar Bergsland said, adding he hopes the mirrors will be a tourist attraction.
Whether the mirrors draw visitors or not, residents were happy as sunlight penetrated the gloom in the market square. In the past, they rode a cable car to the top of a mountain for the important Vitamin D sunlight gives, the AP said.
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