Solar Tomorrows was inspired by a simple question: what would a world powered entirely by solar energy look like? This question is partly about the materiality of solar energy—about where people will choose to put all the solar panels needed to power the global economy. But it’s more fundamentally about how people will rearrange their lives, values, relationships, markets, and politics around photovoltaic technologies. The political theorist and historian Timothy Mitchell argues that our current societies are carbon democracies, societies wrapped around—and shaped by—the technologies, systems, and logics of oil. What will it be like, instead, to live in the photon societies of the future?
At the heart of Solar Tomorrows lies the imaginative productivity of the narrative hackathon. Solar Tomorrows narrative hackathons bring together writers, artists, engineers, and social scientists to imagine, create, and explore technically grounded, inspiring visions of future worlds made possible by solar energy. Unique to this methodology is its commitment to people-centered stories rather than technological hype. What kinds of worlds, teams ask, might people create for themselves in a variety of possible post-carbon futures? What kinds of struggles will those worlds be born out of? Who will win, and who might lose, in the process? What will life, work, and play be like, powered by the diurnal patterns of sunlight, rather than the 24/7/365 realities of worlds fueled by coal and oil?
Most importantly, informed by solarpunk sensibilities, Solar Tomorrows takes a comparative approach to the design of energy futures, reminding us that the future is open, that societies powered by solar energy can be designed in many different ways, and that those design choices matter for social justice.
Cities of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures
A collection of science fiction stories, art, and essays exploring how the transition to solar energy will transform cities; catalyze revolutions in politics, governance, and culture; and create diverse futures for human communities.
The Weight of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures
Our first collection of solar futures, The Weight of Light, puts comparative design at the heart of the solar project. Just how different might solar-powered futures be?