The chapter discusses an innovative solution devised to address the lack of sunlight during winter in Rjukan, a small industrial town located in a valley at the foot of the Gaustatoppen mountain in Norway. For half of the year, from October to March, the town sits in the shadow of the surrounding mountains, deprived of direct sunlight. This long-standing issue was first proposed to be addressed using mirrors by a local bookkeeper, Oskar Kittelsen, in 1913, but due to technological limitations, the idea was shelved, and a cable car was installed instead.
Almost eight decades later, in 2005, artist Martin Andersen revived the sun mirror project. Despite initial logistical difficulties due to the remote location, public criticism, and the physical challenges of installing the mirrors on the mountain, the project was successfully completed in 2013. Three heliostats, mirrors that track the sun's movements, were installed on a ridge on the Gaustatoppen mountain. These mirrors reflected sunlight onto the town's main square, bringing about a transformational change to Rjukan's winter landscape.
The successful implementation of the project has had significant benefits for the town, invigorating both tourism and local industry, as well as improving the quality of life for the residents. The sun mirrors have become a major attraction, bringing visitors from around the world to the small town of Rjukan. The residents, initially sceptical, have come to appreciate the project's impact, basking in the newly available sunlight and enjoying the increased tourism. Rjukan’s mayor, Steiner Bergsland, praised the project as a "perfect combination of technology and art" and a significant contribution to the welfare of Rjukan's citizens.