Sonic Bloom Inspires Musical Streetlights in South Korea

Sonic Bloom

Sonic Bloom, a solar powered artwork commissioned by Seattle City Light that delights visitors to Pacific Science Center has inspired the Seoul Municipal Government in South Korea to install musical streetlights.

According to Korea Times, the planned Seoul streetlights “will include playing tunes that best match the weather of the day, and changing them based on the movement of people underneath it.” Read the full Korea Times story here.

Sonic Bloom was created by Seattle Artist Dan Corson, who has been exploring green design and new technologies and how these tools can frame and amplify the natural world and our shifting relationship to it.

The artwork consists of five giant flowers that are powered by solar panels on the tops of the blooms and the science center roof. When people walk by, the each of the flowers “sings” a different musical note. At night, the blooms light up in a variety of colors.

A grant from City Light’s voluntary Green Up program and in-kind donations paid for the Sonic Bloom installation. Green Up allows customers to invest in renewable energy and sets aside some of the money collected from participants to promote awareness.

Among the other numerous projects locally and nationally that Corson has created are “Wave Rave Cave” under the Alaskan Way viaduct for City Light, the “Rain Drum Courtyard” at the Cedar River Watershed Visitors Center in North Bend for Seattle Public Utilities and the green and black striped “Safety Spires” at the Sound Transit maintenance facility.

Seattle City Light Introduces MobE to Teach People About Solar Energy

Mayor Ed Murray introduces MobE at Pacific Science Center.

Mayor Ed Murray helped Seattle City Light unveil a first-of-its kind interactive kiosk today that will use the power of the Sun to teach people about solar and other forms of renewable energy.

“Seattle is a hub of innovation and our community is deeply committed to protecting the environment,” Murray said. “MobE brings those two interests together to help educate people about how solar energy can work in Seattle. This is another example of the environmental leadership demonstrated by Seattle City Light, which is one of the reasons it is the nation’s greenest utility.”

The kiosk, called “MobE” for mobilizing energy, features an interactive touch-screen user interface, relaying information about renewable energy and energy conservation, such as solar energy generation data from Seattle City Light’s four Community Solar projects. It also provides a public address system and a projector for presentations. MobE runs on batteries that are charged by portable photovoltaic solar panels.

City Light’s Jack Newman shows MobE to students from the John Stanford International School.

“Our customers consistently tell us they want more solar electricity,” Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco said. “We are creating that opportunity while maintaining some of the lowest electric rates in the nation. MobE is going to help us share that message.”

City Light plans to use MobE to teach people, especially school children, about solar energy and energy conservation as part of a clean, renewable energy future that reduces our community’s carbon footprint and helps to avoid further impacts of climate change. Partnerships are already in place for outreach and education programs, including the Youth Climate Action Network, which is itself a partnership among Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Aquarium.

“Seattle City Light is one of our valued collaborators,” said Cory Sbarbaro, Interim President and CEO of Pacific Science Center. “We are delighted to deepen our partnership through innovative projects, such as Sonic Bloom and MobE, that help us educate and engage the community on the science of sustainability and renewable energy.”

The MobE kiosk project was conceived by Jack Newman in City Light’s Conservation Resources Division and funded by the utility’s Green Up program. Green Up allows customers to invest in additional green energy from regional renewable energy generation sites by adding a small amount of money to their bill. Green Up also funds local solar energy demonstration projects as well as outreach and education for renewable energy.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.


Power from the Sun and Support for Affordable Housing

Workers install the panels for Seattle City Light’s latest Community Solar project.

Seattle City Light’s latest Community Solar project can provide you with energy from the Sun today and it will help power affordable housing in the future.

The 26 kilowatt system is being installed on the roof of the Holiday Apartments, an affordable housing building owned by Capitol Hill Housing (CHH).  CHH provides low-income housing to over 1700 Seattle residents and actively works to create equitable and sustainable communities in central Seattle. CHH also leads the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, a neighborhood initiative that works to address Capitol Hill’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

Community Solar lets renters, condo owners or those who don’t want to buy a whole system get the benefits of a solar array built by City Light and shared by the community. 

Locations are chosen for solar exposure and connection to the greater community. The host must have an obvious commitment to and connection with conservation. Customers purchase virtual pieces of the system – solar units – for $150 each. State incentives and City Light energy credits pay back that contribution and should even pay out something extra. When the project ends, City Light donates the system to the host – providing free, clean, electricity to offset their operating costs and further their conservation mission.

Why participate?

  • “This is the democratization of solar power,” says Joel Sisolak, EcoDistrict Project Director for CHH. You don’t have to own a solar system, much less a house. Anyone with a City Light account can sign up.
  • Annual credits pay you back by 2020.
  • Your purchase of solar unit(s) supports Capitol Hill Housing by keeping their operating costs down.
  • Adding solar to the grid further diversifies City Light’s clean energy power sources, freeing up more green, hydropowered electricity to be sold to utilities that burn fossil fuels for their power.
  • Enhance City Light’s efforts to educate customers that “solar works in Seattle.”
  • A successful community solar project at the Holiday Apartments will lead to future community solar efforts directed towards Capitol Hill’s many renters that can be led by CHH itself.

Go to for more details, or if you have questions about the project, please call or email a Seattle City Light Energy Advisor at 206-684-3800 or


City Light Transfers Shoreline’s First Public Solar Project to Meridian Park Elementary

Students and teachers at Meridian Elementary cheer the transfer of Shoreline’s first public solar project to the school.

Seattle City Light transferred ownership of a solar array at Meridian Park Elementary to the school at a ceremony on Oct. 24.

The 2.4 kW system was installed in 2004, becoming Shoreline’s first public solar project. Students and their teachers listened to short presentations from the founders of the Shoreline Solar Project, State Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-Shoreline), and City Light’s renewable energy team.

City Light has installed more than 30 solar demonstration projects throughout its service territory since 2000.

Learn more about how you can get electricity for your home or business from the sun here. Even if you can’t install your own panels, you can participate in one of our Community Solar projects.

Great Time to Solarize!

If you live or work in southwest Seattle or Burien and are interested in installing a solar system on your home or business – now is a great time for you to explore that idea through Solarize Southwest. Northwest SEED has teamed up with Seattle City Light and a coalition of local community groups, including Sustainable West Seattle and Sustainable Burien to offer a solar group purchase program for residents of southwest Seattle neighborhoods and Burien. The program is very easy to understand and there is no obligation for just exploring the possibility. Free workshops for interested parties are being held throughout the summer. Don’t delay, this opportunity closes in October!

In addition, enrollment is now open to participate in the Seattle City Light Community Solar project at the Zoo. We build a solar installation and you save! Enjoy the benefits of clean solar energy and receive annual City Light energy credits and Washington State incentive payments, which result in lower electric bills. Solar units cost $150, so apply now to get a share (while supplies last).