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Custom Solar Sculpture Built by UCF Students

UCF art and engineering students collaborated to create a new solar-powered sculpture at Exploria Stadium that infuses energy back into the city’s power grid. 

Spring 2021 By Jenna Marina Lee 

When the Orlando Utilities Commission posed a challenge in 2018 to conceptualize a sculpture that doubles as a source of clean energy for Exploria Stadium — the home of Orlando City and Orlando Pride soccer teams — UCF students answered the call. Art and engineering students in an Advanced Design Lab course collaborated on the winning sculpture, named Gyration, which was installed in November. For nearly two decades, the course has provided students with real-life experience working on projects for big-name companies, including Starbucks, Universal Orlando Resort and Guitar Center. Gyration’s four solar panels harvest enough energy during the day to not only power its LED lights at night but also infuse energy back into the city’s power grid.

“We wanted to showcase that artists and engineers can benefit each other. After working on it for so long in a tiny bubble and then seeing it in person towering over you, it’s a surreal feeling. I love the fact that it will be there for so long.”
Kealey Keepers ’18

Kilowatt-hours produced annually, more than enough to offset an electric-vehicle charging station

Wattage the sculpture’s LED lights use daily

Year lifespan for each of the four solar panels before replacement is needed

Feet tall and 9.5 feet in diameter
Students with majors in studio art and mechanical and electrical engineering who worked on the project

Carbon output Gyration yields

Drawings of sculpture designs.

Students drew dozens of ideas for the solar sculpture during the early stages of the design process. The team then narrowed the field by considering which designs would most efficiently collect solar power and best meet the requirements set forth by the clients, Orlando City and OUC.

Students hover around a table discussing physical properties of project.

Students discussed the physical prototypes of the project after an initial presentation to OUC and Orlando City.

Students who worked to create “Gyration” included (from left to right): <strong>James Exum ’18</strong>, <strong>Ramin Ragbir ’18</strong>, <strong>Gabriella Mancini ’18,</strong> <strong>Joel Zorowitz ’20</strong>, <strong>Kealey Keepers ’18</strong>, <strong>Erin Dudley ’18 </strong>and (front) <strong>Joel Rouff</strong>  <strong>’18</strong>.

Students who worked to create “Gyration” included (from left to right): James Exum ’18, Ramin Ragbir ’18, Gabriella Mancini ’18, Joel Zorowitz ’20, Kealey Keepers ’18, Erin Dudley ’18 and (front) Joel Rouff  ’18.

Two solar panels and intricate designs on the solar sculpture.

Two of the four solar panels that power the solar sculpture, which were strategically placed to capture the most energy.

A light up panel on the solar sculpture that features the Orlando City logo.

One panel on the solar sculpture features the Orlando City emblem.

A plaque that honors the students who worked together on the solar sculpture.

A plaque that honors the students who worked together on the solar sculpture.