SOURCE: City of San Jose, California

December 15, 2008 17:00 ET

Green Vision Takes on an Artful Approach at San Jose's Pearl Ave. Branch Library

New Solar Photovoltaic Embedded Glass Art Debuts as City Celebrates Premiere U.S. Installation Marrying Art, Technology and Solar Power

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - December 15, 2008) - With the opening of the Pearl Avenue Branch Library in San Jose, the City has became the first municipality in the United States to install permanent public art that combines photovoltaic cells and art glass in an architectural application.

"This innovative art project is a great addition to the already remarkable collection of art in our world-class library system," said Mayor Chuck Reed. "Art and technology intersect in a creative and inspiring way, recognizing our community's diversity, celebrating the history of innovation, and highlighting the great strides we are making with the San José Green Vision."

Artist Lynn Goodpasture's pioneering public art piece, titled "Solar Illumination I: Evolution of Language," commissioned through the San Jose Public Art Program, integrates green technology and art demonstrating yet another aspect of the San Jose Green Vision.

The artist collaborated with Peters Glass Studios in the creation of an artwork that incorporates glass-embedded photovoltaic (PV) cell technology that in turn powers a suspended glass LED-illuminated lamp. This is the first implementation of the technology in public art in the United States.

"This is a welcome treasure to our community. With the new artwork, the Pearl Ave. Library now provides the visitor with an inspirational focal point that helps to spawn new ideas, thought and insight," said Councilmember Judy Chirco (District 9). "It's our hope that the art will enhance the library experience for the immediate neighborhood and beyond."

The Pearl Avenue Branch Library artwork includes four art glass windows embedded with PV cells. The artwork's imagery explores the evolution of alphabets as the foundation of the written word. Each window contains characters in scripts that are the basis for written Latin, Russian, Vietnamese and numerous Indian languages. "We are all one" is engraved repeatedly on the lamp in cuneiform. As this installation explores cultural differences in the windows, the color-changing lamp bridges those distinctions by celebrating what we share. Artist Lynn Goodpasture explains that "Solar Illumination I: Evolution of Language" links the past with the future by exploring the first writings of humankind; at the same time the art incorporates the newest applications of solar and LED technologies.

The 200-watt Solar Lamp System is a 24-Vdc system with 12-Vdc LED lamp and battery load. The conversion from 24-Vdc PV window supply voltage to 12-Vdc battery and load voltage is performed by the 360-watt Max Power Point Tracking charge controller. The system components include four solar windows in the building's SW corner that convert sunlight to 24-Vdc electricity. The windows comprise two 100-Wp DC source circuits with two windows per circuit.

San Jose Public Library Director Jane Light expressed her enthusiasm for the artwork and the added benefit of a first-of-its-kind project that supports the City's Green Vision: "The new San Jose branch libraries are the sites of many important public art projects that were developed with support of the communities they serve. The Pearl Branch Library artwork, which is beautiful, innovative and educational, serves this community, the Library's mission of enriching lives by fostering lifelong learning, and the mission of libraries historically."

Peters Glass Studios is the leading architectural art glass fabricator that is combining building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) with custom art glass design. For this project Peters translated the artist's design directly onto float glass by airbrushing a combination of transparent, translucent and opaque vitreous enamels in multiple layers. The photovoltaic glass is developed by laminating PV cells within two layers of tempered float glass. The art glass and the laminated photovoltaic glass are then combined into an insulated glass unit (IGU) for installation on site.

Pearl Avenue Branch Library is located at 4270 Pearl Ave., San Jose, CA 95136. Library hours are Mon., 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.; Tue. - Wed., 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Thu. - Sat., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; closed on Sunday. For information, call (408) 808-3053 or visit

About Lynn Goodpasture, public artist

Since 1998, Lynn Goodpasture has worked exclusively in art that is integrated into architecture. Lynn has received commissions for sites including schools, hospitals, and transportation centers. Goodpasture works in a wide variety of materials including glass, mosaic, tile, and lighting elements. Goodpasture is keenly interested in the integration of art and technology, particularly the application of art as an environmental statement.

About Peters Studios

Established nearly 100 years ago, Peters Studios is a leader in the international art glass industry, and was the first art glass studio to incorporate building-integrated photovoltaics and art glass. Peters specializes in all techniques of classical and modern glass design with a vision of collaboration to raise the level of architectural art glass to that of a true art form.

About the Library

San Jose Public Library system (SJPL) is the largest public library system between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California's Central Coast. It serves a culturally diverse population of 974,000 in the nation's 10th largest city. Recipient of the prestigious national Library of the Year award, SJPL is recognized across the country for its innovation and leadership in the field and is one of the busiest libraries systems nationwide, with an annual checkout rate of more than 14 million items.

About the Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program

The City of San Jose Public Art Program, a division of the San Jose Office of Economic Development, seeks to build community identity by initiating artworks and exhibitions that enliven our community. Through active engagement between the artists and project stakeholders, public art strives to reflect the City's ethnic diversity, historic richness, and envision its present and future.

About San Jose's Green Vision

On October 7, 2007, Mayor Chuck Reed introduced San Jose's Green Vision, which sets 10 ambitious goals for environmental protection and economic development. This 15-year plan envisions: creating 25,000 Clean Tech jobs; building or retrofitting 50 million square feet of green buildings; installing 100,000 solar roofs (1/10 of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1 million solar roofs for California initiative); reducing per capita electricity use by half; becoming a zero waste city; recycling and reusing 100 percent of the city's water; and moving to 100 percent renewable energy. San Jose, the nation's tenth largest city, already is a leader in clean energy and solar innovation, with leading corporations such as SunPower, SoloPower, Stion, Nanosolar, Fat Spaniel, SunWize, Sopogy, and others headquartered in the city. Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors recently announced that it would locate its headquarters and new manufacturing plant in San Jose. For more information, visit

About the City of San Jose

From its founding in 1777 as California's first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley -- the world's leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, work, live, play and learn.

Contact Information

    Jennifer A. Easton
    Office of Cultural Affairs, City of San Jose
    408.277.5144 x24
    Email Contact

    Steven Brewster
    Office of Economic Development, City of San Jose
    (415) 577-8851
    Email Contact

    Peter Kaufmann
    Peters Studios
    (503) 781-7223