Solar energy came in with a timely assist when Calgary artist Lisa Brawn decided to reclaim and refurbish a herd of 30 vintage, mechanical horses that once stood outside area department stores from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Now, instead of running on coins, the horses “are powered by southern Alberta’s long sunny days,” CBC reports.
Brawn, who cashed in her retirement savings to pay for the project and subsequently got her investment back, has spent the last three years restoring the horses after decades of neglect. “They had wasp nests in them and all the wiring was chewed by mice, the motors were seized, all the paint was blistered, and all the leather on the saddles was rotten,” she told CBC. “So it was a disaster.”
Now, they’re covered in silver leaf, the better to glisten in the sun.
The solar connection for the installation, located near the town of Millarville, AB, means the horses “are completely independent, just running through the field,” she said. “No generators, no electrical.”
The mechanical beasts “start moving as soon as you step towards them thanks to motion sensors that Brawn has hidden in the Prairie grass that surrounds the Leighton Arts Centre,” CBC notes. (h/t to The Energy Mix subscriber Elizabeth Valestuk Henderson for pointing us to this story)