November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday Has Arrived


If you tend to sleep late and missed out on all the Black Friday deals, many retailers are carrying over their deals to Cyber Monday. Visit the Cyber Monday Website for some of the best deals and our Holiday Gift Guide is another fine source.

Via Cyber Monday

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November 27, 2009

Dow Solar Shingles One of Time's Best


Time Magazine has named Dow's Powerhouse Solar Shingles as one of the "50 Best Inventions of 2009." The shingle features low cost photovoltaic cells that can be installed without special skills. They will be available in limited quantities next year and in wider distribution by 2011. We hope it lives up to its rep and in honor of the award we name Dow's solar site our SOW this week.

Via Dow Solar

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November 26, 2009

Elleray Prep's Treehouse School


The Elleray Preparatory School in the UK has unveiled three eco-friendly class pods in the Lake District National Park . Designed and built by Robert Gaukroger and Kita Design, the Treehouse School stands on stilts and connects to a center platform made of recycled plastic milk bottles and wood shavings. Solar panels are mounted along the center of each roof to provide the pods with lighting.

Via Dezeen

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November 25, 2009

George Musser's Solar Diary


Scientific American's George Musser is installing solar panels in his own Victorian home and is letting everyone else in on his action. If you are considering the move yourself, you can follow along with his project that he began last February. And if you have your own solar story to tell, send it along to solarathome(at)

Via Scientific American

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November 25, 2009

Villa Akar Gives Back Energy


Physics expert Karin Adalberth is designing the Villa Akar outside of Malmo, Sweden, that is not only energy efficient, it will give it back to the grid during sunny months. Included in the plans are 32 sq. meters of solar panels that are used between April and October. With 2,600 kwh purchased and 4,000 kwh sold back, this Swedish "plusenergihus" will perhaps serve as a model for other designers.

Via Greenline Blog

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November 24, 2009

eBay Houses Solar System


When eBay in San Jose, CA, decided to go solar, they did it in a big way. The 650 kW system includes 3,248 panels placed over 60,000 sq. ft. on five buildings. Built last year, the installation will offset 37 million lbs. of CO2 in the next three decades. The company claims it will save about $100,000 in energy costs in its first year.

Via Solar Feeds

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Harmony Hits the Land and Water


China's Weili Feng designed the Harmony, a vehicle for both land and water. The "environmental friendly new energy power system" runs mostly on hydrogen battery and 4 electric motors but also has a retractable solar paddle on the roof that can be used for power or as a sail. Large enough for 4, this RV looks like part of the future for travelers.

Via Design Boom

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November 23, 2009

Recharge Your Tesla on Highway 101


SolarCity and Rabobank have teamed to construct 4 car charge stations along Highway 101 in California, one of them being solar powered. Eventually the stations, which will run from LA to San Francisco, will all get their power from solar arrays. While the Tesla Roadster is the only car that can use them for now, a plan is in the works so that the stations are good with any EV.

Via Inventor Spot

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Solar Tower Runs on Salt, Lots of It


SolarReserve plans to build a power tower near Rice, CA, that will allow its plant to supply electricity for up to 100,000 homes through the use of molten salt. There will be a 12 ft. pedestal surrounded by 17,500 24 x 28 ft. heliostats. Above the tower, 4.4 million gallons of salt receives heat from the sun that has been reflected by the mirrors. After reaching 1,000º F, energy is provided via a steam generator that uses synthetic oil. If all goes as planned, the tower should be built beginning in 2013.

Via Good Clean Tech

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November 21, 2009

Our First Official Holiday Gift Guide

We may be one of the newest green sites on the Interweb, but we are getting there, thanks to all of you who read us. For you and those surfing by, we present our first annual Holiday Gift Guide. Included are kits, panels, chargers, and stuff that just looks cool. And if you are on a budget, we will help you turn others green for little funding.

Practical Solar Stuff

sfource.jpgSuppose you spend a bit less on toys this year and a bit more on your home, helping to save the planet at the same time. Sunforce's 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit has everything needed (sans battery) to generate power. The kit has four 15W amorphous solar panels with mounting frames, a 200 modified sine wave power inverter, a 7 amp solar charge controller, and a wiring kit with accessories. Sunforce also has a 400W Deluxe Kit that, although is steeper in price, can be used as an off-grid power supply or for backup power.

phonecharger.jpgThe Portable Hybrid Solar Charger can be used with an iPhone, BlackBerry or other smartphones. On cloudy days it can charge via USB. The 2 in 1 Folding Panel comes with a 6 volt, 200 mA folding solar panel, AA and AAA battery charger and multi-plug connectors. It can charge cell phones, portable game systems or PMPs. Don't forget the solar batteries.

Kits for Kids

6kit.jpgThe Thames & Kosmos Physics Solar Workshop was developed with Germany's Greenpeace, includes 320 parts for building different types of vehicles and is recommended for ages 8 - 12. RobotiKits'
6 In 1 Educational Solar Kit
has one solar module and a gear box with snap together pieces for building several different solar models and is recommended for those over 10.

racecar.jpgElenco's OWI Super Solar Racing Car Jr. is part of their science series that also includes a Frightened Grasshopper and the Happy Hopping Frog.

The deluxe Tree of Knowledge Solar Power Science Kit offers about 150 experiments by building a solar generator, motor, water heater and more.

Under $50.00

soladynelantern.jpgThe Wagan Lantern is great for camping, mountaineering or emergencies. Charge in 30 - 35 hours by the sun or 15-20 hours with a 12 volt DC attachment in your cigarette lighter. Its handle, cell and lantern all rotate to get maximum exposure. SolaDyne's Table Top LED Lantern can also be hand cranked and has a foldaway hook for hanging.

solarflag.jpgIf you know someone who put up a flag after 9/11 and never took it down, then he/she would love Annin's Flag Pole Solar Light that is easy to install and comes with batteries. With the Moonrays 2-Sided Address Light, everyone will be able to find your home during the holidays. It comes with a stake or can be wall mounted. Giving up to 10 hours of light, numbers and directional letters are included in the package.

solarfairy.jpgEven if the Fairy is asleep, the solar globe shines with a calming green light for at least 4 hours. Who couldn't love Echo Valley's 10.5" tall Lawn Gnome with rainproof solar panels that, after charging, provides light for 4 to 6 hours.

Do it Best Imports' Tier Light 6 Pack with 2 NiCad rechargeable batteries has a clear globes, white LEDs and black finishes. Each automatically recharges during the day and turns on at dusk.

Under $20.00.

solardummies.jpgKnow someone who wants to go solar but hasn't a clue? Get them "Solar Power Your Home for Dummies" . It has information on choosing and installing a system, various projects, tax rebates and incentives and how to avoid problems while doing any of the above.

solarnet.jpgShow up your neighbors by adorning your house with a string of 50 Christmas White Lights that are 23 ft. in length and turn on automatically. Decorate with a 50 bulb Net that stretches to 45 x 36".

hummingwindchime.jpgInstead of regular wind chimes, surprise someone with Hummingbirds that light up the night. The 22 x 6 x 6" chimes are made of polyresin and include mounting bracket. Tomy's Cardinal Breezy Singer is powered by its hut

Under $10.00

The Poof Slinky Solar Energy Lab features a collector, heater, focusing lens and thermometer and offers over 25 experiments.

Solar Beads change color more than 5,000 times and can be used over and over. They come with project and experiment booklet. The Solar World Electricity Kit comes with cell array, motor, wind propeller, optical illusions and instruction manual is a fine start to anyone who wants to understand how solar power works.

greenflashlight.jpgThe Frost 50 LED Lamp Set can be used indoors or outdoors illuminates up to 8 hours from a full day's charge. Sylvania's LED Flashlight can be clipped on a car's visor or belt for those unexpected power outages as can the 'Green' Flashlight with 5 super-bright LEDs and built-in compass.

Give Yourself

Although solar gifts are great, there are other gifts that we included that are related. These fall under the donation heading, because part of saving the planet is saving those on it.

leperitzebra.jpgThe African Wildlife Foundation is trying to save elephants, mountain gorillas and other endangered species. Twenty five dollars will adopt an animal in need while a donation of $75.00 can save an entire animal family. The same is true of the National Wildlife Federation as they are dedicated to saving endangered species and their habitats. You can even become a certified Wildlife Garden by providing food and water, and places for cover and raising their young in your own back yard. A
$20.00 application fee will get you a personalized certificate that recognizes your NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat as well as other benefits.

Sierra_club_logo.JPGThe Sierra Club has been around since the 60's. During that time it has striven to protect the environment and preserve wilderness through various campaigns. A gift to them would be a gift for your children. The National Parks Conservation Association protects parks and the wildlife that lives in them, as well as promoting new ones.

globalvillage.jpgIf you want to help out your local community, think about donating to a neighborhood animal shelter or go out during the holidays and volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter. Food is always welcome at co-ops, especially if you grew it yourself and have excess, and Habitat for Humanity can always use your time and would love to welcome you on a Global Village trip, where you can help an entire community. The best gift this season is really yourself.

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November 20, 2009

Wearable MIPO Solar Charger


Carry this 3.7 x 1.7 x 0.4" Portable Charger with you during the day and you will get a charged cell phone or MP3 player in about 2 hours from its built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery. The aluminum device comes with a universal cell phone charging cable, a USB cell phone tip, USB cord and AC adapter, in case you want to hurry the process a bit.

Via MIPO Portable Charger

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Site O' the Week: Planetary Society


The Planetary Society has planned to send the LightSail-1 into space next year. With mylar wings, it is completely controlled by solar sails. The non-profit company claims that it is the first in a 3 part series to prove to the planet that solar sailing for science is a good thing. While the first will be launched in Earth's orbit, LightSail-2 and-3 will be hurled further into space.

Unfortunately, the org lost Cosmos 1, their first sail, but not only did they not admit defeat, they are counting on others to help design and support their next one. That's reason enough for us to name them our SOW this week.

Via Planetary Society

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November 19, 2009

Mobile Script Cell Phone Concept


The Mobile Script is industrial designer Aleksander Mukomelov's vision of a better phone. With two touchscreens, a small rigid one and a softer OLED display, the phone needs no charge as it is encased in a nano-material that provides solar energy for its battery. The phone has a recharge meter to let you know when it is time to get back under that sun.

Via Industrial Design Served

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Mars Builds Solar Garden


Mars Chocolate is now the proud owner of a 2MW solar garden at its headquarters in New Jersey. More than 28,000 panels on the ground across 18 acres will provide up to 20% of the company's power. Built and owned by PSEG Solar Source, a local subsidiary of utility PSEG, the garden is located on Mars' property.

Via Mars

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November 18, 2009

GreenTow Trailer Creates Mobile Power


Need power on the fly? GreenTow Trailers provide mobile power where it's needed most. Take it to a remote mountain cabin, on an excavation or use when power has been lost during an emergency. The solar panels can be adjusted with a switch and can turn to get the most sunshine per buck. Onboard batteries store the energy for those cloudy days. Included is a Kubota generator and current conversion inverter. Contact GreenTow for more details.

Via Green Tow

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Tiny, Tiny Solar Car


InPro Solar claims that this is the smallest Solar Car on the planet. At a size of only 33 x 22 x 14 mm, no assembly is required. The tiny vehicle runs with sunshine or a strong artificial light as its power source.

Via InPro Solar Car

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November 17, 2009

Sun Drive Keychain - Small Size, Big Charge


The ZyRUS Sun Drive keychain may be tiny, but the USB charger can provide up to 35 hours of power for portable devices or 100 hours of talk time on a cell phone. Available in 2, 4, 8 and 16GB sizes, the gadget comes in black or white. Prices start at $23.00.


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Sulfurcell Opens Solar Office


Germany's Sulfurcell, makers of solar modules, practices what it preaches. Their office building is fully sustainable with solar façade cassettes. About 900 of them generate a third of the power, while the rest comes from a roof-mounted solar array. The cassettes are installed on substrates, making them easier to be placed on uneven surfaces. They can regulate the temperature of their solar modulars and have drainage channels to release rainwater to prevent the thermal insulation from getting wet.

Via Sulfurcell

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November 16, 2009

OTELP Trains Indian Solar Engineers


Because many remote areas in India must rely on firewood, kerosene or diesel fuel, the Orissa Tribal Empowerment & Livelihoods Programme has been training women and youths to teach others how to construct and utilize solar cells and lanterns. Funded by the UK's Department for International Development, four of the "barefoot engineers" in Orissa have been contracted to build 3,000 solar lanterns and train others in the area to help.

Via Guardian

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MIA to Produce DSSC Bags and Knapsacks


Mascotte Industrial Associates of Hong Kong will be releasing a series of bags that have DSSC (Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells) to store up enough juice for your small electronics. A 15 x 20cm panel can take up to 12 hours on a cloudy day but will give a cell phone 4-5 hours of power. The designer bags and knapsacks will be priced between $100.00 - $300.00.

Via Tree Hugger

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November 13, 2009

Solio Hybrid Universal Charger


Solar chargers are even better when they are universal, like this one that works with MP3 players, PDAs, portable gaming systems, GPS units, cell phones and digital cameras. The Solio Hybrid Charger can reach a full charge in 4 hours by AC or, after spreading its blades, by solar power in 8 - 10 hours. It will charge your electronics directly from the sun, as an hour of sun provides 50 minutes of tunes or 10 of talk time. The Solio even stores its power for about a year. Such a deal.

Via Solio Chargers

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Site O' The Week: Power Up Through the Sahara Desert


Twelve companies have teamed to create DESERTEC, an ambitious consortium that will hopefully provide 15% of electricity to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa by 2050. Power lines running through the Sahara Desert should deliver the first of the solar power by 2015. The project wants help to make the dream become a reality and to this end, we proclaim it our SOW and encourage you to join the team any way you can.


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November 12, 2009

FLABEG Opens Solar Plant in PA


FLABEG, makers of glass and mirrors, recently opened its new plant located near Pittsburgh International Airport. They will be constructing parabolic mirrors that will become available beginning next year. The plan is to produce 120 mirrors per hour. That equals out to 600,000 of them per year. Future plans include building solar dishes.


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Connecticut Opens LEED-Certified Science Center


Connecticut recently opened the doors to its Connecticut Science Center designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. The center consists of a parallelogram shaped tower, a narrow glass building and an S-shaped roof. LEED-certified, 95% of the steel used to build it comes from recycled cars. PV panels and a fuel cell provide nearly 2/3 of its power. With a 3D digital theater, 4 labs, 150 hands-on exhibits and programs and events, the center will cater to science buffs of all ages.

Via Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

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November 11, 2009

Solar Power Case for Small Electronics


Chinagrabber's Solar Power Case has a 2500mAh capacity integrated battery for charging phones, MP3 players or other small electronics. At a size of 136 x 93 x 35mm, the blue cover is designed for travel. After a full charge of 60 minutes, you can get about 100 minutes of talk time while charging at the same time. The case includes a USB connection and AC charger at a cost of $32.99.

Via Chinagrabber

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Solar People Mover Designed for Italy


Iosa Ghini Associati, an Italian design team, has designed a people mover for the city of Bologna. At a total length of 5084 meters, the monorail and two terminals, one at the airport and one at the main train station, feature photovoltaic panels on the southwest side. The station roofs are angled to house the solar system without taking away from its general design. Plants are incorporated both around the exterior and along its walls.

Via Design Boom

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November 10, 2009

Samsung Blue Earth Incorporates Solar Charger


Samsung has released the Blue Earth, an HSDPA loaded handset with an integrated solar charger. In addition, it has a 3" touchscreen, WiFi, GPS and a 3 megapixel cam. You will have to be on the other side of the pond to get one for now as it launched in Sweden with other European and Asian countries to follow.

Via Engadget Mobile

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China to Build First People's Hospital


In 2007, China held a design competition for a 200,000 sq. m hospital. The winners were China's Shunde Architectural Design Institute and America's HMC Architect. The plan is to produce a new healthcare facility in Fohan, China. The First People's Hospital will provide services for up to 1,500 resident patients and 6,000 outpatients. Included in the plan are "healing gardens"and a roof with photovoltaic panels for generating energy. Non-toxic paint will limit contaminants while natural ventilation and lighting will help reduce energy demands.

Via World Architecture News

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November 9, 2009

ESA Launches Satellites With Experimental Solar Panel


Last week, the ESA (European Space Agency) launched two satellites from Northern Russia. The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) will be used for forecasting water content while the second, the Proba-2, will be used to explore solar cycles and space weather. While it is doing so, it will be testing a new ion-lithium battery, power management system, dual-frequency receiver, GPS, a micro camera and an experimental solar panel. We love progress and admire the ESA for taking a next step.


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Al Gore Gives Us "Our Choice"


Those who keep tabs on Al Gore are surely aware of his lifetime effort to save our planet. "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis" is his latest. The 416 page book illustrates the most effective solutions now and hopes to inspire us all to take action both singularly and collectively in the future. There is a Young Reader Edition so that your kids can get with the program as well. All proceeds from sales go to the Alliance for Climate Protection.

Via Al Gore's "Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis"

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November 6, 2009

Stay Safe With Security Sensor


Not only is the Security Sensor an LED light, it also has a built-in motion sensor. Use it in the front of your home for extra lighting during dark nights or in the back yard to thwart those burglars. It can also be easily installed inside and mounted on a house, pole or roof. The kit comes with detachable solar panel, 16 ft. cord and a 3.6V 800 maH Ni-MH battery good for up to 3 years.

Via Security Sensor

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Site O' the Week: EarthShare


EarthShare was founded in 1988 and its purpose is to provide ways of connecting with environmental nonprofits. It educates, suggests tips for saving energy and provides links with even more information. One gift helps out more than 400 different charities. For that reason we have selected them as our SOW. Sign up with them to get tips, news and contest information.

Via Earth Share

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November 5, 2009

PSG Aesthetically Adds Power


ZE Design's PSG (Personal Solar Generator) is meant to be added to your existing electrical system. With a simple plug-and-play installation, use one or several to create a modular system on your roof, outer wall, shed or garage.

Via ZE Design

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Tokai Challenger Wins Global Green Challenge


The Japanese Tokai Challenger won the Australian Global Green Challenge race last week. The solar vehicle had the lead in the 3,000k race from the beginning and kept it even though they had a flat along the way. This is the first time since 1993 that the team has won the event. While the Challenger maintained a maximum speed of 150km per hour to earn the win, a Tesla managed to set a world record by going 501 kilometres (313 miles) on a single charge.

Via Global Green Challenge

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November 4, 2009

Track Talk for Emergencies


The solar Track Talk, designed by Brazilian Renata Veiga, uses a UHF frequency for communicating an emergency and also has a digital compass and LED flashlight. Clip it to your belt or backpack and a full charge will give you 16 talk time or 8 hrs. of light. Its polycarbonate shell is covered with TPE to keep it shock and waterproof.

Via Renata Veiga

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Aerial Cable Car Powered by the Sun


Your kids will love this solar powered Aerial Cable Car. At a size of 8.5 x 6.5 x 1.5", it has simple instructions and will run as long as it's a relatively sunny day. The 30 piece kit includes the car, cable, automatic round trip stoppers and a mini-solar panel.

Via Aerial Cable Car

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November 3, 2009

Taipei Pop Music Center Solar Bulletin Board


This prototype for the Taipei Pop Music Center by Nabito Architects would epitomize the very art it represents. With LED panels and photovoltaic panels, it uses the sun to display images, news weathers, ads and new event trailers. Controlled by a computer, the outside projection can alter depending on what is going on inside.

Via Nabito Architects

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SEIA Calls For Solar Bill of Rights


Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), spoke at the General Session of Solar Power International 2009 last week and called for a solar bill of rights. Included in his speech are these rights:

  • to install solar power.
  • to connect solar energy systems to the main grid with uniform national standards.
  • to feed in taxes and payments of at least the retail value for any electricity
  • exported to the main grid.
  • Equal access to public lands.
  • to interconnect and build new transmission lines.
  • for consumers to buy solar electricity from their electricity company.
Read Resch's full speech via the link below.


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November 2, 2009

Le Kuklos Revolves With Solar Power


The "Le Kuklos" revolving restaurant in Leysin, Switzerland was recently fitted with 10 solar panels to keep it revolving those 360º in 1.5 hours. At a height of 2048m, the building has room for 250 customers at a time and offers views of Lake Geneva, the Rhone Valley and Mont Blanc. A vertical axis windmill will also be constructed, making the restaurant the first in the area powered by renewable energy.

Via On the Snow

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Kiran - Solar Light For Only $10.00


d.light Design came up with a solar lantern that will only cost about $10.00. Designed for those in developing countries without access to power, the company used hundreds of hours testing the Kiran in rural India. The lamp can be carried, hung or left on any surface and has 9 different settings. After a day's solar charging (or 4 hours of AC,) it will provide up to 6 hours of bright light from its LEDs.

Via d.light design

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