13 More Blink-And-You-Will-Miss-It Instances of Solar Panels in Popular Culture

From The Martian to Lost In Space, Fortnite and more – brb, heading back-to-binge.


Written by Sowdamini Pogaru | Feb 13, 2018

Yaaaaas, you read that right. We are back with more solar references that you may have missed in popular culture. The existence of solar panels has not only brightened communities in real-life but has also lighted up reel-life settings. By the way, if you’ve haven’t read part 1 of this story yet, go there by clicking here.

Guess you will have to watch and play these all over again! No regrets.

Ender’s Game (2013) • Movie • Military, Science Fiction

Remember the star-studded movie Ender’s Game with Harrison Ford and Viola Davis? We see ‘launchies’ (the inter-cosmic name for students) battling on the grounds that have hundreds of solar photovoltaic arrays.

We certainly think it’s a cool place *LITERALLY* to showcase solar panels.

Solar panels at into space launchpad scene in ‘Ender’s Game’, 2018

The Martian (2015) • Movie • Fantasy, Survival

The characters utilise solar panels to power research labs on Mars. Later in the movie, we see the character played by Matt Damon clean the solar panels for maintenance and take it around on journeys, powering his rover and surviving alone on the red planet.

matt damon solar panels
solar panels on Mars surface

Solar panels were a pivotal part of the story in ‘The Martian’, 2015

Interstellar (2014) • Movie • Space, Mystery

In a future where humanity is struggling to survive, Matthew McConaughey’s character spots a drone drifting in the sky. On chasing and tagging it, we hear him say, ‘Indian air force surveillance drone. Solar cells could power an entire farm’.

That’s some truly out-of-the-world writing, right here.

The drone scene with splendid background score from Hans Zimmer, ‘Interstellar’, 2014

Lost In Space (2018 – present) • TV Show • Adventure, Fiction

Finding its way through different screen sizes, solar panels are seen in the recent adventure Netflix series, Lost In Space. The characters rely on solar panels that power the vehicles to travel around the unknown planet that they are stuck on. With no other resource in sight, solar is their might

Hmm, we see another pattern: stories in space and solar panels seem to have a strong connection.

Hmm. That’s the kind of place we’ve all grown to love.

solar powered space vehicle

Vehicle powered by solar panels in ‘Lost In Space’, 2018

The Secret Life of Pets (2016) • Movie • Adventure, Comedy

Not just in futuristic sci-fi movies but even in animated features like The Secret Life of Pets, if you were to pay closer attention to the backdrop in some scenes on the Manhattan rooftop, you’ll be able to clearly spot some solar panels.

Well, we understand that the cute little fur balls were too distracting, and that’s why we create content like this, for you. *feeling proud of ourselves for getting you the most important information 😛*

animated solar rooftop

Solar panels on an apartment’s roof, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, 2016

Gattaca (1997) • Movie • Fantasy, Science Fiction

A futuristic movie from the late ‘90s, Gattaca depicts a less-than-perfect man who wants to travel to the stars. In this scene from the movie, what you might assume to be CGI are massive solar power plant mirrors. In fact, the sequence was filmed at the Kramer Junction Solar Electric Generating Station.

Actual solar panels make its way in a not-so-popular movie, ‘Gattaca’, 1997

Much like the instances in the first part of this story, solar panels are not limited to just movies and TV shows. Game developers have gone the extra mile to glorify it in their environments.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) • Game • PC, Console

Calling all CoD fans to recognise the clip below! What you see here are the Vista Solar Panel Warehouses in Advanced Warfare. The creators have admitted to curating sustainable game sets of solar towers to give an authentic experience to the players. 

solar panels in a game far away

Solar warehouse in ‘Advanced Warfare’, 2014

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (2016) • Game • PC, Console

Extending its authentic in-game architecture, Infinite Warfare showcases glass-like solar panels which not only add texture to the gameplay but provide a sneak-peek into how the future would be like. Now, who would not want to peek-a-view?

Despite the game not being received too well, we love it for this particular showcase.

glass solar panels on roof

Steam: 6/10, Solarify: 9/10 – ‘Infinite Warfare’, 2016

Fortnite (2017) • Game • PC, Mac, Console, Mobile

Fortnite which is designed to be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, and Mac (lol, ok) and even mobiles, is wildly popular for its last-player-standing mode where gamers use all their creativity and finesse to survive. While players get killed left-right-centre, solar panels stand the test of time. 

solar panels snow

Snow mounted solar panels in ‘Fortnite’, 2016

Grand Theft Auto 5 (2013) • Game • PC, Console

In the wildly popular video game, set in a fictitious rendition of Southern California, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 5 has hidden missions with solar-panelled rooftops. Solar panels are tough, but enough so for cars to glide through? Now, that’s the kind of game we dig!

car leaping off solar panels

Car leaping off solar panels in ‘GTA 5’, 2013

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (2017) • Game • PC, Console

A game series that has been around since 2001, the players in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon are in charge of a squad of U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers. While the realism of the game (like most other Ubisoft offerings) gets mixed reviews, the true-to-life visuals of little details like swaying pine trees, camouflage exteriors and …. solar panels undoubtedly add value to the gaming experience. 

man shooting gun solar panel

Solar panels in the latest release of the game, ‘Ghost Recon’, 2017

Watch Dogs 2 (2016) • Game • PC, Console

In the action-adventure video game Watch Dogs 2, set in an imaginary version of the San Francisco Bay Area, you control a hacker – choosing between the moral dilemma of wreaking havoc and being a Samaritan. While leaping through the streets of the city on many-a-missions, did you spot these solar panelled roofs taking in all the heat

solar panels in distance

Solar panels in the distance during a shootout in ‘Watch Dogs 2’, 2016

Moons of Madness (2019) • Game • PC, Console

In an attempt to arouse the darkest parts of our psyche, upcoming game Moons of Madness engages players to uncover a mystery, while they explore a realistic recreation of Mars – hallucinations and all. Wait, are these solar panels for real or will we be..hallucinating?

Well, we’ll find out later this year.

solar panels through a window

A mysterious shot from the early gameplay release of ‘Moons of Madness’, 2019

Thanks to storytellers, writers, and designers across the world, solar is slowly transforming from an alternate to becoming mainstream. Popular culture, today, is at the forefront of influencing sustainable behaviour, and we are very excited about that.

It’s time to see the light at the start of a new tunnel, a better future.

Is there a Part 3? May be. It’s possible only with your help.

Phew, that got a little intense toward the end there! We need your help now. Did we miss out on any of your favourite references? 

Drop us a WhatsApp on +91-9742454443, or DM us @solarifyindia on Twitter and Instagram, to let us know.

The end?

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