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

From Wall-E to Black Mirror, Far Cry and more – you’ll not be able to unsee what we have for you.


Written by Sowdamini Pogaru | Feb 4, 2018

While you are still getting over the dark twists and turns in your favourite movies and tv shows, we are going to throw sun…light on instances of solar panels you definitely missed across popular tv shows, movies, and games. Granted some of them were quite obvious, but most hide in plain sight.

After reading what we have here, you’ll never look at your faves the same way again. 

Wall-E (2008) • Movie • Fantasy, Science Fiction

Do you remember how the cute waste-collecting robot powers ‘himself’ in the dystopian version of the Earth? Oh, yes. Wall-E uses super-high-efficiency solar panels that unfold and recharge ‘his’ batteries. It was this solar panel regeneration unit that made it possible for ‘him’ to clean up garbage, embark on adventures with Eve and..forever melt our hearts.


Solar Panel Regeneration unit in ‘Wall-E’, 2008

Black Mirror (2011 – present• TV Show • Anthology, Thriller

Set around a unique rendition of our world and humanity, Black Mirror has gained a cult following. In their episode “Men Against Fire” (S03, E05) we see the ‘refugees’ seeking shelter inside a rundown building, using electricity from the solar panels. This particular depiction throws light on the grim life of refugees in the real world.

drone view of solar panels

Solar Panels in ‘Men Against Fire’, Black Mirror, 2016

Another reference you probably missed (We don’t blame you, this show is intense!) was in its fourth season finale, Black Museum. We see a British girl who pulls out solar panels from her vehicle’s trunk, unfolds them and plugs it in to charge her car. We imagine this is Elon Musk’s favourite episode from the show. Ah, maybe we can ask him to do a Black Mirror meme review? 

Solar Panels in ‘Black Museum’, Black Mirror, 2017

A Quiet Place (2018) • Movie • Horror, Thriller

In a world where people need to be quiet to survive, using solar panels is the no-noise, self-sustaining means to using electricity. We notice this in a scene where when Jim..(sorry)..Lee (played by John Krasinski) is doing some work in the backyard.

Hmm, we see a pattern: dystopian stories and solar panels seem to go hand-in-hand.

Hmm. We find that chilling yet fulfilling.

solar panels in backdrop a quiet place

Solar Panels atop a house in ‘A Quiet Place’, 2018

Gravity (2013) • Movie • Mystery, Space

The International Space Station (ISS), one of the key plot points in the movie, is powered by massive arrays of solar panels. We see the characters played by Clooney and Sandra Bullock doing everything they can to stay alive. Though, practically, it would be super difficult to be as centered while being lost in space, the usage of solar panels on the ISS is a realistic depiction of our world.

solar panels in distance gravity
close up solar panels

Stills showing the solar arrays in ‘Gravity’, 2013

Marvel’s Spiderman on PS4 (2018) • Game • Console

Talking about  solar panels in popular culture, how can we not comment on the massive number of solar panels showcased in one of the best games of last year. Set in Manhattan, the open world of Marvel’s Spider-Man has Spidey leaping off building rooftops to complete story missions, side quests, and research. We get a glimpse of solar panels in multiple places and instances throughout the gameplay.

Marvel’s ‘Spiderman’ game on PS4, showing solar panels on rooftops, 2018

Titanfall 2 (2016) • Game • PC, Console

Illuminating the way for solar appearances in video games, we spot panels on the maps of Titanfall 2, whose design artists have admitted to adding solar panels to amp up its rooftop gameplay.


Solar panels in ‘Titanfall 2’, 2016

Hitman (2016) • Game • PC, Console

In the rebooted Hitman series, where you can interact with almost everything in the environment to play and execute assassinations, solar panels make a frequent appearance while you silently move through rooftops. Maybe when you play as Agent 47, you should think of less brutal ways to eliminate targets that use solar power. Consider this as mercy points for eco-friendly behaviour?

agent standing on rooftop with gun

Agent 47 “blending in” with solar panels in Hitman, 2016

Hitman 2 (2018) • Game • PC, Console

Hitman’s newest release, the sequel to its 2016 release, has become a cult hit because of the methodical and creative assassinations that serve as a benchmark for the stealth action genre. This can be viewed with layers where the player is encouraged to utilise as much as of one’s community-driven game space –  including solar panels on building rooftops along with subtly designed tools. 

Agent 47 moving alongside solar panels in Hitman 2, 2018

Battlefield 4 (2013) • Game • PC, Console

This sequel to Battlefield 3 which instantly became one of the biggest games ever, Battlefield 4’s standout action comes in large-scale conflicts in well-designed maps with buildings that have stairs, elevators and…solar panels! In a fast-paced war-based gameplay such as this, it’s heartwarming to see the creative use of solar elements in the map.

fps gun pointed at solar panel

Solar panels visible in ‘Battlefield 4’s’ (2013) game environment

Far Cry 5 (2018) • Game • PC, Console

We all love a straight-cut object-oriented game, and it’s no wonder why Far Cry 5 makes it to this list! On a quest to find objects of interest in the field, the players hurdle around crops, hay barrels, and even encounter towers equipped with solar panels. A series known for being morally ambiguous, Far Cry 5 wasn’t received very well. But, this one will survive the test of time in our hearts for its inclusion of solar panels in the game’s post-apocalyptic environment.

solar panel in tower far cry

Solar panels atop a tower in ‘Far Cry 5’, 2018

Asphalt 9: Legends (2018) • Game • Mobile, PC

Moving on from solar panels on the bigger screen, Asphalt 9, the popular fast-paced mobile car-racing game has solar panelled skyscrapers that the cars can jump off. While this is a surrealistic portrayal of the strength of solar panels, it is safe to say that you shouldn’t try this in real life.

ashphalt gameplay

Solar panelled skyscrapers in ‘Asphalt 9: Legends’, 2018

Race The Sun (1996) • Movie • Comedy, Adaptation

This is where all this began. Rewinding to the 1990s, a Hollywood motion starring Halle Berry and Casey Affleck, which many of us have not probably seen, called Race The Sun, brought the concept of solar panels to the big screens. A bunch of high school misfits draw up inspiration to build their own car which uses sunlight as an alternative energy source.

cinematic poster solar vehicle

Solar powered car in ‘Race The Sun’, 1996

With a tagline “A dream can make all the difference under the sun”, the movie put a slow yet definite domino effect in motion. Since then we’ve seen the mention of solar energy in multiple mainstream references.

Is there a Part 2? Yes. We need your help though.

While we work on bringing more such solar instances to light, by embarking on this detail-oriented yet fun-driven journey, we’d love to hear from you.

Which movie, tv show, game, comic book or music video did you happen to spot solar panels in? Are they worth a mention? Drop us a WhatsApp on 9742454443 and let us know. We’ll be sure to include that in the sequel to this article.

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