The house with butterfly wings


It's called Solar Butterfly - because it can look like a large butterfly that feeds on the sunlight. In reality, it is a solar-powered self-sufficient mobile home that will be the ambassador of a sustainable way of living, on the tour that the Swiss activist Louis Palmer is organising to visit 90 countries around the world. During the tour, over 1,000 green solutions and projects will be given visibility, to stimulate the transition towards a sustainable way of life.

The idea of the Solar Butterfly comes from an analogy with our current condition, explains Palmer: “A butterfly begins its life as a caterpillar. Quite an ugly animal. This is us, our society: we are consuming everything on earth, such as oil, coal and gas. But the caterpillar can do the unthinkable, it can transform itself into something beautiful, which becomes independent of the ground. What the caterpillar can do, we humans can do too."

Up to 300 km of autonomy for 6 people

The Solar Butterfly is still under construction and will be ready for the tour to start in May 2022. It was designed by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. It is ten meters long, 2.15 meters wide and 2.85 meters high, and can accommodate 6 people. It was built with materials resulting from technological research.

For example, the construction of the structure and wings is made with waste plastic collected at sea and transformed. Opening the wings on the roof allows for 120 square meters of solar panels and a cell efficiency of 24%. The Solar Butterfly will thus be able to produce up to 170 kWh of solar energy, guaranteeing a travel range of up to 300 km per day.

We are looking for volunteer volunteers

Palmer won't be alone on the world tour. “We are looking for people who want to join us on our tour in Switzerland, Europe or different continents. If anyone has at least 4 weeks to participate please let us know. I will follow the tour in Switzerland and part of Europe. I leave the trip to motivated people who are looking for an unforgettable experience. There are many people out there who are brave, skilled and highly motivated." The address to join is

The stages

The program envisages touching the 26 Swiss cantons from 23 May to 13 June 2022, then continuing until 12 October crossing 34 European countries.

In 2023 Solar Butterfly will move to the Americas, in 2024 it will touch Australia and Asia and in 2025 it will go up to Africa to conclude its tour in Paris on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Climate Conference which was hosted in the French capital.

The adventure of 15 years ago

Palmer is not new to such initiatives. He was the first person to travel the world, 15 years ago, in a solar-powered vehicle. In July 2007, Palmer left Lucerne in a solar-powered taxi and crossed four continents, covering more than 52,000 kilometres. The trip ended in December 2008 in Poznan, a Polish city which at the time was hosting the fourteenth UN climate conference.

It's not an exception

The Solar Butterfly is not the only example of a mobile home powered by solar energy. In October 2021, the European tour of the Stella Vita electric camper, designed by a team of 22 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, ended. Departing from the Dutch city, they arrived in Tarifa, Spain, after traveling 3,000 km without ever having to refuel. The energy was all generated by the 8.8 square meter roof covered with photovoltaic panels (surface area which doubles when parked).

The choice of sustainable living and travel solutions is therefore finding suitable technological proposals and the interest of public opinion, also thanks to similar initiatives, is increasingly growing.