Rain Sheds Light

Could rainfall produce light? We explored the possibility of transforming the energy of rainwater into electricity for light.


Rain Sheds Light one of the earliest projects to take place at Northlight Mil and was a collaboration between Kerry Morrison and Paul Fyles who was the mill’s site manager at the time. The project was born from a conversation about the possibilities of harnessing the huge amounts of rain water that comes off the mill. We had experienced flooding nationally during the summer of 2015 and so it became an appropriate moment to recognise the power of that water.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

First Installation

The first installation of Rain Sheds Light was a rain water, light generating wheel. Constructed with materials found in and around the mill, the wheel was installed on the bridge where rainwater was channeled to make it turn. The turning wheel created energy to charge 12V leisure batteries and the batteries were used to power the light installation which was also created from materials that were found on site – even the bulbs.


The water wheel generated a lot of interest from the mill’s developers and was part of our first event in the mill, Unlocked. It therefore became an excellent way to demonstrate what social arts practice can look like and engage people in conversation about what In-Situ do.

Rain Sheds Light is a low carbon artwork, generating zero carbon power.

we live in insecure financial climates
low rates of growth
turbulent weather conditions
economic and environmental unrest
natural disasters and economic crisis’ flood our screens
disused buildings stand empty
rain sheds light
harnesses an empty building and changes in climate
to use what we have in abundance: creative energy and rain
generating electricity to power up culture

Second Installation

Following the success of the water wheel, the Rain Sheds Light project progressed onto a second version. This time rainwater was collected in tanks, run through a turbine and a more intricate system which came down the clock tower. While this second version may have appeared aesthetically less exciting, it was much more efficient and could generate power to charge batteries more effectively. The batteries it charged were even used to run lights up the tower to the clock as part of Ringing in the Good News.

Rain Sheds Light was supported by Momentum and Arts Council England Grants for the Arts.

Share This Articles