The power of the sun is one of our planets best ways to reverse human-kinds ill effects on the climate, as it is the most abundant renewable energy source available to us. With the emergence of the green revolution, many architects and designers have started to incorporate solar technology into their new building projects to create net-zero buildings, and solar power plays a huge roll in making it possible. We have searched the world for the coolest structures that heavily rely on solar panels for power. From the Vatican to the west coast United States, the world is going solar in big ways!
Sanyo’s Solar Ark
This super impressive sculpture located in Gifu Japan, kicks off around 500,000 kW of energy per year with over 5,000 solar panels. This building is one of the worlds best example of a building integrated with PV design. One of the coolest things about this building is the materials that it is made out of. The monocrystalline modules are used were factory recalls that were headed to the dump before they decided to build this structure. The outside of the building boasts an impressive 75000 colored LED’S that can creat images and messages that scroll across the building.
The building marks the companies 50th anniversary, and will serve as a museum for solar technology. With Sanyo being one of the world’s largest distributors of
China’s Solar Powered Office Complex
In the past 10 years China has begun to get into the solar market in a big way, from manufacturing to building solar powered green structures. I’m actually kind of proud of China, it seems like they are actually making a effort to go green, even if its just for monetary concerns I’m still down for the cause. China has created this monstrosity of solar powered goodness in Dezhou, which is located in northwest China in the Shangdong Province. It is the largest solar powered office structure in the world that I know of, it is a massive 75,000 square feet of office space, and it looks super rad too!
It contains exhibition centers, scientific research facilities, a hotel and tons of offices… all of which get their power from the star in the sky. Pretty cool stuff from the Chinese.
EnviroMission’s Solar Towers
Being a Arizonan, this one peaked my interest immediately as it would be a huge solar project in my proverbial backyard. Even though energy is pretty cheap here in AZ, we still have tons of sun and any closer we can get to not blowing shit up for energy (there are 2 nuclear plants near Phoenix) I’m all for it. This being a concept, we will see if it ever gets completed.
These solar towers aren’t necessarily cutting edge technology, they have been around since the 1980’s, but EnviroMission, a Austrailian company is aming big with this project. The plan is proposed to have two solar updraft towers that pan 2400ft solar towers that would have panels that span hundreds of acres in La Paz county, Arizona. They would harness energy using solar draft technology, which works by using hot air that is sent up through the chimney structure that turns a turbine. The coolest part is it won’t need water to work, which is pivotal for success in states such as AZ, and hopefully CA can get on this bandwagon soon.
I’m rooting for this one big time!
For all you engineeers – this post explains more of the technical stuff about the project: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/06/update-on-enviromissions-arizona-solar-tower-project/
National Stadium – Taiwan’s Solar Powered Stadium in Taiwan
This has got to be one of the coolest stadiums in the world. First of all, it looks like a Dragon, so add a few points. Secondly, and more importantly, it is almost a net-zero structure receiving most of its energy from the sun. It holds 55,000 spectators and cost a cool 150$ million to build. Another cool solar structure from the Chinese.
This egg is seriously cool. Symbolizing the beginning and ending of life, this structure that is commissioned to be built in Mumbai is a great example of what is possible with net zero structures. Designed by James Law Cybertecture International and Ove Arup. It is an office building that has over 33,000 sq m of space in 13 stories of wonder. In the basement there is room ofr 400 car parking spaces. A really cool design feature that was created with this unique design is the the shell is able to support floor plates making columns non-necessary to support the weight of the floor. The design is a trip to look at yes, but it is also extremely functional taking only 80% of the normal area that a building this size would cover with a conventional sky scraper. The Cybertecture egg uses solar pv panels and website to generate electricity onsite, with grey water systems that conserve water for irrigation and landscaping.
New buildings with solar are being built all the time, and many conventional structures are being converted into green buildings with the use of new solar technology. This is a trend that will continue as the price of solar panels continues to drop.
Whats your favorite solar design in the world? Leave a comment and I will add it to the list!