Skyscraper Gets Covered In 7000 Solar Panels

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The facade of this Manchester skyscraper (owned by CIS, an insurance company) was original covered with small mosaic tiles, but after only six months, they began to detach and fall. A solution was needed, and a company called solarcentury came up with a clever idea replacing the failing tiles with solar cells.


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Not only do the solar cells provide a weatherproof barrier, they also generate about 390kW of power for the building. In total, 7,244 Sharp 80W modules are used to cover the entire service tower (but apparently only 4898 of these modules are “live” the others are “dummy modules” — strange). The building also has 24 wind turbines on the roof, which provide 10% of the total power used by the building.

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The £5.5 million ($10.1 million) solar project was supported by a £885,000 (US$1.64 million) grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and a £175,000 (US$ 324,435) grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.

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Link: CIS Solar Tower

Comments

  1. says

    If I had to guess I would say that the lower few thousand modules are dummy as they would be least likely to get sunlight and considering the cost of solar panels would not be worth it.

  2. says

    The portions of the building that for most of the day (or all of the day) would be in shade due to the facing direction or shadows from nearby buildings likely aren’t active – these cells would be only cause a higher level of resistance in the circuit and make the whole system less efficient.

    A very cool idea. If all the tall skyscrapers put solar cells and wind turbines on top, our cities would be much better off.

  3. solarfreeloader says

    at a glance, i expect this system is a grid tie system (offsetting thier own supply)
    a whole building wont be able to work from this alone. there is around 48 computers per floor thats without heat/light coolers/coffee machines. you know what im getting at. so in summer (with high winds) they could offset a lot of power costing them less per month . i work in a building the size of a small mansion, and the electric is £900 a month for us (really trying) so i expect they will be around the 550kwph -£17000-£22000 a month EASY so in some way, who knows? they got some air time for it for trying and what they don’t use is making your bru nice and hot

  4. Anonymous says

    a whole building could absolutely work on sustainable energy and be completely “off grid”. not all floors NEED to have 48 computers. not all floors need to have heat or full lighting, especially if the way the building is constructed takes advantage of natural lighting and heat. coffee machines are by no need a necessity.

    given prudent power consumption mentality, efficient alternative energy sources, and strong architectural and engineering design implementation, any building being 100% self sustaining is a definite possibility.

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