Norway Opera's Showy Solar Shell


Norway, a nation made wealthy by North Sea oil, has also become a nation with a love-hate relationship with renewable energy development. The country has some of the best wind resources in all of Europe, but nearly no new wind turbines are being erected there because of an extremely stingy support system. Norway's largest private company, Renewable Energy Corp., is a solar powerhouse - the biggest manufacturer of wafers for solar applications globally and one of the largest producers of solar cells.

But there's not much market for REC's products at home in Norway due to lack of any homegrown support structure for solar installations. And as talks in Bali start up, Norway's leading paper reveals the soaring CO2 emissions at the new Melkøya gas plant, ironically called "Snow White". Norway will have to rely on buying carbon offsets if it truly wants to meet Kyoto emissions reductions goals. And perhaps to keep up appearances: its New Opera building now under construction in Oslo isn't particularly a green-building marvel, but it does include 300 square meters of solar panels embedded in the blue-green glass enclosing the south wall of the building. The Opera is designed by architectural firm Snøhetta. The new solar installation is Norway's largest, to generate 20,000 kWh of electricity each year. It was subsidized by a grant from the EU's Eco-Culture project for energy-efficient cultural buildings. Unfortunately, right now the solar panels are also being upstaged by problems at Opera's construction site, including prematurely yellowing roof tiles and a minor building flood. Should've built a solar roof! Via ::Arkitektur (in Norwegian)