images via Wikipedia and Deputy Dog
We love solar power, we really do, but sometimes wonder if these things are not used for architectural effect rather than real power generation. The new World Games stadium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan is just about completely covered in photovoltaics, to very dramatic effect. The 55,000 seat stadium is designed by Japanese great Toyo Ito, and the panels can supply "one million kilowatts of electricity per year." (I know, that makes little sense, it is a quote.)
According to the Taipei Times,
The generators will meet the stadium's power needs for lighting and air conditioning during the Games. When it is not hosting a sports event, the surplus electricity could be sold to Taiwan Power Co and net NT$5 million per year for the city government, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government's Public Works Bureau said.
According to Swiss Solar Systems,
The Japanese architect Toyo Ito planned the ultra-modern stadium in accordance with the ecological requirements of a "Green Building". 8,844 solar panels on a surface area of 14,155m2 are integrated into the roof construction of the sports facility. The unique solar roof, which emulates the form of a flowing river, can, depending on the strength of the sunshine, cover 75% of the energy needs of the stadium which can hold 55,000 spectators. On days when no competitions are taking place, the electricity generated is fed into the grid.
Pretty impressive and pretty gorgeous. Now I would have to consult with our in-house solar installer Kristen, but I thought that orientation and angle were important for the efficiency of solar panels, but these are at all kinds of different angles and orientations. I wonder how much power and efficiency that cost them. Certainly there is a tradeoff between the cost of setting up an alignment system to be at the right angle to the sun and just laying them out like shingles. It probably looks a lot better this way.