Often, when you think of solar power, you probably think about utility scale solar plants or solar power generated on a home or building. But have you heard about community solar, or what may be referred to as a solar garden? Like a community garden, solar gardens are popping up as an alternative to provide green energy to people and businesses who can’t (or won’t) generate solar power on site.
Sustainable design start-up SMIT has been working on solar and wind powered facade technology for a while under the GROW moniker. Now, the company is about to blow the lid off the solar-powered GROW with commercial availability. SMIT is using a new name and website, Solar Ivy, for the biomimicry-inspired innovation made with recyclable polyethylene leaves, Konarka Power Plastic organic photovoltaics, and a structural stainless steel mesh system.
Just a few days ago, the $41 million Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental & Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), a 55,000 square-foot building designed to LEED Platinum certification, was dedicated. The facility was built to be a living laboratory and platform to showcase technological innovation. Currently, the south facade of the laboratory wing includes a spot to test building envelope and window systems, and it's currently testing this innovative integrated concentrating dynamic solar facade.
Kroon Hall, the new home of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, has been awarded Platinum certification, according to the Office of Public Affairs of Yale University. Kroon Hall was designed to use 81% less water and 58% less energy than a comparable building, helping it receive a total of 59 LEED points. With the help of a massive and beautiful solar array, about 25% of this building's electricity should be generated on-site, too.
At IBS 2010 last week, CertainTeed announced their new EnerGen Photovoltaic Solar Power Roofing System, which is offered through a partnership with Energy Conversion Devices, manufacturer of UNI-SOLAR thin-film solar laminates. The EnerGen system combines lightweight UNI-SOLAR panels with traditional asphalt roofing shingles. The photos in this article show a 3.2 kW EnerGen system installed on the official governor's residence of Michigan.