The Edge, a new 10 story office building in Edmonton, Alberta will be covered with 500 solar panels on it south side. Together with daylight gathered from north facing windows, they are expected to supply 80% of the building’s electrical needs says Gene Dub of Dub Architects, the Edmonton company responsible for the design of the building. The total output from the solar panel system will be enough to power 25 residential homes. The Edge is expected to be available for occupancy in June.

“Edmonton has a great amount of sunlight,” Dub said. “The panels get sunlight the entire day.” The system cost $400,000 and are expected to pay for themselves in five years time. The province of Alberta has a solar credit program in place which rebates 30% of the cost of a solar installation such as this one. Alberta is expanding its incentive programs for residential and commercial buildings by adding another $36 million to the existing program. Details are expected to be announced this summer.

Dub has nothing but praise for the provincial rebate program. He says he expected solar power for buildings and homes in the area to be more popular that it is, especially in light of the incentives available. “So far, the solar panels haven’t caught on nearly as well as I would have hoped,” he said. Mounting solar panels on an exterior wall is a technique seldom used but it has several advantages that go beyond simply generating electricity. “What it means is you don’t shut your curtains down to keep out the direct glare of the south sun and you can have light almost all day long during the summer,” Dub said.

In addition to the solar panels, several large floor-to-ceiling windows capture indirect light on the north wall of the building, which helps cut down on interior lighting costs. About 80 per cent of the building’s energy consumption will be offset by the design choices made by the architects. “It’s why artists in Paris used to want those north garrets,” Dub says. “Garrets with north skylights…provided the kind of light that was great for painting and it’s also good for working in the office.”

Source: CBC  Photo credit: Dub Architects