Undulating Solar Mountain produces 300 MWh of renewable energy annually

Future projects have focused more on reducing our environmental impact. As climate change takes hold, reaching world-historical levels, engineers and architects are coming up with unprecedented ideas and solutions.

A Mumbai-based architecture firm, literally called NUDES, has presented “Solar Mountain,” a modern structure constructed from recycled timber and clad in solar photovoltaic panels. It is also one of the ten shortlisted projects for Burning Man’s 3,800-acre Fly Ranch in Nevada.

The Fly Ranch in the Nevada Desert is a permanent, off-the-grid space proposed by the organizers of Burning Man. To create its infrastructure, they partnered with Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) for a multi-disciplinary design challenge – LAGI 2020 Fly Ranch and now the shortlisted entries, including NUDES’ Solar Mountain, will move to the next stage of prototyping.

The Solar Mountain promises to revolutionize the way we generate power for communities around the world. It is designed to be both an interactive installation as well as a source of clean energy for the community. The new design incorporates a gigantic assortment of solar panels stretching down a gradient from a central spine. It was inspired by the natural landscape of Fly Ranch, which is already a home to several natural hot and cold springs, three geysers, hundreds of acres of wetlands, dozens of animal species, and more than 100 types of plants.

Undulating Solar Mountain produces 300 MWh of renewable energy annually.
The modern structure is constructed from recycled timber and clad in solar photovoltaic panels. Credit: NUDES

The project consists of four units, with each unit measuring 30m in length, between 5m-30m in width, and a maximum height of 15m. Each unit is made up of 182 solar panels of 300-watt capacity that will generate 1.2kWh/day. NUDES estimates that the total clean energy that can be harvested from the four units containing a total of 728 solar panels to be 873 kWh per day. This means that the Solar Mountain has the capacity to generate 318,645 kWh per year. The structure is fabricated using recycled wood and other eco-friendly materials.

Thanks to battery storage, the power plant could supply energy to the entire festival, which, due to desert conditions and the lack of infrastructure, supplies non-ecological diesel generators of all kinds.

Solar Mountain is not just an interesting solar park to create renewable energy, it also doubles as a community center for the participants of Burning Man. The narrative behind the design is divided into three parts: grow energy, interact, and play, explains Nuru Karim, founder, and principal of NUDES.

Designed using net-zero principles, Solar Mountain’s aim is to produce more energy than it will consume. This is because the architects thought of a modular design could offer communities around the world new and eco-friendly alternatives to less sustainable forms of energy.

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