Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Solar panel-covered Sun Rock will generate 1 million kWh of clean energy per year

Dutch firm MVRDV has launched the first look at its upcoming “Sun Rock” project in Taiwan, an environmentally conscious and design-minded power supply building. Anticipating Taiwan’s planned transition to green energy, the features of the Sun Rock building, from its shape to its façade, are focused on generating solar energy as efficiently as possible.

Located at the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park, near Taichung, the building’s primary purpose is to store and maintain suitable energy equipment. The building is almost totally covered with solar panels, capable of generating roughly 1 million kWh of green energy every year.

The site for Taipower’s new facility receives a significant amount of solar exposure throughout the year, and so the rounded shape of Sun Rock is designed to maximize how much of that sunlight can be harnessed for energy. The building slopes gently downwards on the southern side, creating a large surface area that directly faces the sun during the middle of the day. At the northern end, on the other hand, the dome shape is intended to maximize the area of the building exposed to the sun in the mornings and evenings.

The Sun Rock building façade detail.
The Sun Rock building façade detail. Credit: MVRDV

“The façade maximizes this solar potential with a series of pleats, which support photovoltaic panels on their upper surface. These pleats support the photovoltaic panels, mixed in strategically placed windows, on their upper surface. The angle of these pleats is adjusted on all parts of the façade to maximize the energy-generating potential of the solar panels,” explained MVRDV.

The design allows the Sun Rock building to support at least 4,000 square meters of PV panels to be installed. According to MVRDV, the modules would generate almost one million kilowatt-hours of clean energy per year, making the building completely self-sufficient.

The Sun Rock building interior.
The Sun Rock building interior. Credit: MVRDV

The project is currently still in the planning phase. The team is still considering alternative design options that would add an even larger area of PV panels, with calculations showing the building could generate up to 1.7 million kWh annually to contribute energy to the grid.

The solar panel-covered building will measure 12,900 m (around 138,000 square ft). It will feature the “Data Room,” a soaring atrium with real-time displays of data about Taipower’s operations and the amount of renewable energy the company generates. On the first floor, a gallery space provides the public a view of the maintenance workshop, allowing them an up-close look at the machines that make sustainable energy possible, from solar panels to massive wind turbine blades.

Another gallery is included on the top floor, while at the roof level will be a terrace complete with trees for both visitors and Taipower employees to relax. The Sun Rock is slated to be up and running by 2024.