The power of sun has inspired awe and respect in human heart since time immemorial. Archeological evidence of solar worship in ancient civilizations proves how important sun was for our predecessors. This enthusiasm and reverence for the sun and its huge powers remained a constant driving force that led to many discoveries and technological advances. Modern human race achieved a great feat by being able to harness the immense power of the Sun in form of solar energy. Solar power is slowly and continuously gaining popularity among the masses and has become synonymous with futuristic technology and green energy. Many world famous sites have become champions of clean green energy by installing solar panels to fulfill their energy requirements. Visitors to these famous buildings,gain an insight into the potential and advantage of solar energy which goes a long way in popularizing the advantages of solar.
Let’s check some of the iconic buildings; both modern as well as historical, that use solar energy :
White House , Washington DC, USA.
White House has a long history of installations and removal of solar panels. During the national energy crisis of 1979, Jimmy Carter got these installed for the first time on White House. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, he had very different view on energy consumption and felt that these panels were not needed. Hence they were removed and shifted to Maine College. Barak Obama assumed office in 2009 and laid great emphasis on use of renewable energy. To set an example he got the photovoltaic system installed on White house once again in 2011. This system is generating approximately 16Kw energy.
Along with the President of USA, many other heads of state have also pledged to make solar energy popular by adopting it for official residences and government owned buildings.
National Stadium, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The dragon shaped stadium in Taiwan is the best example for understanding how solar panels work and can be used to harness cheap energy. This stadium can seat 55,000 people at a time and is mainly used for football matches. The stadium’s entire external face is covered with 8,844 photovoltaic panels which light up its track and field. The stadium not only fulfills all its energy needs using solar power but also generates additional power which is stored and used later.
The Vatican, Vatican City.
Vatican is the first Solar-nation-state and has spent more than $650 million to install 2000 solar panels that power its buildings and households. Vatican has earned the distinction of being the first “Greenest State” in the world by relying heavily on solar for its energy needs. Vatican also holds the record for per capita power production which is 200 watts during peak time. It is estimated that going solar has saved the Vatican around 90 tons in oil. Vatican has led the way in showing the world how important it is to switch to greener sources of energy.
Eiffel Tower, Paris, Italy.
The major focus of the massive renovation plan of the Eiffel Tower was to reduce its carbon footprint. The obvious shift towards renewable energy and installation of solar panels was the first step towards this goal. These panels are installed on many buildings that are part of the iconic structure. The energy harnessed from sun is used to fulfill half the hot water need of the tower and also lights up 20,000 bulbs at night. Apart from solar power, wind power is also added to Eiffel Tower which makes it a truly green building of our times.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE.
Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, showed how the abundant energy of the sun in the desert area can be used to save millions. An array of 378 solar panels produces enough energy to heat 140,000 liters of water used every by the households and commercial set up in the tower. The huge cost savings on energy can be estimated by the fact that this solar installation saves 3200 KW/day for the building.
These iconic buildings across the world have shown to the world that solar energy is the way to reduce our carbon footprint and become energy independent in the long run. In recent years solar panel prices have gone down considerably making solar popular in the mainstream.
We would soon come out with a list of famous buildings in India using solar power to fulfill their energy needs. Keep reading!