California Academy of Science gets a massive solar canopy

May 16, 2006 |
  More than 700 photovoltaic glass laminates

  will top San Francisco’s new 370,000-sf

  California Academy of Sciences. The 

  system is expected to generate 213,000


The nation's largest photovoltaic glass canopy will be atop San Francisco's new California Academy of Sciences, a 370,000-sf natural history museum (the fourth largest in the U.S.) designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano.

The Academy contracted with Open Energy Corp., Solana Beach, Calif., to develop and install the 720 custom-made PV glass laminates along the perimeter of the building's green roof. Each laminate piece is expected to have a 20% conversion efficiency, which is the highest conversion rate possible. The system is expected to generate a total 213,000 kW.

"This is a great solar energy investment for the Academy," said David Saltman, Open Energy's president. "The photovoltaic system and other environmental features of the project will prevent the release of over 400,000 lbs of CO2, the equivalent of planting 340 trees."

Sited in the city's Golden Gate Park, the $392 million facility replaces one damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. When it opens in late 2008, it is expected to earn a LEED Platinum rating.

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