Peddle Thorp Architects' solar-powered Melbourne high-rise looks to go off the grid

The skyscraper would be the first in Australia to incorporate solar cells in its façade.

September 06, 2016 |

While many cities around the United States and around the world are beginning to impose rules and regulations for newly constructed buildings in terms of incorporating solar power systems and panels on the roof, a proposed building in Melbourne is taking things a step further. Sol Invictus Tower, a proposed 60-story, 520-unit residential skyscraper would include solar cells in its façade and store the captured energy in Tesla-like batteries, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Compared to putting solar panels on the roof alone, integrating them into the façade would increase the surface area capable of harnessing the sun’s energy by an enormous amount. The ultimate goal is to allow the building to be completely off the grid in terms of electricity; a bit of an ambitious goal, even according to the designers themselves, but one they are pursuing nonetheless.

The high-rise has been designed with a curved exterior meant to capture the sun’s movement from east to west throughout the day. The resulting design is one that is functional, but elegant in terms of aesthetics, as well.

In an effort to get the building to be as self-sufficient as possible in terms of its energy requirements, solar materials are being sourced from China, wind turbines will be fitted on the roof, double-glazed glass will be used, and low-energy LED lighting will be included throughout.

Overall, the façade is expected to include around 3000 sm of solar panels with an additional 300 sm of panels added to the roof. Currently, the design for Sol Invictus Tower would provide more than 50 percent of the tower’s base load power, but technological advances over the next two years, before construction beings, are expected to increase that percentage.

The apartment building will offer a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments in addition to public and private amenities such as a childcare center and a medical center.

ICR Property Group is the developer for the project.

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