Concentrated solar power isn’t just for deserts, it could be for walls too

March 11, 2010


Usually when you read about concentrated solar power, it's referring to some large project destined for the Mojave Desert, but Syracuse's Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) has set out to prove that this technology can be used in smaller, colder settings.

SyracuseCoE in Syracuse, NY is itself a LEED-platinum-certified, 55,000 square-foot building that serves as a testing ground for renewable energy and efficiency technologies.  The south wall of the building is home to a concentrated solar facade that, at first glance, resembles the frosted cube walls found in doctors' office waiting rooms.

This 8-foot by 8-foot facade houses several clear pyramid lenses that track the sun and concentrate the rays onto high-efficiency PV cells.  Extra energy not converted to electricity is used for heating water and radiant heat in the building.  And because it's made up of clear panels, it also adds natural lighting indoors.  You can watch a video of the system at work here.

Using a concentrated solar power system in an architectural application is a new concept, so the center will be monitoring and reporting on its performance.

The facade was designed by the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology and the company HeliOptix is licensed to market it.

via Jetson Green

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