The Solar Ark: A Unique Solar Building In Japan

In Gifu Prefecture, Japan, there is an unusual solar building called the Solar Ark, built by Sanyo. It’s one of the most impressive solar buildings in the world. Passengers on high-speed bullet trains can’t help but notice the edifice as they ride past on a nearby railway line. The building was built to symbolize the goal of becoming a “clean energy society” and it houses a solar museum inside. The Ark incorporates 5,046 solar panels, and produces about 630 kW of power, which means 530,000 kWh of clean energy is produced annually by the structure.

For those interested in the exact dimension: the Solar Ark is 315 meters (1,033 feet) long and weighs 3000 tonnes. It includes 412 lighting units between the solar panels, each with 51 red, green and blue LEDs. The entire system is computer-controlled and can create a variety of images and characters.

There’s an interesting article in PHOTON magazine, that says that Sanyo actually built the Ark out of solar panels that were returned to the company.

Comments 5

  1. “Instead of just disposing of them and hiding their mistakes, Sanyo decided to put them to good use.”

    And started producing 530 MW/year in the process. Talk about turning lemons into lemon-aid.

  2. This thing is absolutely beautiful to visit at night. We drive past it every month or so (it`s between our house and that of the in-law`s) and have to stop for a look everytime.

    I believe that the panels weren`t simply returned to the company – they were part of a recall because they had been misrepresented as producing far more power than they actually did. Instead of just disposing of them and hiding their mistakes, Sanyo decided to put them to good use.

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