🌞 Some cool things about solar at Edmonton Convention Centre

Sure, there’s nothing new under the sun, but there’s a lot that’s new that can be done with the sun. The Edmonton Convention Centre is in the right place at the right time—with the right flat, sloped roof—to take advantage of the sun over our city. 

There’s a lot of it. Edmonton bathes in an average of 2,345 hours of bright sunshine a year and enjoys as many as 325 days a year with sun. 

The City of Edmonton recently announced a $10.8 million atrium modernization project that  includes removing the Edmonton Convention Centre’s 35-year-old skylight units and replacing them with photovoltaic (solar) glass units. So far, 60 panels are in. Just 636 to go!

The new skylight units are custom-engineered to match the size of the old ones. Ten different geometric shapes make up the pattern that gives the atrium roof its iconic look. More sunlight will come through with the new design. Even though the photovoltaic cells cover half of the panel, the new glass is more clear than the old tinted panels. 

Here are six more things to know about solar at the Edmonton Convention Centre. And a video.

1. This solar installation will be the largest of its kind in Canada. The project accounts  for approximately 50 per cent of the existing glass on this building.

2. Once complete, this new solar installation is expected to produce nearly 227,000 kwh of renewable energy every year. That’s enough electricity to power about 22 homes for one year.

Photo: What inverters at the south end of the atrium will look like.
Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) Atrium at the University of Alberta (designed by DIALOG).

3. The Edmonton Convention Centre is getting an “integrated” kind of solar array that will be built into the glass of the building. These photovoltaic cells will be laminated into the glass. The natural light will continue to beam into the popular atrium.

Photo: Agriculture Forestry Building at the University of Alberta

4. Construction is set to be completed by mid-2020, with scaffolding throughout the building to complete the work in phases. The Edmonton Convention Centre is still open for business, and is working with the construction manager to minimize the impact on guest experience.

5. The new glass will be more air-tight. With these improvements, the atrium could be up to 10 per cent more efficient at managing temperature.

6. The installation is tested and built to withstand extreme temperatures. Designed by a consultant team led by DIALOG and built by Bird Construction, the solar cell windows have undergone extensive testing to withstand the extreme cold, windy, rainy and snowy conditions we enjoy in the winter months.

In this short video, learn more about the project—including cost savings and how the snow affects solar panels—from the City of Edmonton’s Brad Watson.

Editor’s note: The solar panels project is part of the Edmonton Convention Centre’s commitment to the environment. Read all about it.