Solar Ark

Sanyo’s Solar Ark, located in the Gifu Prefecture at the center of Japan, is a 315m-wide (1033 feet), 37m-tall (121 feet) solar photovoltaic power generation facility. Its design was inspired “by the vision of an ark embarking on a journey towards the 21st century”, a symbol of Sanyo’s goal of achieving a “clean energy society.” At the center of the Solar Ark is an unusual museum of solar energy, called Solar Lab, which helps to raise children’s awareness to global environmental issues, making science more interesting and appealing.

The Solar Ark is supported by four pillars weighing a total of approximately 5,000 tons and is constructed of strong structural steel. Twelve single-crystal silicon solar cell modules per unit were assembled on the ground, and 470 units were lifted up and attached to the main body of the Solar Ark. The annual electrical output of the Solar Ark is approx. 530,000 kWh and its maximum system power is 630 kW. By utilizing this solar power plant, Japan is saving the equivalent of 7,145 kerosene cans (128,610 liters) per year. An analysis of data regarding the power-generating performance of the photovoltaic system, which was gathered since the Solar Ark was first utilized, was presented at the photovoltaic conference in Europe several years ago.

Completing the design of the ark are its surroundings – 5m high water fountains and two ponds, each with a cascade. At the entrance to the Solar Ark are solar wings made of HIT solar cells, which generate electricity while also functioning as awnings that allow sunlight to filter through.

Exhibitions, workshops, and science classes are held at the Solar Lab in order to provide information and raise  the younger generation’s awareness of photovoltaic science.The Solar Arc facility is A place where we all pause for reflection and make discoveries about the various interconnections between the Sun, global environmental issues, photovoltaic science, and humankind”, states Sanyo.

 Among the various parts of the museum one can find a solar system simulator, an adventure wall, an artistic approach to the Sun, a solar library, and the control deck, where visitors can see real-time data pertaining to power generation in the Solar Ark.

TFOT recently covered an innovative Solar Tree that absorbs solar energy during the day and emits light in the nighttime. TFOT also reported on the development of a unique technology for producing cost-efficient solar electricity, and of the discovery of a new crystalline material called nano flakes, which may enable producing highly efficient solar panels that can convert almost twice the amount of solar energy into electricity.

More information on the Solar Ark can be found here.