Largest ‘building-integrated’ solar cell installation

Thirty-five-year-old skylights at the Edmonton Convention Centre will soon receive an energy-conscious upgrade, the city announced Thursday.

The City of Edmonton will fund a $10.8-million project to modernize the atrium of the Edmonton Conference Centre, which the city owns. Approximately half of the building’s 697 sloped glass panels will be replaced with photovoltaic units — also known as solar panels — to create the largest building-integrated solar panel installation in Canada.

The solar cells will be transparent and are expected to generate upwards of 227,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year — enough to power a typical football field floodlight for almost 11 years straight. According to the city, the energy savings will pay for the renovation costs in about 22 years.

The convention centre says the project is a significant part of their long-term sustainability efforts.

“(Sustainability) is something that’s always been ingrained in our business but also in our company culture,” Melissa Radu, the Edmonton Convention Centre’s sustainability manager, told Postmedia.

“Our staff and our guests are really excited for the announcement of the building-integrated photovoltaic installation because it kind of continues that roadmap to create a more sustainable footprint for us.”

The city expects the solar panel installation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 150,000 kilograms each year.

Construction work on the project has already started and is slated to wrap up in early 2020. The convention centre will stay open throughout construction.

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