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While rack mounted and ground mounted solar PV systems are more commonly found, building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems are slowly catching on as an up and coming trend in the solar world. Here’s a great example of a BIPV system that was built with standard GE 200 Watt solar modules. We are currently installing a similar solar PV awning system on Landmark Group’s office in Edmonton.
While BIPV systems have greater aesthetic appeal, it is important to note that these systems usually come with a larger price tag. 1) Frameless and translucent solar modules used for BIPV systems are often double the price of standard solar modules. 3) Additional labour costs are incurred due to specialized architectural design, engineering design and installation. In some cases, the BIPV system can instead offer an offset value through the replacement of traditional building materials.
In addition to costing more than standard PV systems, BIPV systems may also experience higher operating temperatures because, unlike rack-mounted PV, it is usually flush with the building surface and does not permit airflow between module and building structure. I would like to join the SkyFire Energy mailing list to receive newsletters, updates and event invitations from SkyFire Energy.
Calgary transportation department is looking at ways to harness green energy to power the upcoming Green Line from north Calgary to the deep southeast.
Green solutions are being considered for the Green Line as city councillors discussed transit possibilities on the heels of the province's new climate change strategy.
Technological Residence, Traditional Living (TRTL) or Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House, Canada's entry for the U.S.
A Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House, built at the University of Calgary for the Solar Decathlon, a biennial competition run by the U.S.
This interdisciplinary project involved students from several areas of the University of Calgary, including the Faculty of Environmental Design, the Schulich School of Engineering and the Haskayne School of Business. Cenovus Energy was the lead sponsor of the project, which is among several initiatives across campus in which the company has invested.


Spo’pi is the Blackfoot word meaning “lives on stilts.” The home was built to address the housing needs of First Nations Communities. During an Indigenous groundbreaking ceremony last summer, Crowshoe gave a special blessing of the site on which the home was built. In addition to being used for research, the Cenovus Spo’pi Solar House will help the current Solar Decathlon team prepare for the 2013 competition by providing hands-on learning opportunities to test the efficiency of mechanical and solar systems to help plan future solar house projects.
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Since frameless and translucent solar modules are generally used for BIPV installations, these solar PV systems are able to seamlessly merge with the structure of the building and can add to the aesthetics of the architecture.
We were able to use conventional solar modules in this scenario because the solar modules were mounted as window awnings and needed to provide shade.
Higher temperatures affect the conversion efficiency of the panels, causing it to produce less electricity, which will in turn lead to higher energy costs. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011, is a unique response to the culture of Treaty 7 Native Peoples in Southern Alberta. Since 2009, Cenovus Energy has supported the Schulich School of Engineering, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Environmental Design, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE) and the Native Centre to enrich student programs and support research. In order to be practical yet true to cultural beliefs and values, members of the Aboriginal community were consulted during design and construction. In the months since then, the house was reconstructed, furnished and connected to the campus utilities grid. In some cases, the solar modules of BIPV systems can actually replace building materials such as windows or roof tiles. This 43.4 kW BIPV system on the University of Calgary’s Child Development Centre, was awarded CanSIA’s ‘2007 Solar PV Project of the Year’. One way you can avoid this is by allowing sufficient airflow in between the solar panels and building structure. We believe BIPV has great residential and commercial application potential as it fits in perfectly with modern architecture and sustainable design.


Inspired by the tipi, the house's rounded form, east-facing entrance, and south-facing windows relate to the sun as a traditional source of energy and life. University students designed and built this dome-shaped, 93 m2 (1001 square feet) structure that features the latest in solar power technology.
Guests at today’s celebration included a traditional drum group along with members of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Treaty 7 region. A more formal Pipe Ceremony was held upon completion of the construction to transfer the stewardship of the solar house to the Schulich School of Engineering.
With the inclusion of solar on this building, the Child Development Centre achieved LEED Platinum status; making it the first in the world to achieve this status in a cold climate. For instance, with the One House Green project showcased above, we installed the solar modules on the south-facing wall of the home and created a semi-translucent array that actually pre-heats the fresh air intake for the building during the winter months.
Druh Farrell was curious about how the city will operate its largest infrastructure project with the smallest possible footprint. An array of 37 photovoltaic panels on the roof generates enough electricity for a typical family of four to cook, do laundry, shower and operate household appliances for an entire year. The house will now serve as a hub for solar energy and sustainability research for students and faculty members, including David Wood, Enmax-NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Renewable Energy. This began a new chapter for the home as a high-tech, community- based teaching and learning facility on campus. By drawing the air from behind the modules, the array will be able to cool down faster and produce more energy.



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