When our ancestors looked up at the sky, they did not see a massive ball of burning gas. They saw a god. The sun to them was supernatural in its power and majesty. It lighted their days, warmed them during the winter months and was extremely crucial for their daily life.
From Cairo in Egypt to Konark in India, from Beijing in China to Peru, ancient man built numerous temples around the world to worship the splendor of the sun.
The Sun Temples of Today
We no longer believe that the sun is a supernatural being that travels daily from the east to the west, showering the world with its munificence. We know what it is, what makes it tick. Today around the world, massive structures are coming up which are dedicated to the sun, harnessing its energy to light up our cities and warm up our homes.
Solar Power – The Source of All Power
Come to think of it, the sun is the source of all energy in the Solar System. From coal to petroleum, wood to even wind energy, the ultimate source of all power in the world is the sun. Fossil fuels have stored up the sun’s energy through millennia and made it available to us.
The excesses of the last two centuries have created a truly precarious situation. We have used up most of the fossil fuels that the earth had to offer. New sources of coal and petroleum are drying up. However, our cars, power plants and homes continue to run on fossil fuel. Chances are that the computer on which you are reading this article is also being powered by a fossil fuel power plant.
So what do we do when there are no fossil fuels left? Do we go back to the Stone Age or do we find a new solution? A source of truly renewable energy.
Around the world corporations and governments are waking up to the fact that the future lies in solar energy. More and more projects are coming up that harness the power of the sun for the benefit of mankind. Here’s a look at some of the largest such buildings around the world.
World’s Largest Solar Powered Office Building, Dezhou, China
Nowadays when it comes to scale, no one can beat the Chinese. The Sundial, the world’s largest solar powered office building, is the perfect example. This massive building in Dezhou straddles an area of over 80,000 feet and has been designed to look like a giant sundial.
The building contains a hotel, convention areas, exhibition halls, research facilities and of course loads and loads of office space. All of them solar powered!
Not just that, the Sundial incorporates many other cutting edge innovations to make it greener. Like the state-of-the-art wall insulation and roof that consumes 30% less energy than conventional buildings. They also make use of the lowest possible amount of steel in their buildings.
World’S Largest Solar Powered Hospital, Haiti
This is the future of all hospitals in the world. This 300 bed hospital has been designed to bridge the desperate need for healthcare in this island nation. However, the most remarkable thing about this facility is the 1800 solar panels straddling the roof.
The power situation in Haiti is pretty precarious. Hospitals struggle to maintain a regular electricity supply for its most essential functions. The solar panels freed the hospital from the need to depend on an outside source for power. What’s more, it produces more renewable energy than its needs.
The excess energy thus produced is channeled into Haiti’s national power grid.
Another plus – the hospital employs an army of 800 local electricians to maintain these solar panels providing much-needed employment to local communities.
World’S Largest Solar Powered Industrial Building Complex, Perg, Austria
Perg can be pretty cold during the winters. Moreover, to provide heating in the winters, its commercial buildings use up quite a bit of energy. This brand new Industrial Complex using the renewable energy of the sun is, therefore, showing the way for a more sustainable future.
More than 1,400 square meters of solar panels provide warmth and comfort to more than 4,300 employees of the Austrian company Habau.
This is also Europe’s first 100% solar powered building. In the summer months, the excess power is diverted to be used in the manufacturing processes.
World’S Largest Solar Powered Mall, Quezon City, Philippines
Malls and shopping complexes have always been wasteful of energy. Bright lights to attract customers, entertaining rides and blaring music, all of them are extremely power expensive. So this mall in the Philippines comes as a breath of fresh air.
This is the second largest mall in Philippines and the fourth largest in the world. It is operated by a company called SM Prime Holdings which has been instrumental in this shift to renewable energy.
Buildings That Make Sense
The key to designing and operating these buildings successfully is in sustainability. They need to be economically viable and fulfil its other functions as well. Only then can they pave the way for more use of renewable energy in day to day life. Many companies now offer solar panel installations on much smaller scales for your home or business such as RMS in San Francisco, Blue Pacific in Pheonix, Solar City in New York, and Bob Heinmiller in Orlando.
The writer, Edrick Hypolite, is a full-time freelance writer whose expertise focuses on green energy and green technology. If you want to learn more about Edrick, you can visit at Google+.