It is the kind of concept that is given a thought by everyone who knows what a solar panel is yet difficult to accomplish in reality. This office skyscraper CIS was built in 1962 on Miller Street in Manchester, England and initially, its outer surface was covered with mosaic tile facade that had a habit of falling face down frequently. The problem wasn’t concretely addressed until 40 years later they undertook major renovation work. It was then that these clumsy mosaic panels were removed, and the board wanted to accomplish something revolutionary with the building’s ample exposure to sunlight. They consulted with the company named Solarcentury and covered the entire building with solar panels amounting to 575.5 KW of power. The CIS building thus became the largest vertical array of solar panels in the continent and ever since this amazing feat, no such feat has been repeated despite the cost of solar panels reducing by more than 400 percent during the time frame.
The project started in 2003 and was completed a year later. The total expenditure was close to US$9 million for more than 7,000 panels and 24 wind turbines on the top that really helped in the winters when there isn’t enough daylight to power the plethora of solar panels. The wind turbines alone produce 10% of the total power requirement of the building, and the rest is covered by solar panels just fine. It is truly a remarkable feat to achieve and despite the high expenses at that time, it is entirely worth it. The CIS tower was selected by the DTI as one of the best green projects of 2005. I think it is one of the best projects of the decade!
The building was completed in 1962 and for a long time, it was the tallest building in the United Kingdom until the Millbank Tower. The mosaic facade began falling off after a faulty engineering resulted in no expansion joints. In the long run, it is a good thing it did because if it hadn’t, we probably would have never seen the paneled solar skyscraper.
Buildings like these consume a lot of power, and most of the energy continues to be made from fossil fuels or nuclear power that has its own set of problems. Now that the price of the solar panels has also decreased down to a certain value, we hope to see more of these buildings take advantage of their solar exposure and install more solar panels.