SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2009 > Solar Energy

Visible from a distance, the two solar pergolas (inside the circle in the middle) meet important demands when it comes to improving the environment and living space. Photo: BIMSA

Solar Architecture for a Public Space


Solar pergolas on the Mediterranean shore of the Spanish metropolis Barcelona are an excellent example of socio-ecological building culture..


Alberto Zuniga / Thilo Horvatitsch

An interesting solar power station towers over the mouth of the Besos River, near Barcelona, on top of two supporting structures. The pergola constructions with the solar modules laid in a zigzag pattern form roofs with a total surface area of around 5,000 square meters. Beneath it, there is plenty of room to take walks or attend open air events inside the shady courtyard – and protection from rain or too much sun is even included.

The attractive solar architecture thus satisfies important requirements of modern city planning, like using and expanding the prevalence of renewable energy sources, as well as designing public areas in ways that make good sense. After all, today the competition between cities and regions is on permanently creating a healthier environment that brings people together and builds social, as well as cultural bridges. The city of Barcelona already committed itself to guiding ideas like these several years ago, when the “Forum Universal de las Culturas Barcelona 2004” first opened its gates. From May until September of 2004, the international forum transformed the coastal zone that leads up to the mouth of the Besos into a creative free space for ideas and initiatives for solving the most important cultural and social problems of the 21st century.

This resulted in various projects on improving the environment and local living conditions. The construction of two solar power stations was one of these measures. The first station went into operation on the grounds of the sailing academy along the Besos in 2004 and became a symbol of the cultural forum. The second was built later and now adorns the roof of the sewage purification plant EDAR: the solar pergolas.

This project came about when an additional sewage treatment facility was integrated into the purification plant. A cover simply had to be created for this facility. Integrated into the mosaic floor of the square in front of the forum, the roof of the EDAR has created a new public space that this solar power station has given added value to.

Following a public invitation to tender from the “IDAE” (Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy from the Spanish Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce) as the owner and developer, the complete project for the construction of the solar installation was awarded to “TFM Energía Solar fotovoltaica” (the COMSA Group). Construction work was concluded in September of 2008. The photovoltaic system is equipped with 2,453 frameless double glass modules made of crystalline silicon from SCHOTT Solar, extremely well-suited for architectural integration. Their peak total output reaches 658 kilowatt peak, the estimated energy yield 739 megawatt hours per year. Special profiles make it possible to assemble the modules and ensure the density of the installation. The area underneath the pergolas thus remains protected and can be used for festive occasions or as a meeting point for visits from schools and universities. For the city of Barcelona and those who visit the city, the solar pergolas have truly become a symbol for sustainable building culture and a role model for architectural integration of a solar system into a public facility. <|
Laid in a zigzag pattern, the 2,453 frameless double glass solar modules form a roof with around 5,000 square meters of total surface area – and offer protection against rain and too much sun. Photo: SCHOTT