The proposed Solar Tower for Chicago by Zoka Zola Architects features an active solar array mounted to the façade which maximizes solar gain throughout the day. The spherically based design takes advantage of the large surface of a building by mounting the panels on the vertical plane. By incorporating tracking arms that the solar units mount to, summer electrical production can be improved by as much as 40% compared to a static mounted solar array, and even more compared to traditional vertically mounted solar facades. The array’s full potential is then realized, creating the greatest kWhrs production per square foot of any design. Wind pressure exerted on the solar panel holding mechanisms can be converted into energy.

The spherical panels are mounted in such a way as to maintain views for the interior but to reduce heat gain. This results in a minimized dependency on a cooling plant. The panels are evident from the interiors of the tower to emulate the technology. The siting of the tower will have a dramatic effect on its power production-being isolated or adjacent to a southerly body of water or park is preferable.  The entire building will have a kinetic profile raising onlooker’s awareness of renewable onsite energy production and sustainable urban design.

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