solar-powered skyscraper melbourne Rendering: ICR Property Group

Everyone loves a home that’s flooded with natural light, but what about an entire building designed to capture the sun’s rays?

That’s exactly what architectural firm Peddle Thorp has planned with a new skyscraper it’s looking to build in Melbourne’s Southbank neighborhood. Called Sol Invictus, the 60-story building will be the city’s first solar-powered apartment skyscraper as well as the first skyscraper in Australia to have solar panels on its facade and not just on its rooftop.

Speaking to The Age, Peter Brook of Peddle Thorp explained that the decision to add solar panels to the building’s glass facade was a practical one. “We get an enormous area of solar panels by comparison to running them across the roof,” he said. In total, Sol Invictus will have 3,000 square meters of solar panels on its facade and another 300 square meters on its rooftop.

The skyscraper’s eye-catching curved exterior was also designed with functionality in mind. Per The Age, it will be “orientated to deliberately capture the sun’s movement from east to west throughout the day.” All solar energy caught by the panels will be stored in “Tesla-like batteries” — under the current design, the building will be able to use that energy to generate 50 percent of its base load power, but Peddle Thorp hopes to boost that figure.

“The objective will be to have a complete off-grid building. That’s probably somewhat over-ambitious but the objective is to get as far as we can down that road,” said Brook. Other environmentally friendly building features will include rooftop wind turbines and low-energy LED lighting.

Peddle Thorp’s design for Sol Invictus has been submitted to Richard Wynne, the minister of planning for the state of Victoria, but as yet there’s been no word about when it may get the okay to move forward.

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