New Solar Stadium in Taiwan
It’s official now. Taiwan will hold the World Games 2009 in July. This international sporting event will include games like korfball, billiards, dragon boat racing and women’s tug-of-war. But why are we discussing World Games 2009 in an alternative energy spectrum? Actually Taiwan can boast of Asia’s first fully solar-powered stadium. The stadium gives a dragon-like impression if you happen to view it from the sky. In their culture dragon is associated with good fortune. If you happen to spot the dragon scales, look carefully again. These dragon scales are actually 8,844 solar panels. These solar panels are enough to meet the stadium’s energy needs. The roof covers an area of 14,155m2 . They can produce about 1.14 gigawatt hours of electricity every year. This amount of electricity is enough to power 80% of the stadium’s surrounding neighborhood when it’s not in use. The stadium has 3,300 lights and two giant TV screens.
The person who is responsible to give this abstract idea a concrete form is a Japanese architect Toyo Ito. This project cost around $150 million to build and can accommodate 55,000 spectators.
This stadium is situated in the city of Kaohsiung. Switzerland too has a somewhat similar high-profile Stade de Suisse that is located in Bern. It can accommodate 32,000 spectators and produce 700,000kWh annually. Beijing National Indoor Stadium too can absorb 19,000 spectators and has 1,124 solar panels. But Taiwan till date can be proud owner of the largest solar powered stadium in the world. Taiwanese officials claim the stadium’s energy production output will save 660 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
This is not the whole story. The stadium’s designers have also put lots of effort to curtail the environmental impact of the stadium. They utilized only those raw materials that have been procured from Taiwan and are 100 per cent reusable. The site is surrounded by a 19 hectare open space, with around 7 hectares exclusively kept aside as integrated public green spaces, bike paths, sports parks and even an ecological pond. To further make the entire project environmental friendly, all of the plants occupying the area before construction were transplanted.
The stadium will be utilized for rugby and other athletic events, including home matches for the football team after the World Games 2009 will be over.
We all know what it takes to build a new stadium. It is always a massive undertaking that consumes millions of dollars, sizable number of laborers and huge amount of power supply while the construction is underway. It is amazing to think that it took a mere two years to finish the construction process on this unique eco-friendly stadium. In order to generate the massive amount of energy the stadium utilizes it 14,155 sq meter solar roof to capture the sun rays, and the consequent power generation can power the stadium’s 3,300 lights and two jumbo vision screens. The test run has already been carried out and to everybody’s pleasant surprise, it merely took 6 minutes to power up the stadium’s entire lighting system.
So we can see that going solar on large scale is not some impossible feat. It can be achieved if we don’t limit our imaginations.