Solar Ark

The Solar Ark (ソーラーアーク) is an ark-shaped solar photovoltaic power generation facility qui offers activities to cultivate a better appreciation of solar power generation, and thereby benefitting Both ecology and science. [1] [2] This 315-meter-wide, 37-meter-tall facility is located in Anpachi , Gifu Prefecture , [3] in the geographical center of Japan , and can be seen from the JR Tōkaidō bullet train, which runs past on an adjacent railway. It has over 5,000 panels that produce approximately 530,000 kilowatt-hours on an annual basis and a maximum power system of 630 kilowatts.

Stationed at the Solar Ark Center is the Solar Lab, a museum of solar energy . A hands-on, outdoor light exhibition was planned for 2005. The Solar Ark was an enterprise partner with the 2005 World Exhibition , Aichi Prefecture , Japan. It is one of the largest solar buildings in the world.


The Solar Ark was made by Sanyo Electric Co. Its development was accidental among other things. [4] Initially, Sanyo Electric had planned to create the largest photovoltaic system in the world, with a 3.4 megawatt output, to mark the organization’s 50th anniversary. By 1998, designers had already been in discussions about the Solar Ark’s appearance. Sanyo had planned on the edge of time, using a combination of silicon crystal and thin-film amorphous silicon with 14-15% efficiency. However, during the initial planning, Sanyo had to recall several monocrystalline cells, which were predecessors of the hybrid technology mentioned before, due to insufficient output. [5] [6]

Sanyo Electric Co. still decided to go ahead with Solar Ark’s construction; however, instead of using the previously planned technology, Sanyo instead, used the recalled monocrystalline cells. Sanyo says “We have done this to our sincere regret that this problem has been overcome and it has become more and more important.” Construction was completed in December 2001.

Panasonic acquired Sanyo, and as part of its corporate restructuring and re-branding strategy, the Sanyo red logo on the Solar Ark logo Panasonic logo in August 2011. [7]


The Solar Ark’s design was inspired by the vision of an ark embarking on a journey to the 21st century. This idea led to the Solar Ark’s size and overall symbolic shape of being an example of producing clean energy. In total, the construction area for the Ark Solar is 3294.48 m 2 reinforced concrete was used for the base of the construction. From one end to the other, the total length of the Solar Ark is 315 meters. The ark is 31.6 meters tall from the center of the structure. There are 5,046 solar panels in total. Twelve single-crystal silicon solar cell modules are assembled on the ground, and 470 units were lifted up and attached to the main body of the Solar Ark. [2]

The weight of the actual body of the ark (pillars being excluded) is 3,000 metric tons and is constructed from structural steel, which is comparatively better than steel. This construction material helps give the impression of the solar ark being suspended in the air. Each column is 2 meters in diameter and 31 meters in length and the Solar Ark is 315 meters long. [8] The entire Solar Ark chassis is supported by four “G-Columns” which are custom built by Kubotaand in total, these pillars weigh approximately 5,000 tons. These high-quality pillars are homogeneous, the result of the constant method of construction that utilizes centrifugal force. Due to the Solar Ark’s sturdy building materials, the Ark is able to resist winds of up to 34 meters / second and 7 level earthquakes on the Japanese scale .

The ark is surrounded by 5-meter high water fountains and two ponds, each having their own waterfall. The entrance to the Solar Ark has solar wings, which are composed of solar cells that are less efficient than solar panels. Between the individual solar panels , there are, in total, 75,000 red, green, and blue computer controlled LEDs which are activated at night to produce images and words across the ark.


The Solar Energy Museum is structurally separate from the Solar Ark itself. It is officially called the solar lab. It is a museum and exhibition center that provides more information about solar energy. There are several exhibitions, workshops and science classes held at the solar lab, which are primarily aimed at younger generations, to help them become more aware of the photovoltaic science and how it impacts the world. The solar panel is divided into two areas. Some of these activities include a solar system simulator, an adventure wall, a solar panel and a control deck, where the solar Ark.


The Solar Ark has received several awards and notable achievements during its operation.

  • Good Design Award 2002 Architecture and Environment Design / Architecture Design
  • The 5th “Renewing Your Hometown” 21st Century Fine Art Awards (Honorable Mention)
  • The 12th “Facilities that Publicize Energy” Award (Exhibition Category)
  • The 12th Advertising Contest on the Environment, Grand Prix of the Environment Advertising Award
  • The 2nd Environment and Facility Prize, Environmental Design Category
  • Energy Publicity Center Award for PR Activity, 14th Director-General of the Natural Energy Agency Award, 2004


  1. Jump up^ “Large-Scale Solar Power Generation Facility ‘Solar Ark ‘ ” . Panasonic Corporation of North America . Retrieved January 11, 2013 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:a Kriscenski b , Ali (January 14, 2008). “SOLAR ARK: World’s Most Stunning Solar Building” . Inhabitat . Retrieved January 11, 2013 .
  3. Jump up^ 見 ど こ ろ> お 立 ち 寄 り ス ポ ッ ト(in Japanese). Anpachi official website . Retrieved August 28, 2011 .
  4. Jump up^ “Sunsology Blog” . The Sunsology blog . Retrieved November 11, 2011 .
  5. Jump up^ “The Future of Things Article” . The Things of the Future website . Retrieved November 11, 2011 .
  6. Jump up^ “Photon International on the ark” . Article on recalled solar panels . Retrieved November 11, 2011 .
  7. Jump up^ 「ソ ー ラ ー ア ー ク」 の ブ ラ ン ド 表 記 の 変 更 に つ い てPanasonic and Sanyo Electric press release (in Japanese). June 24, 2011 . Retrieved December 7, 2011 .
  8. Jump up^ “Sustainability: Sanyo’s Solar Ark” . Archived from the original on May 20, 2011 . Retrieved January 11, 2013 .

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