500 solar panels cover south side of downtown Edmonton office tower

Click to play video: 'Downtown development could impede Edmonton building’s solar power plan'
Downtown development could impede Edmonton building’s solar power plan
WATCH ABOVE: Downtown Edmonton is full of new construction, but there's one building that may have caught your attention. The entire south side of it is covered in solar panels. Kendra Slugoski has the details – Mar 30, 2017

In a sea of Edmonton downtown construction, it may be difficult to draw eyes to a specific project, unless you’re Gene Dub.

The Edmonton architect showed off his latest creation, a 10-storey officer tower near 106 Street and 104 Avenue, directly across from the MacEwan campus.

The Edge is built up with an entire north wall of windows, drawing in natural light to cut back on energy consumption. But it’s the opposite side of the building that is getting the most attention.

Solar panels cover the entire south side, with a price tag of $400,000.

Dub has been told his office tower boasts the largest vertical solar wall in Canada.

READ MORE: Alberta announces $36M rebate program for solar panels on homes, businesses  

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“You have enough power generated by those panels to power up 26 houses,” Dub said from inside the tower.

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“Those solar panels will end up generating enough power for 80 per cent of the power needs of the building.”

That solar power would likely be reduced if a neighbouring tower project is constructed; Dub predicts by 20 per cent.

The architect admits he was disappointed with Edmonton city council’s decision in September 2015 to approve a Toronto developer’s request for three 40-storey towers next door on the old Healey Ford site.

Construction has not yet broke ground.

Chris Dulaba with Edmonton Callidus Developments said the Ontario land owner, Rise Real Estate, put its plans on hold while it monitors the Alberta market.

“We anticipated that people around us would also be designing to code,” Dub said.

The city confirmed a development permit for the trio of towers has not been submitted, and a sunset clause dictates the land owner must start construction on 300 units by September 2024.

If that doesn’t happen, the city said the zoned height of the buildings would go back to the original 60 metres.

Dub isn’t sure what will happen, but he said even if constructed towers do cast shade over the solar panels it is still worth it.

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“Even if you ignore the environmental benefits of this design, it will pay itself back in about five years.”

The open-concept office floors will likely be on the market in May.

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