Power generation takes a giant step into the future

A unique "solar wall" - the largest in Norway - has begun generating electricity in Trondheim. Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Olav Akselsen, "flicked the switch" on the 16kW photovoltaic (PV) plant on one of the buildings at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Apart from having a new, attractive facade, the building now also generates environmentally friendly electricity and reduces its own heating requirements. "The PV plant is an exciting and future-oriented project. Pilot projects like this are necessary in order to stimulate technological development,and international co-operation is essential for our ability to face the challenges involved in rendering the use of renewable energy more competitive," said Minister Akselsen.


BP Amoco launched the project in 1997 and assigned the research project to NTNU and SINTEF - just one of several measures initiated by the company as an environmental improvement aid and to develop technologies and solar energy markets. Through its subsidiary BP Solarex, BP Amoco is one of the world's leading solar energy companies, both in terms of PV panel production and delivery of complete installations. During the year ahead, the wall will be measured and tested in a number of areas such as power production, heat generation and application of the heated air generated behind the panels. The architectural design and structure of the solar wall is expected to attract experts from Norway and abroad. Norway has a ready market for PV cells integrated in building facades, with the greatest advantages obtainable in the south which has the largest number of sunny days. But it can also be used further north - after all, Trondheim has more hours of sunshine than Brussels. For further information contact Professor Øyvind Aschehoug, NTNU, on +47 73 59 50 46 Jan Erik Geirmo, BP Amoco Norge, on +47 52 01 32 05 Architect Anne Gunnarshaug Lien, SINTEF, on +47 73 59 26 21 The project can also be viewed at www.sintef.no/units/civil/ark/ark/Norsk/Prosjekter/BPASolar.html.