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Australia’s First Off-The-Grid Solar-Powered High-Rise Planned In Melbourne

Australia will soon get its first ‘substantially off-the-grid building’ with a new solar-powered high-rise apartment tower being designed in Southbank, Melbourne. The building site at 42-48 Moray Street directly abuts the King Street off-ramp of the West Gate Freeway.

Designed by Peddle Thorp Architects, the 60-level skyscraper building, named Sol Invictus Tower will use solar cells on the glass facade to generate green energy, which will be stored in batteries to provide off-the-grid power to its residents. The facade is expected to house about 3000sqm of solar panels, with an extra 300 square metres on the roof.

Peter Brook from Peddle Thorp explains that the use of solar cells on the facade will create a greater surface area for catching the sun’s rays. The building has been designed with a curved exterior to capture the sun’s movement from east to west throughout the day.

According to Brook, designing a completely off-the-grid building may be over-ambitious at the moment but the objective is to get as far as possible down that road. The tower will feature high-tech solar materials sourced from China, wind turbines on the roof, double glazing, battery storage system to support 520 apartments, and low-energy LED lighting.

ICR Property Group’s Raff De Luise, who represents the landowner behind the project, said the Sol Invictus Tower will be Australia’s ‘first substantially off-the-grid green energy generating residential tower’. Featuring a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, the tower would also provide public and private amenities including a childcare facility and a medical center.

The current design of the building would provide more than 50 per cent of the tower’s base load power. However, technological advances are expected to significantly boost that figure before project completion.

The tower design has been submitted to Planning Minister Richard Wynne for approval.

Image: The Sol Invictus tower has been designed to capture the sun’s movement from east to west

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