The largest building-integrated photovoltaic system in Canada has a poetic twist.

The Edmonton Convention Centre’s iconic multi-level atrium that follows the slope of the river valley now makes a bold, poetic statement about sustainability. The replacement of the atrium's south-facing skylights includes Canada’s largest building-integrated photovoltaic system. 

The new solar cells will convert sunlight into clean electricity while maintaining the transparency of the Centre’s current glass atrium. All 696 sloped panels on the atrium are replaced. Even with the PV cells covering approximately 50% of the surface, more light is getting through to the atrium compared to the previous tinted panels.

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The pattern of the cells opens up to a circular oculus with lines of Morse code that spell out an excerpt from a poem by a former Edmonton Poet Laureate that reads:

BEGINNINGS JUST APPEAR
SO LIKE A DROWSY EYE

SUDDENLY AWAKE
WHERE A RIVER WELLS UP

UNCOILING FROM THE ICE
WHERE SNUG BESIDE THE LAND

IT LAY DREAMING AT
OUR FEET IN QUIET SLEEP

-From Gifts of a River by E.D. Blodgett

It is estimated that more than 200 Mega-watt hours of electricity will be generated each year and the panels will reduce anticipated greenhouse gases by over 150,000 kg.

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