How's that for irony?
The 800,000 sq. ft. facility, located in Dezhou, China, is intended to resemble an ancient sun dial and remind visitors of the urgent need for renewable energy. The building will be the main venue for the 4th World Solar City Congress, and officially opened on Nov. 27.
Inside, you'll find exhibition centers, research facilities, meeting and convention spaces and a hotel, all powered by hundreds of solar panels atop its roof. Selective use of steel and wall insulation means the building's energy savings are 30 percent higher than China's national standard.
Solar development is a key tool in China's development strategy. Major Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, have experienced energy shortages in recent years.
What will all that energy be used for? The most inexpensive application would be simply heating water. China already leads the world in residential rooftop solar thermal hot water development, according to CleanTechnica, and 75 percent of all solar thermal collectors worldwide are made and installed in China.