Solar Array

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In 1999, Studio Innova designed and installed a 800 W photovoltaic array for the upper courtyard of the building that houses the studio and the private residence of the partners.

The installation was one of the first private grid connected systems in the city under a pilot project by Toronto Hydro called Net Billing where surplus energy created by the photovoltaic cells not used by the building would feed back into the utility's electric grid. Conversely, the building draws energy from the grid at time when it demands more than what solar array's generating capacity can deliver.

Besides generating clean renewable energy, the array integrates with the building aesthetic while being discreetly visible from the sidewalk. A vine weaves its way through the supporting structure creating a much needed screen from the hot middaysummer sun.

In 2004, the solar array found itself embroiled in a precedent setting hearing at the Ontario Municipal Board where Brault and Croteau had to defend their right to sunlight against a proposed condo development that would have shaded the photovoltaic panels during the winter months. The panels were installed to clear the winter shadows of a building constructed within the zoning bylaws. The condo however was almost twice the allowable height. Studio Innova prepared computer-generated sun angle diagrams to show the impact of the proposed condo on the solar panels.

The OMB refused the condo proposal and the building was eventually redesigned and constructed to comply to the existing height restrictions.

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copyright STUDIO INNOVA 2006

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