Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is known as a National Historic Landmark and home to the architect’s archive of designs and school of architecture, with about 100,000 visitors annually. This month, Wright’s Scottsdale winter home and current training ground for aspiring architects installed solar technology to offset energy costs.
More than 4,000 solar panels were installed on the home through a partnership with Valley of the Sun companies Big Green Zero and First Solar, according to the Arizona Republic. The Arizona solar installation is expected to slash the $200,000 annual energy bill in half for the 500-acre campus and generate the rest of the electricity for the year. The installation will make Taliesin West a net-zero-energy property, which will eliminate its carbon emissions as well as increase solar energy use in the country.
“Our business is about sustainable energy, and partnering with a global icon is an incredible opportunity,” Ted Meyer, First Solar spokesman, told the Republic. “It gives us a showcase for our technology and how it integrates into a world-famous site. It is our hope that architects and designers who make the pilgrimage will see what’s possible.”
According to Sean Malone, the new CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the extra $200,000 that has been freed by the solar installation will allow the foundation to spend money on programming or preservation efforts, the news source stated.
More than a half-dozen Valley companies volunteered their services, technology and manpower for the project, which was called the Energizing Taliesin West program.The system was donated by Tempe-based First Solar, which didn’t hesitate to give the 250,000-kilowatt solar system, estimated to cost $1 million in initial installations, reported the newspaper.
Big Green Zero started the project by doing an assessment of the property early in 2011, which Bob Roth, founder of the company, said took several days. When the assessment was completed, all the workers gathered in a room to share their findings, and the room was later revealed to be Frank Lloyd Wright’s office.
“It struck me, literally, as I was sitting in his studio, at his desk, that he had this action for innovation and using the technology that was available to make places more comfortable and affordable,” Roth said to the Republic. “Here we have this 1937 laboratory, and we have the ability to demonstrate this.”
Another solar project, which is being touted as the world’s largest solar concentrating plant, is under construction in Arizona and was recently announced to be half finished, according to Sustainable Business.