The Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada) is about to have its art glass windows (“Lux Gloria”) complete with solar panels hooked up to the Saskatoon Light & Power’s distribution network. It’s not often one sees beauty and utility combined. You can see the stained glass windows as they appear, from outside the cathedral, on this book cover for “A Beacon of Welcome” A Glimpse Inside the Cathedral of the Holy Family,Emily Chung’s July 29, 2013 news item for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) online describes the project at more length,
“Lux Gloria” by Sarah Hall, at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, is currently being connected to Saskatoon Light & Power’s electrical distribution network, confirmed Jim Nakoneshny, facilities manager at the cathedral.
The artwork, which consists of solar panels embedded in brightly coloured, hand-painted art glass, had just been reinstalled and upgraded after breaking and falling into the church last year.
According to Kevin Hudson, manager of metering and sustainable electricity for Saskatoon Light & Power, the solar panels are expected to produce about 2,500 kilowatt hours annually or about a third to a quarter of the 8,000 to 10,000 kilowatt hours consumed by a typical home in Saskatoon each year.
In fact, the installation will become Saskatchewan’s first building-integrated photovoltaic system (BIPV), where solar panels are embedded directly into walls, windows or other parts of a building’s main structure. It’s a trend that is expected to grow in the future as the traditional practice of mounting solar panels on rooftops isn’t practical for many city buildings, including some churches.
Chung’s article features some specific technical information about the solar art windows supplied by artist Sarah Hall,
In the case of the Cathedral of the Holy Family, each solar panel was a different size and was trapezoidal in shape, Hall said. As a result, “all the solar work had to be hand soldered.”
Because the solar cells aren’t transparent, Hall adds a high-tech “dichroic” glass to the back of the cells in some cases to make them colourful and reflective.
You can find more images of Hall’s work on her website. Unfortunately, Hall does not provide much detail about the technical aspects of her work.
The Cathedral of the Holy Family features a book about their stained glass windows,Here’s more information about the book,
“Transfiguring Prairie Skies” Stained Glass at Cathedral of the Holy Family written by Bishop Donald Bolen and Sarah Hall, photography by Grant Kernan and Sarah Hall. A 116 page hard cover book which includes incredibly detailed close-up shots of our stained glass windows, complete with poetic and theological reflections for each window.
Cost is $25.00
You can visit the Cathedral of the Holy Family website here.