Tallest solar-sided building in North America under construction in Halifax

Does the exterior of your old building need a retrofit? Why not replace the walls with something that actually generates power, like solar panels. That's exactly what St. Mary's University is doing at their Loyola residence and it's about to break a record for how tall it is.

Halifax will soon be home to the tallest wall of solar panels in North America.

The renewable energy source is now being installed as part of a retrofit on the side of the Loyola residence building at St. Mary's University in Halifax.

"It's not something we were aiming for, to be the biggest and the best, it just happened," facilities management senior director Dennis Gillis told The Weather Network.

Engineers at St. Mary’s started looking at the integrity of the concrete façade of the 50-year-old building two years ago and determined it needed to be replaced. The school was hoping to integrate sustainable elements when they discovered that solar panel siding was an option.

Gillis said the concept is fairly prominent in Europe and slowly coming around in Canada.

Tallest solar wall - St Marys University - Nate Coleman

SMU electrical engineering students get a firsthand look at the innovative retrofit. (Nathan Coleman)

Content continues below

"It'll definitely provide power to the university and it'll lower our carbon footprint which is also very important too," Gillis added.

He explained that the panels will generate about 100,000 kilowatt hours per year with a carbon reduction in the range of 15 to 20 cars a year off the road.

Electrical engineering students at the university have also been monitoring the project first-hand as the construction progresses.

Watch the installation process and check out the panels in the video above.

Thumbnail image: A rendering of what the panels will look like once construction is complete. (St. Mary's University)

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly dated the building as 30 years old, when in fact it was opened in 1971.