MNN Galleries

Solar design never looked so cool: 7 modern projects

By: Bryan Nelson on May 9, 2013, 4:41 p.m.
Sonnenschiff and the Freiburg Solar City

Photo: Rolf Disch

3 of 9

Sonnenschiff and the Freiburg Solar City

It's one thing to build an energy-independent home or building; it's another thing to built an entire settlement that produces more energy than it consumes. That's exactly what the designers at Rolf Disch have done with the Solar City in Freiburg, Germany.

The rooftops of the settlement's buildings consist of large photovoltaic panels all pointed in the perfect direction, but they also act as a giant sun shade. So even as the sun beats down on their roofs, residents underneath can enjoy cool temperatures.

The solar community is anchored to Sonnenschiff, or the Sun Ship, a commercial building that is another marvel of solar architecture. In fact, Sonnenschiff was the first positive energy commercial building ever built.