Saskatoon, one of the sunniest cities in Canada, has become the site of the world’s first cathedral to use solar-powered stained glass technology.
Located on Attridge Drive, Holy Family Cathedral is the province’s newest cathedral that will utilize solar-powered stained glass, an art form known as Lux Gloria.
Three panes of trapezoid-shaped stained glass adorn the south face of the cathedral at 107 feet off the ground. The largest window is 37-feet high by 12-feet wide and a total of 54 solar panels and 1,113 hand-soldered polycrystalline solar cells were used in its construction.
In a city that receives 2,381 hours of sunlight annually, it seems fitting that Saskatoon is at the forefront of such green technology.
The estimated cost of the solar-powered stained glass was $700,000. The solar glass will collect the energy-equivalent of what three or four households annually consume.
Holy Family’s bishop Don Bolen said that solely relying on solar power to run a facility that totals 5,550 square-meters is far-fetched but was optimistic the cathedral is setting an environmentally responsible example.
“It’s a small percentage but it’s a step forward,” added Bolen. “Maybe some day we’ll be able to produce beautiful works of art with solar panels that can power the whole building.”
Typically religious institutions have not promoted green technology. However, Holy Family Cathedral’s stained glass artisan Sarah Hall thinks this is what made the project unique.
“I think it’s great to have a cathedral looking towards the future. Most of the time churches and cathedrals have embraced their past.”