Shanghai Expo 2010 solar BIPV installations

Centered on the theme “Better City, Better Life”, the Expo 2010 hosted by Shanghai in 2010 explored initiatives around urban development. The emphasis on sustainability has brought large scale solar projects to the Shanghai Expo 2010.

During the expo and still afterwards till today, the China Pavilion – one of the few not-decomposed and still maintained pavilions – and the Theme Pavilion are both equipped with solar panels.

Back in 2010, China premiered a renewable energy showcase to the public: the then largest Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) roof project in China.

Solar installation on the China Pavilion

The installation consists of 1.264 solar panels, with a capacity of 302-kilowatt. The roofs and the outer walls consist of building integrated solar panels and the solar system is mainly installed on the China Pavilion’s 68-meter platform and its 60-meter sightseeing platform.


China pavillion

Theme Pavilon

At the Expo 2010, the Theme Pavilon has been the nation’s largest single solar roof. The electricity generated by the solar roof served on-site pavilions through the municipal power grid.

The solar panels cover 30,000 square meters, half of the total roof area. With the use of 16,250 polycrystalline silicon panels the gross power output is 2.83 megawatts.

Unlike typical rectangular solar panels, these solar panels are cut and shaped into patterns of 18 rhomboids (diamond shapes), each 36 meters by 72 meters and 12 triangles.

Sungrow Power Supply - 5MW Shanghai Expo

Sungrow Power Supply – 5MW Shanghai Expo

China Pavilion – solar installation

The sustainable theme of the Expo echoed China’s broader commitment to renewable energy solutions which is even stronger today. As part of its Renewable Energy Law in 2005, China established a target to generate 15% of its total electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

In 2009, China dedicated $440 billion in government funding solely to clean energy, fostering the emergence of renewable energy and sustainable development, including solar, wind, hydropower and biomass.

In December 2009, China passed a law requiring its electric grid companies to buy any and all electricity generated from renewable sources.

China’s commitment to renewable energy can be clearly seen in the wind mill manufacturing industry. In 2005, there was almost no Chinese presence in the wind manufacturing industry, and now China hosts the world’s largest wind market. As the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, China was responsible for one-third of the additions, experiencing industry growth of over 100%. Concerning solar, China now plays a dominant role in the global PV industry.

Shanghai Shenergy New Energy Investment

The Shenergy Group is a traditional energy company with investments in oil, gas and coal power stations. Shenergy developed the China Pavilion and the Theme Pavilion. The group has investments in Shanghai Waigaoqiao Electric Power Generating Company and the Wujing Thermal Power Plant.

Shenergy also undertakes energy saving and environmental protection initiatives. In 1993, Shenergy became the first Chinese energy company to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.




In 2008, formerly NYSE-listed Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. won the bid to design, develop and install the 3MW building integrated rooftop solar systems. On January 14 that year, Suntech announced the completion and grid connection of both the solar systems on the China Pavilion and the Theme Pavilion of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Even though other large manufacturer such as Trina and Yingli with its Curtain Wall BIPV modules offer BIPV modules, Suntech BIPV modules were the first choice, especially since Suntech back then was the most prominent flagship of China’s solar PV industry. Moreover, in that time Suntech had one of the widest range of BIPV modules amongst all Chinese manufacturers..

Suntech completed several other building integrated solar systems, including the 1MW BIPV facade at Suntech’s headquarters in Wuxi, the 120kW Beijing Jingya Hotel curtain wall and the 800kW Light Thru system on the Wuxi Airport. Suntech also completed China’s first 10MW utility-scale solar power project in Shizuishan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.


Sungrow, one of the major inverter manufacturers in China, won the tender of supplying PV grid-connected inverters for the 3MW building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) project at the World Expo Shanghai 2010.

They used a broad range of their solar inverters: in the range of 5kw to 250kw. The project’s on-grid power generation system is expected to last for a total of 25 years.

The inverters are produced in their factory in Hefei. Sungrow supplied the grid-connected inverters, monitoring systems, interfacing software and hardware. Further they continue to offer technical supporting services such as system improvement design and installation for the captioned project.

Another large project of Sungrow was the supply and use of their inverters for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Stadium Bird Nest.

About the author
Dricus is Managing Director at Sinovoltaics Group.Sinovoltaics Group assists PV developers, EPCs, utilities, financiers and insurance companies worldwide with the execution of ZERO RISK SOLAR projects - implemented by our multinational team of solar PV-specialized quality engineers and auditors on-site in Asia.Dricus is based in Hong Kong and has been working in the PV industry in China for 10+ years. Connect with Dricus on LinkedIn
Jorge Adame

Jorge Adame

on 13 Jun 2011

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