Surrounded by mountains, Turkey’s fourth largest city, Bursa, is already one of the country’s most verdant metropolises — and it’s about to get a little bit greener.
A mosque slated to be built in the western city of Bursa will produce 120 kilowatts of electricity from solar and wind energy, according to Turkish paper Hürriyet Daily News. But the building will consume just 50 kW of that, selling the rest to the national power grid.
See the design for the mosque after the jump.
First Turkish mosque designed to run on renewables
Turkey already has at least one mosque that generates and uses solar power, in a village in the Mediterranean province of Akkuyu. But Bursa’s mosque will be the first to be designed as a renewable energy producer/consumer.
Designed by architect Celik Erengezgin, the mosque will have solar panels on its roof and a wind turbine installed on one of its minarets, the towers from which Muslim muezzins call the faithful to prayer. Snow and rain water will also be collected for the mosque’s water needs.
Although the details haven’t been worked out, Erengezgin told Hürriyet, electricity may also be generated from the pe ressure that worshippers exert on the mosque’s floor.
“We will tell the worshippers, ‘You can charge your cell phones here, because you have produced this energy [while praying on the floor of the mosque],'” the architect said.
Erengezgin says he hopes the structure, which has already received positive feedback from Turkey’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, will be an inspiration for other mosques.
Solar capacity still very limited in Turkey
Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority currently limits the amount of solar power that can be licensed each year to 600 MW: a drop in the bucket of the country’s installed power capacity of 55,000 MW. Licenses are required for any power-generating installation greater than 500 kW.
Outside observers have pointed out that the country is well-equipped to become a renewable energy dynamo in its region, but bureaucratic obstacles and restrictive policies — such as the 600 MW limit on solar power — have held Turkey back from taking advantage of its remarkable renewable resources.
Bursa’s new mosque may well inspire other architects around the Middle East to go greener when designing places of worship. But as long as governments such as Turkey’s stand in the way of widescale renewable energy production, these mosques will continue to be rare, if admirable, exceptions.
Read more about renewable energy in Turkey:
Image via Julia Harte