Miami Solar Tower Idea Lacking Details

There are pie-in-the-sky green projects and there are high-in-the-sky green projects. And once in a while, the two come together. This seems to be the case with Solar Universe Miami, a proposed 1,000-foot-tall waterfront tower that would, says its developer, combine solar, micro-hydroelectric, wind power and biomass in a center for “tourism, recreation, education and entertainment.”

On its website, the developer says the tower, through that impressive array of renewables, would generate enough power not only for its own 164,000 square feet of space, but would provide “excess energy … at reduced cost” to nearby buildings. At the top, jaw-dropping views of Miami would be had from an observation deck, restaurant and lounge. And don’t forget the “state-of-art learning center, dedicated to conveying, in an interactive way, how exactly green energy works.”

Solar Universe, proposed Miami tower

image via Solar Universe Miami

Alas, says Luciana Gonzalez of the City of Miami Planning Department, Solar Universe Miami might be a long way from reality. In a telephone interview with EarthTechling, she noted that the developer’s bid for a permit was met with some skepticism when it was reviewed this past summer. And indeed, city planners wrote that “although the architecture of the Solar Tower is very sculptural and well designed, no details and materials have been provided.”

“The project got administrative approval with conditions,” Gonzalez said. “But there is much more they would need to do to get a building permit.” Gonzalez also noted that the tower’s proposed address is city land, presenting another complication. Plus, there’s the matter of financing. “We see many proposals that are granted approval, but actually getting a structure built — especially something this ambitious — can be quite another matter,” Gonzalez said.

Like what you are reading? Follow us on RSS, Twitter and Facebook to learn more and join the green technology discussion. Have a story idea or correction for this story you are reading? Drop us a line through our contact form.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.