Modern parking lots occupy acres of land that could be used many other things. However as long as our love affair with the automobile continues we will need to park them somewhere right? Since we need these asphalt surfaces is there a way that we could make use of them to meet some other need that we have like say clean energy?
As we transition to electric cars and motorcycles having access to clean electricity to be able to recharge our vehicles while we are away from them becomes almost a necessity.
Enter the the solar power shading structure. With this technology not only are we able make more use of the land but we can power our cars and cities when the sun is shining and protect our vehicles from the elements while they are parked.
There are several companies developing this technology including Solarcity, Envision Solar, Solarshade, Solarire Generation, Solar Wing and Sundial Energy Inc.
SolarCity, has unveiled what they call the ZS Beam, which is a new product that allows solar panels to be attached to parking lot shading structures faster, more safely and at a lower cost than was previously possible.
According to SolarCity, the Zep Solar line should make it possible to build carport structures that create shaded parking and also provide solar electricity at a lower rate than electricity from their utility companies. SolarCity expects ZS Beam to significantly reduce the construction cost associated with solar carports.
In a recent report from GTM Research, U.S. solar carports are projected to grow from 180.2 megawatts of annual installed capacity in 2014 to a projected 317.9 megawatts in 2016. Doing the math this is a 76 percent increase in two years.
Here are some examples from the other 5 companies that we looked at.
Solar Shade Structures
This is a snapshot of some of the designs from 6 of the largest solar parking structure manufacturers that will no doubt generate free clean energy for many years while the costs for gasoline just keep going up.
Expect to see a lot more of these combined with electric car chargers as the world moves to electric vehicles.