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Solar Parking Lots: Charge While You Park!


We have written before about the idea of combining parking lots with photovoltaic arrays. The benefits are obvious - parking lots already provide plenty of sunlight-rich acres, so why not harness it? Furthermore, with the solar panels propped up above the cars, the entire array forms a “canopy” which provides welcome shade for the vehicles. Applied Materials - a Silicon Valley manufacturer of semiconductors, LCD displays, and other high tech equipment – has just built one such array over its company parking lots; the 2.1 megawatt system is reportedly the largest in its class.

Although I imagine that Applied Materials will be using its electric power to generic cialis online contribute to its existing energy uses, it would be interesting to think about combining parking lot solar arrays with EV charging stations. For example, a 2 megawatt array could provide each of 1000 cars with 2 kilowatts of power, roughly the same amount you draw from a circuit in your house. And if that circuit in your house will theoretically be able to charge your plug-in hybrid, so should your solar parking spot!

A parking lot that charged electric cars could play an important role in a future infrastructure where we will need charging stations in public places. If electric car drivers are to have the levitra drugs for sale online same freedom we have today with gasoline, such stations will need to be everywhere. Shai Agassi wants to solve this problem by integrating thousands of new charging stations into the electric grid, which is what China seems to be doing too (see post below) . The Chevy Volt addresses the problem by providing drivers with a backup reserve of tramadol buy online fuel. A solar parking lot would provide an off-the grid, centralized hub that could be placed anywhere sunny enough.

Via CNET Clean tech - image courtesy of KYOCERA

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Comments (13)Add Comment
written by Picky Mc Picky, September 22, 2008
As I stated in another post, The Volt, according to an interview by one of their Big Wigs, WILL have a photovoltaic accessory that can be placed on its roof while parked in the sunlight. An 8 hour day of PV charging will be more than enough to give the Volt a jolt in sales for those who travel more than it's 40 mile range to and indian generic levitra from work. If more hybrids and plug ins would have this accessory, there would be no need for expensive arrays. Talk about your clean energy...Theoretically, if he Volt was charged this way every day, there would be no need for to plug it in, making the Volt truly "grid and fossil fuel free".
Car Charging
written by Carl, September 22, 2008
I was confused at first driving past the Applied parking lot because the tramadol cheap no rx overnight rows of panels aren't facing south-- it looked like they were facing the wrong way. Turns out they have an east-west tracker that tilts the panels during the day, but are flat in the north-south direction.

Until we get way more energy from daytime renewable, we are better off feeding a solar panel to the grid and charging a car overnight (both cost and CO2).

An interesting tidbit-- the area of a parking lot space or carport is about what is needed in solar panel coverage to buy canada in viagra generate the energy needed for an electric car driven the average amount.
Solar a small boost
written by Anthony, September 22, 2008
200W x 8 hours is 1600Wh, or 1.6kWh. This is viagra pfizer canada enough for about 6-8 miles depending on conditions. However, that 200W isn't constant. I would expect between 800 and 1000Wh, or 4 miles worth of extra range from the spain female viagra solar cells on top of just try! cheapest viagra uk the Volt. Probably not worth it over the course of 10 years.
written by John Giezentanner, September 23, 2008
A similar idea for solar canopies occured to me this summer as my feet were burning on the asphalt. I'm glad to see that some engineers have thought of it too!
Wrong Solution?
written by Kevin, September 23, 2008
Why don't they just put the PV's into the roofs of the cars. Yes it will cost more to buy the car but there would be no ongoing costs associated with powering it. Pay $5K more but never buy fuel, and it will run for 25 years. I'd buy it, in a heartbeat, especially considering all this will do discount levitra is increase the cost of parking. Neither case will fair particularly well when it comes to multi-level marking which is the wow look it cialis overnight delivery clear majority in urban areas like Toronto.
written by Ken Roberts, September 23, 2008
PV's on the tops of cars are not large enough to save you a significant quantity of fuel. People often overestimate the amount of discount cialis india power you get from PV's. It's not very much power at all.
Great Idea
written by Eco Friendly Justin, September 23, 2008
They have some really great ideas in the world. I'd like to see some of them actually get out to use
written by Brian, September 23, 2008
I agree it won't help with multi-level parking, but there are many times more open, ground-level parking lots in the world where it would work.

Whether you feed the power to cars or the grid, this idea makes sense on many levels if/when the photovoltaics are cheap enough. Any shaded spot in a parking lot around here is always the first place people park.
written by Aimee, September 23, 2008
A solar array in the roof of a car is a great idea, and will probably happen, but it will take awhile to implement due to design and safety issues, particularly how it behaves in crashes and rollovers. A car's roof is pretty tightly engineered, and figuring out how to replace part of it with a new material, and doing the testing required, will take some time.
written by Jake, September 23, 2008
Fresno State university put up a 1.1 megawatt solar parking structure. The project was finished last year.
Putting PV on car roofs
written by Carl, September 23, 2008
The Chevy Volt is supposed to have a PV roof option, but it's to run the best viagra price air conditioner, not to self-power the car. If a roof PV charges the car to and from work, you are close enough to walk!

Here is the math... My car has a 1.6m2 roof, and at 10% PV efficiency would yield 0.8kWh/day, or 3.3mi range at 4mi/kWh. My carport is 15m2, yielding 7.4kWh/day or 29.5mi. An extended carport would be 23.4m2 for 11.5kWh/day, 45.9mi, about the average driving distance.

There is a factor of 10 in the amount of power from a carport to car roof, and you can put a PV over parking areas that have sun exposure the whole day, instead of sometimes depending on where a car is parked.
More Benefits
written by Kiwi, September 24, 2008
Don't forget the added advantage that the cars will stay cool so less air con usage. while it may not be much over one car's lifetime, in a 1000 car parking lot, being used 240 days a year, it will added up, especially in places like Az and Nv.
Small changes, multiplied by millions, make a big difference. Bring on we use it woman and levitra the big box parking lots!
many Companies Are Already Working on Th
written by Peter Oppewall, September 25, 2008
Companies like Envision Solar are already building consumer level solar garages that are grid connected. You can also plug in your PHEV to them.
Many companies are building infrastructure support for electric cars. Here is one source of information

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