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 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 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 fuel. A solar parking lot would provide an off-the grid, centralized hub that could be placed anywhere sunny enough.
written by Anthony, September 22, 2008
written by Eco Friendly Justin, September 23, 2008
written by Kiwi, September 24, 2008
written by Peter Oppewall, September 25, 2008
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