By Green Energy Times Staff
We have seen a lot of articles about solar installations, and have published on a number of different kinds of installations. There is one we have not been saying much about, and it is time to rectify that. It is putting solar panels above areas where people park.
The Minneapolis-St.PaulInternationalAirport is installing a three-megawatt array on its Terminal 1 parking building. The array will not occupy any land that is available for any other purpose. It will provide some shade for cars on the top level, but will not get in the way. A few problems with reflected glare getting into the eyes of pilots momentarily have been anticipated, but this is being remedied by adjusting the panels so they are not all aligned exactly the same way, and the slight misalignment will not alter efficiency appreciably.
We have also seen residential and business structures in New England getting solar systems on carports that also provide a place to park that is out of the weather. The advantage of combining land use for cars and solar power is increased by the fact that it is possible to use the panels as a weather shield for cars and people accessing them.
It is easy to see other places where solar can be used in combination with other uses, increasing the utility of land without reducing the use it currently has. The large parking lots (Park ‘n Ride lots) used by towns, schools, factories, and large stores very often have no trees in them, meaning that they get full sun. Solar panels that allow parking beneath can shade the road surface while making carbon-free power. Another idea can be taken from the past when sidewalks were once roofed over for the comfort of pedestrians; perhaps this could be done again with solar roofs in some places. A number of colleges have already done this, as well. We have an abundance of opportunities. Perhaps we should use them.