Although it seems like it might be over, the summer still has a few weeks to go. What does this mean for us? This indicates that there will probably be at least a few more hot days for us to deal with before the cool autumn air rolls in. Arguably, the worst part about these types of days is how hot your car gets when you can’t find a shaded spot anywhere in the parking lot. This may become a problem of the past, if canopy makers have anything to do with it.
The majority of canopies and carports are used for these reasons as it is – protecting vehicles from the elements – but some towns are looking to make them even more useful. In an article from Physorg, the canopies are being fitted with solar panels to collect energy while shielding the cars from the sun. This isn’t anything new (I’ve written about it before) but the solar canopies we’re talking about are very different:
“…they’re big silver specimens with 12-foot-tall trunks and broad steel canopies that will shield cars from the sun – and produce solar power. Known as ‘solar trees’ because they are topped with photovoltaic cells, the ‘groves’ are sprouting up in California parking lots at Santa Clara County government buildings and health clinics in San Jose and Gilroy, and at a jail in Milpitas.”
The installation costs of this type of project might seem too much to handle in a rough economy, but just think about the money being made on the backend. According to the article, greenhouse gases will be cut down and $18 million will be saved over the course of 25 years. The real beauty of these solar trees however, is not the shielding of heat, is the space they take up:
“The solar trees at the eight sites will eat up only six of more than 1,000 parking spaces.”
Now that’s environmental and friendly!