Solar for Parking: Spot the Solar Canopy

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Visitors to the Cincinnati Zoo can now park in one of the 1,000 parking spots shaded by solar canopies. The canopies will provide 20% of the zoo’s daily energy needs.


NEWS YOU CAN USE: Solar for Parking

Solar patios and carports are a great way to go solar if your roof is not a good fit for panels. Image courtesy of Forterre.

Solar patios and carports are a great way to go solar if your roof is not a good fit for panels. Image courtesy of Forterre.

While everyone looks forward to the sunny summer months, it’s never fun to get into a hot car parked in the sun. Luckily, many homeowners and businesses are taking advantage of open parking areas to install solar canopy systems

Solar canopies (or carports) can cover a one-car carport or an entire parking lot. Some homeowners are installing solar carports to provide power for their homes and electric vehicles. Others are creating solar-powered patios in their backyards; a great option if your roof isn’t a good fit for solar panels.

Solar canopies are a great way to take advantage of the open space of parking lots or install solar in areas where roof space is not available. Many commercial or office buildings do not have space on their roof for solar because of HVAC equipment on the roof. Solar canopies allow these users to install a large solar system and offset a significant portion of their energy use.

An aerial view of the Cincinnati Zoo’s new solar canopies. Image courtesy of SolarWorld.

An aerial view of the Cincinnati Zoo’s new solar canopies. Image courtesy of SolarWorld.

The Cincinatti Zoo recently installed solar shades to cover 1,000 parking spaces, creating the largest publically accessible solar array in the country. About 1.3 million visitors will see the 1.56 MW system annually and the panels provide 20% of the zoo’s electricity each year.

 

 


TAKE ACTION: Spot the Solar Canopy in Your Community

Have you seen a solar carport in your community? We will feature your submissions on our Facebook page.

An aerial view of the Cincinnati Zoo’s new solar canopies. Image courtesy of SolarWorld.

An aerial view of the Cincinnati Zoo’s new solar canopies. Image courtesy of SolarWorld.


RESOURCES

Breaking the Gasoline Habit – This article details why a solar array is a cheap substitute for gas.

Solar Carports: Refueling stations of the future – This article gives a good overview of the benefits of solar canopies and why they can be a better fit than rooftop solar in some cases.

Solar Pergola – A few close up photos of a small solar pergola that you can install in your backyard!

Solar Canopies and More – This page on EarthTechling gives some great examples of solar canopy projects around the country.


SOLAR CITIZEN PARTNERS

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Vote Solar is hosting a webinar on reducing solar permitting costs on Wednesday, Jun 5 at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT. The webinar will provide an overview of permitting and other solar “soft” costs. Vote Solar will also introduce their new Project Permit initiative. Click here to register for the webinar.

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