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.
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.
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.
|Breaking the Gasoline HabitThis 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!
This page on EarthTechling gives some great examples of solar canopy projects around the country.
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.