A start-up company called Envision Solar has begun installing solar canopies in the parking lots of shopping centers. These lots, usually barren, heat-producing landscapes, can now provide shade for customers, while generating up to a half-megawatt of electricity. Envision’s “Solar Groves” incorporate lights that turn on automatically at night, while blocking skyward light pollution.
Here are some more photos from Envision Solar:
Link: Envision Solar
16 thoughts on “Solar Canopies For Parking Lots”
This is truly amazing! We have some here in my town! It’s really cool!
Great idea…rather than “drill baby, drill” the mantra needs to be “research renewable baby, research!”
An amazing idea. So simple, so obvious. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Parking lots are an eyesore at best, a heat sink dead zone at worst; Envision Solar has done a real service in attempting to convert these empty spaces into energy-producing solar fields. Great work!
At last, an urban space conducive to green culture! There is a God! If I could plug in my electric commuter , even for a fee, while I was working of shopping, this would be a big plus! The Malls that let me plug for free would get my business! not good for Canada though, where would you put the snow!
As someone who describes myself as NOT an environmentalist, I happen to like this idea. (I don’t, however, like the idea that if a person isn’t “green”, then that means he/she MUST want dirty air or dirty water)
There are plenty of “green” ideas that I think are dumb (mostly because they aren’t as efficient as “non-green” products or due to the fact that us humans are nowhere near powerful enough to effect the weather) and there are plenty that I agree with due to the fact that I hate the thought of things going to waste. If electric cars were, one day, advanced enough to become more efficient that gas-powered cars, I would buy one, but everyone should remember that carbon-monoxide is, in fact, “plant-food” and takes up less than one percent of the atmosphere (the climate is affected more-so by water vapor and that massive ball of fire known as the sun).
With that rant out of the way, I would have my own ideas to add.
1-make it possible for it to revolve so it points downward during, say, hail storms (I realize not all areas get hail, but it would be worth consideration for those that do).
2-add outlets to the base for those hybrids to recharge as opposed to driving up the electric bill at home (note: pun not intended, eh, who am I kidding, it was 🙂
Wow this is a GREAT idea. I’ve had similar thoughts, such as draping unused roofs of buildings with solar panels, but this is more feasible.
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You can park your 100% electric car which you recharge using solar panels at home under these canopies too.
But we do advocate a car-free life as the most efficient option though.
solar canopies–feel less guilty about your 4-wheeled earth destroyer by parking it under solar cells!
great, hope my SUV can fit under this! heck, i might as well upgrade to a hummer now!
Tswassen near vancouver does not get much snow an gets lots of sun. We need these here!
And who has confirmed that these are weak? It looks like with a proper foundation they would be strong?
Not quite sure why they didn’t try to cover more space and angle the panels more given the location. There are many possible designs and its odd they picked this one.
Somebody needs to help us do startups like this; the best ideas are not the ones getting the startups. Not only winter issues to contend with; but these are not that stable. Over here the yearly thunderstorm would break dozens of those weak things.
@ Roger – How would they work out in the winter in Medicine Hat? Get any snow there?
What a great idea. I’d love to park my car in the shade under one of these canopies. On a sunny day my car gets so dang hot I have to open the doors and stand back. This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” great ideas. Good work, Envision Solar!
Olyimpics that is…
This is great! The sunniest city in Canada is Medicine Hat. We need this there! And in Vancouver for the Olimpics.
Just don’t put them in tornado alley.