When you live in a city that has an over-abundance of surface parking, it can be a bit depressing just thinking about the wasted opportunities. Parking lots make boatloads of money and are cheap to build, operate and maintain. At this point there are no “incentives” for parking lot operators to do anything other than continue on with “business as usual”.
In the past, we have pointed out a number of ideas that would help to alleviate surface parking blight in Buffalo, from creating ephemeral business destinations along the perimeter of the lots, to various green adaptations that would transform the lots into more productive parcels of land (and more aesthetically pleasing at the same time).
Washington Post (WaPo) has published an article spotlighting an ingenious idea that’s time has finally come. Instead of simply using the lots for parking cars, an idea has emerged that transforms these lifeless urban zones into productive energy collectors. Solar Carports protect cars from the elements, provide energy for electric cars, and can generate excess power that can be passed back to the grid, or can power additional projects.
These types of solar arrays are not cheap, but the costs are coming down. According to WaPo, it’s the big companies that are able to roll out the Solar Carports, but that should change in the near future. A few states are offering financial incentives that are making these types of projects feasible – “[CarPorts] are mainly springing up in Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York and most of all California, which is more than half of the total market.”
To read the WaPo article, click here.