Park and ride: solar parking lots with EV fill-ups

California start-up Envision Solar sees electric cars filling up, and filling up in, the parking spaces of their sun-power lots.

Parking lots, cemeteries, golf courses and solar and wind farms take up a lot of space. But Architect Robert Noble is helping combine two of them: parking lots and solar.

For the last few years, Noble's company Envision Solar has been placing photovoltaic panels over the parking lots of UCSD, Kyocera Corporation (right), Dell, and Centocor.

(Note: A solar cemetery exists in Spain. The idea is simple enough, take something and install solar panels above it, though I wouldn't recommend it for golf courses.)

In parking lots, "solar groves" provide clean energy while giving shade to cars that otherwise might bake in the sun. But Envision Solar has been adding another use to these spaces: filling stations. With Coulomb Industries, Envision Solar developed a pilot project at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Their "solar tree" (right) has two AC outlets for charging electric vehicles with the sun's energy.

John Collins Rudolf reports for the New York Times:

Solar canopies may be a good fit for electric car manufacturers, which have faced the criticism that even while they reduce the consumption of oil, they require their own large increase in electric power generation. Without a major increase in renewable power infrastructure, that energy will come from conventional emissions-intensive sources like coal. At the same time, large utility-scale solar projects, which tend to be situated in remote desert areas, continue to spawn land-use disputes with conservationists.

Envision Solar details their CleanCharge Initiative below.

Related on SmartPlanet:

Images: Envision Solar
Via: Physorg, BNET

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