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One way to spread
Small Energy Sources Everywhere
is to power everything possible with photovoltaic solar panels.
Other than rooftops (and outdoor green spaces), the largest urban
areas available for solar panels are driveways and parking lots,
ideal places for solar carports.
Plug-in Electric Vehicles
are parked, solar carports are especially effective to increase
their driving ranges under electric power.
Where vehicles are parked under the sun a potential space for
photovoltaic solar panels is wasted, especially for extending the
range of plug-in electric vehicles.
In the typical American city upwards of 50% of the land area is
devoted to streets and parking.
Large shopping centers, corporate offices, manufacturing facilities,
theme parks and airports
typically have huge open-air parking lots, creating an "asphalt desert"
which increases ground surface temperatures like big solar collectors.
Together with streets these contribute to the phenomenon of "urban
heat islands" causing some cities to be more than 10 degrees hotter than
These open-air parking lots represent a huge amount of space that
could be used to generate electricity, as well as providing other
benefits, if they were covered with photovoltaic panels to make
Solar carports not only provide a source of renewable electric energy,
they provide shelter from the sun, rain and snow for the vehicles.
Considering the potential to reduce urban warming and to provide a
ready supply of current to charge batteries in plug-in electric
vehicles, covering parking spaces with solar panels is arguably
a more effective environmental solution than putting them on the roofs
(This would be especially true if adjacent building construction isn't
suitable to be retrofitted with solar panels.)
Solar carports and parking lots with charging stations would greatly
increase the range of plug-in electric vehicles under electric power
The best places for these are where plug-in vehicles are parked for
most of the daytime, such as at the workplace.
Google's RechargeIT experiment did just that; they built solar carports
so that their plug-in hybrid electric vehicles could be charged
while the employees were inside working.
Where plug-in vehicles not used to commute to work are parked for
most of the day, whether in driveways at single-family houses or
in parking lots at apartment buildings, open-air parking could also
be covered with solar carports.
Solar parking lots at shopping centers, theme parks, airports, etc. could
include an additional fee for those choosing to charge their plug-in
electric vehicles while they're parked.
When the patrons are done shopping or being entertained, or have returned
from a trip, their plug-in battery electric cars could be charged enough to
return them home solely on cheap electricity instead of expensive fossil fuel.
Everywhere vehicles are parked in open-air driveways and parking lots,
shelter them with photovoltaic panels to create solar carports
and entire solar parking lots.
Provide electric outlets to charge the batteries in plug-in electric
vehicles while they are parked.
Where feasible, equip the solar carports with
to connect them to the (smart) electric grid,
and in addition, connect the electric vehicles they charge and shelter
Vehicle to Grid
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