It’s hard not to notice how many parking lots sprawl across this city. Seems a shame to waste all that land without taking advantage of it somehow, other than parking lots. A movement that is growing in the Solar Panel world is Photovoltaic (PV) panels over carports. This method of solar energy saves room, and generates energy for a neighboring property. The cost is of course still a factor. Some day we’ll see the price of PV panels reach consumer level acceptance, but for now, the whole notion is still out of reach for most Americans.
One disadvantage to populating parking lots with PV panels might be neighboring buildings. If sun, or at minimum sufficient light, can’t reach the panels for long enough, then the whole plan is rather limited. Therefore, positioning panels in such a way as to maximize solar gain is critical. There is also a misconception that norther states like NY don’t get enough sunlight. There is plenty of sunlight up here though, even during dull winter months. The fact is that PV panels have advanced considerably over the years, and even a little light goes a long way. They are not as efficient as we would like, that’s for sure, but the industry as a whole is heading in the right direction.
Now what we need is a strong economy to bolster our government’s commitment to subsidizing more research on a greater scale so that we, Americans, can be more competitive in the world marketplace. I was told by a PV panel expert recently that New York State is one of the leading states when it comes to state funding of these types of projects.