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Clean Power EEPro creates more green jobs with solar power parking lots

Published on August 3rd, 2010 | by Tina Casey

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Solar Power Transforms Parking Lots into Green Job Generators

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August 3rd, 2010 by  

 
EEPro creates more green jobs with solar power parking lotsWhile fossil fuel companies in the U.S. are busily wrecking vast sections of the country’s natural heritage, a new energy resource has been quietly emerging from an unlikely source: parking lots.  More parking lots are being converted into solar energy farms that create clean, renewable power while also creating more green jobs in solar cell manufacturing, installation, and sales.

One relatively new player in the U.S. solar parking lot field is EEPro, an offshoot of the German company EEPro GmbH, which started up operations in North Carolina last year. Its main product consists of photovoltaic units mounted on steel frames, which dovetails neatly with support for renewable energy by the United Steelworkers and other labor groups that see a rich trove of new green jobs in the emerging green economy.

The Benefits of Solar Parking Lots

The basic idea behind a solar parking lot is simply to incorporate solar panels into a carport, which is basically an open-sided shed with a roof.  Solar carports can be small enough to fit a single car at a residence, or scaled up for commercial and institutional purposes. The main benefit, of course, is to generate renewable energy that can be used to lower utility costs on site, for example at a mall or office complex.  Depending on the scale, the installation could also yield excess energy in the form of electricity for sale.  A solar carport can also help reduce the “heat island” effect of parking lots and contribute to a cooler community, and by providing protection from the elements it can help enhance vehicle lifespan.

Solar Energy Parking Lots and the U.S. Military

Foreign companies like EEPro GmbH may be seeing potential for growth in the U.S. market at least partly because of the enthusiastic leap which with the U.S. military has adopted alternative energy, which will hasten the transformation of alternative energy from a fringe source associated with the “fringe elements” of society  into a mainstream, all-American power source.  The military has also begun to incorporate a heavy dose of public outreach and education into its new alternative energy projects, one example being a huge solar installation at a New Jersey National Guard facility built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, complete with its own public solar energy information website.

Solar Parking Lots and Brownfields

The solar parking lot phenomenon also dovetails with a major ramping up of the EPA’s efforts to reclaim brownfields for alternative energy and green jobs.  Like parking lots, brownfields are large patches of land (former industrial sites with varying degrees of contamination) that have already been paved over or otherwise altered by human activity, so it makes sense to put them to work at generating clean energy.  It’s a safer, less riskier alternative to harvesting fuel from productive land or marine ecosystems that could be used for other purposes such as food supply, recreation, and nature conservation.

Image: Courtesy of EEPro Solar.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alec-Sevins/100001026837377 Alec Sevins

    Along with fossil fuel extraction, wind turbines are a major landscape-destroyer, with a hypocritical green badge. Solar farms out in the desert aren’t much better.

    It makes infinite sense to use solar panels on existing built-over acreage vs. expanding the scope of man-made intrusions.

    • Anonymous

      Well, wind farms & Solar farms, no matter where they are, are worlds better than coal plants. But your general point that it would be better to build as much as we can on roofs is a good one. Agree on that point

  • Graham

    Great project. Do these panels (parking roofs) also collect rain water? Who do I contact for costs and plans for these solar parking lots?

  • http://www.str8gt.com GrowTaller

    Hello,very good article. Infos are pretty interesting and saves me many time which I could spend on something else instead of searching :) Thanks and waiting for more posts like this one.

  • Alex

    Great idea! I always thought parking lots would be a great place to have something like this. Only, if you had electric cars you could have charging stations in there as well so that maybe a V2G concept could apply…the possibilities are endless! the point is, the technology is here and we can take advantage of it.

  • Arizona Solar Panels

    Projects like this are exciting. Stanford scientists just announced a new technology that sounds like it will make solar power as inexpensive as oil. Finally!

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