But solar carports are slowly and surely covering some of that space, using photovoltaic panels to generate power and shade the cars underneath.
American Clean Energy and Envision Solar have unveiled a new product, and a leasing structure, that may aid in covering up some of the empty asphalt in New Jersey, which not only trumps almost every other state in solar development, but has no shortage of parking lots.
The two companies announced today that their new joint product, the Solar Tracking Tree, combines solar tracking technology with an electric-vehicle charging station, and not to mention, some added shade.
But an added bonus for the parking-lot owner who is considering the product is a new leasing option for the Solar Trees. The customer pays a low monthly fee for the system—no upfront costs.
“Our unique, patented design coupled with American Clean Energy's lease option should result in solar energy taking root to cover blacktop and concrete parking lots in New Jersey for the benefit of customers, patrons, employees and the environment," said Robert Noble, Envision Solar’s CEO, in a company press release.
The two companies are hoping the lease option will sweeten the pot for potential customers in New Jersey.
"The problem, particularly with smaller commercial solar canopy deployments to date, has been the inability to attain scale and scope economies,” said Steve Morgan, CEO of American Clean Energy. “Every installation until now has been a one-off design with a one-off PPA/financing arrangement. This product offering delivers to the promise of an attractive and functional solar canopy with financing 'in-a-box'. Construction activities are reduced to simple foundation construction, Solar Tree erection and electrical interconnection.”
Unlike most tracking systems, which use a fixed-tilt mechanism to follow the sun, the Solar Tree moves on a pivot, which allows it to stay on sun even if, heaven forbid, the sun begins spiraling in the sky.
According to American Clean Energy, each Solar Tree generates enough energy to remove 15 tons of CO2, replace the usage of 1,600 gallons of gas and power 2.5 homes.
Image courtesy of American Clean Energy.