We’ve seen solar systems installed on the roofs of public buildings and parking structures before-the parking garage at Long Beach City College is a good example-but this is the one of earliest instances that we’ve seen of a completed solar system that actually functions as a roof itself. SolarWorld reports that it has completed construction of a parking-lot canopy system at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden which comprises 6,400 of the company’s high-performance solar panels.
SolarWorld says that the 1.56-megawatt system is considered the largest publicly accessible solar array in an urban setting. The system is made up of 15 solar arrays and covers 800 of the 1000 parking spaces at the zoo which amounts to about 4 acres of total coverage. The combined output of the system is expected to provide about 20 percent of the zoo’s power needs and potentially save millions of dollars over the coming years.
Canopy systems are designed to tap unobstructed air space to generate clean solar power whilst also providing shelter from all types of weather. SolarWorld reports that, this spring, the company will complete a 30-kilowatt canopy system for its own visitor parking lot in front of its recently expanded U.S. headquarters building in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Other solar canopies said to be under construction include a 17,000 square foot installation at the Arizona Diamondback’s stadium as well as one in Oahu, Hawaii.