Monday, June 27, 2005

"Solar Trees" provide power, shade

Although similar projects have been operational at public facilities (like the DWP headquarters) the idea of putting solar panels over parking lots is now promising to become more than just a demonstration project:

The company's so-called Solar Grove is an array of modernistic stanchions – "solar trees" in Kyocera's lingo – supporting about 1,600 photovoltaic modules over an employee parking lot adjacent to its North American headquarters at Balboa Avenue and state Route 163.

Beyond providing 186 covered parking places and a small fraction of the energy the company uses at its headquarters, Kyocera is marketing Solar Groves as a part of an effort to double revenue this year from its solar energy products.

The diversified manufacturer of electronic components sought to enhance the appearance of the arrays by emphasizing a tree-like aspect, with each solar canopy supported by a single stanchion but shading six vehicles.

Kyocera declined to specify the cost of the new solar array, noting that the facility is a prototype. But the company said about 40 percent of the cost was covered by California rebates for solar projects and that it would benefit from federal and state tax credits.