U.S. Navy Approves Solar Powered Parking Lot

by , 09/21/10

solar powered parking lot, solar parking lot, stronghold engineering, u.s navy parking lot

As part of the U.S. Navy’s bid to utilize more renewable forms of energy, the military service is reportedly aiming to spend $100 million on new solar projects, one of which is to construct a new $1.9 million solar parking lot at the U.S Navy Seal Beach facility in California. With funding from the Federal Recovery Act, the new facility will hopefully save the base $30,000 each year in electrical costs, as well as create a host of new construction jobs.

solar powered parking lot, solar parking lot, stronghold engineering, u.s navy parking lot

Image from Flickr (A solar car park in Arizona) via kevindooley

It will not be the first solar installation that the Seal Beach facility will have seen, in fact it will be the third with Stronghold Engineering aiming to have the three systems total more than 2,000 solar panels and provide 6.5% of facility’s power needs. It will be a major boost to the Navy’s renewable efforts which aim to see an increase in renewable energy use of 7.5% by 2013, as laid out in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. If it continues at its current rate, it should meet that requirement with no problems.

The aim of a solar powered parking lot is to use the space that is taken up by unshaded asphalt parking lots. Instead of letting the sun roast vehicles in the open making them uncomfortable for the long drive home (as well as requiring air conditioning), solar parking lots aim to use the wasted energy to power nearby buildings or put it straight into the grid. They can also be utilized as charging stations for electric vehicles.

Using steel mounted photovoltaic panels, it is hoped that solar parking lots will not only increase construction jobs, but also revive the struggling US steel industry. Other military branches are also planning similar projects with the National Guard developing solar parking lots as well as companies in the private sector (such as Dell utilizing solar trees at their headquarters in Texas).

+ US Navy

Via Green Energy Market

Lead image from US Navy.mil

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1 Comment

  1. lazyreader December 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Let me get this straight. The Navy built a solar array across it’s parking lot at the cost of 1.9 million dollars (all Stimulus money). It’ll only save 30,000 dollars a year for them. Which means it will pay for it self after 63.3333 years (assuming they don’t spend those savings). If for instance they put the saved money in the bank to collect with interest. So say the payback could be under 40 years or so. But as for the panels, they’ll be obsolete in about 10 years. And removed after 15-20, Now you have to contract, pay and install new more modern ones and pay for the safe disposal of the old panels, as these high efficiency solar cells are made of gallium arsenide (arsenic compounds for all those who failed chemistry class) and germanium, not silicon. Don’t forget the cost of maintenance, cleaning and service. Where’s the cost saving. All it will do is generate only a fraction of the power needed to run the base. It’ll look good when politicians stand there to cut the ribbon and maybe shade the Admiral’s car so it’s cooler in the summer.

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