Solar You Can See
An architect I respect very much recently told me he had no interest
in seeing solar panels merely attached to buildings; they should be an
integral part of the design. After all, the panels are rigid and
waterproof. Why not put those qualities to structural and architectural
use? Well, here's a company that is doing just that.
Solar designs and builds photovoltaic installations that do more than
just generate electricity. I especially like their "Solar Tree" idea,
which consists of pole-mountain photovoltaic arrays, deployed en mass to
shade outdoor parking areas while squeezing kilowatts out of solar
radiation that would otherwise just heat up cars and pavement. Even if
the electricity they produce were to power a nearby building, or simply
flow into the grid, drivers would still benefit from cooler cars and
lower air conditioning loads. And as electric cars take over the
national fleet, this application looks like a natural. --B.D.S.