Solar You Can See

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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.

Envision 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.




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