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johntwoods t1_ivmazzf wrote

Every time I see a parking lot here in the United States in July or August I always think why the fuck is this not covered in solar panels?

So, good on France.


kosmonautinVT t1_ivmeyt4 wrote

We want our cars as hot as the Devil's asshole and we like it that way


press_F13 t1_ivmk4x8 wrote

Cover the cars with el-voit-coating, then send the electricity via WiFi/Bluetooth

Ok, now, how to transmit electricity like that ...


beachjustice t1_ivno4tk wrote

No no no just use that electricity to power an extremely bright light and shine it into another solar panel!!


datascience45 t1_ivp4eil wrote

Give the cars the COVID vaccine and they will be able to receive the electricity!


Rokmonkey_ t1_ivmpi2g wrote


The higher they are off the ground the more steel you need to keep them up. They are more subject to wind loads. They are also more difficult to service.

Then you ask how high to make them. Tall enough for a Tesla, a crossover, a lifted pickup, a semi, taller?


johntwoods t1_ivmq5v1 wrote

10' high ought to cover the vast majority of consumer grade vehicles on the market.

So, 10'.


corrado33 t1_ivmrcqi wrote

Yeah it's not a particularly hard question to answer. Just ask yourself this.

How high are bank teller windows? How high are parking garages? How high are the lowest acceptable bridges off the roadway?


DonarArminSkyrari t1_ivmsesr wrote

Yeah, I think the best the US could ever usually do is post these at least at semi tier. There are a lot of semi drivers with sleeping cabs who use empty parking lots overnight. Plus uh, I know specifically of at least one bridge that's got at least 12 signs on each side warning about its height limit and despite that people hit it at least once a month, I imagine the same risk with solar panels would be quite expensive.


greenmachine11235 t1_ivna3uh wrote

There are bridges with heavy steel beams in front of them to keep people from hitting the bridge by having them hit the beam. I imagine something similar could work there if it really became an issue


tinacat933 t1_ivnekr5 wrote

So leave some space for the semis or larger vehicles without coverage


KingBooRadley t1_ivpcru9 wrote

I don’t know if French people park many semis in public parking lots. I’m guessing Non.


DonarArminSkyrari t1_ivnjm6k wrote

Depends on the parking lot. One for a grocery store or a mall or strip mall? Sure, plenty of space that would make sense and could easily be worked around. But for a fast food joint or convienence store, most would need to be uncovered and just spackled with a few token areas for panels, and for most hotels I've seen more than half would have to do the same as well. These are sometimes the only places these people have for miles. These aren't easy to turn vehicles either, they usually look for empty parking lots because of how wide their turns are, and I've seen gas trucks hit dumpsters and randos driving uhauls hit gas pumps. If every panel isn't by default hung high enough that a semi couldn't accidentally hit it, it will get hit at least once within a year, and if there's a support beam within the bounds if the parking lot that will get hit at least once every 2. We still have plenty of good places to put panels though where they aren't at risk, every rooftop, all over signage, mounted like a Canopy plenty high up over various public areas, I just think it's logistically impossible to cover every parking area in the US with them without having so many exceptions that it becomes untenable.

On a slightly separate note, parking lot sidewalks are one of the few places I can ever find to sit down and relax on a walk. Everywhere around me that isn't a public park has gotten rid of sitting areas and public benches because they draw in loiterers, drunks, and drug abusers, or at least that's the excuse used. It's fucking sad that part of me is upset at losing what's objectively and already sad thing to latch onto.


tinacat933 t1_ivo8i28 wrote

Yea why not roofs of buildings like costco


Tobias_Atwood t1_ivpp4tg wrote

Honestly I gotta wonder why every business in America hasn't at least tried to budget for rooftop solar. Once you get it installed that's easy money off all your power bills.


twokietookie t1_ivod90v wrote

You do like drive thrus put a hoop at the entries with a tube hanging from it so if you're too tall it bangs your shit.


imnotsoho t1_ivmtecm wrote

Will those solar panels ever produce enough electricity to produce the steel needed to build the supports? If not they are carbon positive (not in a good way) from the start.


TheThiefMaster t1_ivo3i4u wrote

Steel is ~6000 kWh/ton to produce. My home solar array has so far produced 26000 kWh. I think they'll be fine.


rileyoneill t1_ivni99r wrote

The parts are fairly standardized and are a commodity product. Servicing them is not a huge deal. I have seen several of these covered parking lots here in California. 3ish acres of parking would be a 1MW system, which would generate enough energy for 3000-4000 miles of driving per hour of sunshine, if they were selling it to EV owners for 15 cents per kWh they would be selling like $150 per hour, 2500 hours per year, $350-$375k per year, on a system that was maybe $2M to build, not a bad investment, $100k per year profit after financing costs for the first 10 years.


tomfreeze6251 t1_ivoduwz wrote

If it makes sense financially, then why aren't the parking lot owners making the decision themselves?


Cat-in-a-small-box t1_ivojq8n wrote

But don’t the systems need to be maintained and updated semi regular? That would drive costs up after a certain time, making it less profitable.


rileyoneill t1_ivou8do wrote

They need to be cleaned, and if something breaks they need to be fixed, but they are pretty low on maintenance.


RoboFeanor t1_ivoy4n9 wrote

The French law makes exceptions for truck parking, and in 5 years in France I never saw a single lifted pickup.


Rokmonkey_ t1_ivpl4m3 wrote

Sure makes sense, I'm American so there are different considerations here.

I'm also not against this, just answering the question. The higher off the ground the panels are, the more it costs. Its a cost benefit calculation.


shitposts_over_9000 t1_ivoaf11 wrote

Parking lots where I am are about $3 per square foot.

Solar cells are about $9 per square foot.

You are quadrupling the price before you even get into having to add the frames to elevate them above the 14' minimum clearance, bury all the additional cabling and infrastructure or deal with all the additional permitting and regulatory compliance not to mention liability of you previously open lot now being a code compliant structure.

After that you also have all the headache of actually plugging the cells into something productive.

Industrial power like you would find in a large grocery store makes it nearly impossible to simply backfeed like you would residential solar so you would either need an independent system that used it for something like charging batteries that can later be used for something or a second utility service specifically for the solar to dump it's excess. If you go the second route and you have a decent sized parking lot that is going to require a dedicated run to a substation in some cases because the local distribution lines aren't sized for that kind of local load.

If the cells are doing something productive they will also require maintenance far more than a parking lot that you can safely ignore for a decade or two at a time.

It will also make things in property management like snow removal far more time consuming and risky so therefore more expensive as well while adding additional pest control requirements for all the critters that will try and get into these structures and providing far more surface area for your vandalism cleanup folks to deal with.

All of these costs will be passed directly to shoppers and anyone using the utility.


hvdzasaur t1_ivpmoea wrote

I mean, France is pushing efforts to de-car it's urban centers. Having all this additional cost discourages the construction of new parking lots (which this applies to), and thus discourages vehicle traffic. It also helps prepare for the EU ban on ICE vehicles in 2035.


shitposts_over_9000 t1_ivpro34 wrote

Which if they were only applying this law to metros above a certain level of population density would make sense, but this just applies the cost to the bottom end of the supply chain across the nation and allows it to multiply as it flows up.

France has nationwide population density similar to the US midwest, the car bans only make sense in about 9% of the country, for the remaining 92% this is just added cost for near zero benefit.


hvdzasaur t1_ivqfey4 wrote

>France has nationwide population density similar to the US midwest

Not at all. France has about a population density of 117.7 people per sqkm or 304.8 per square mile. the US midwest supposedly has 90 people per sqmile, which is approx 34.7 per square km. France is more than 3 times as densely populated. Not only that, 44% of the country lives in the 20 largest metro areas. How is that in any way similar?

Did you confuse miles and km when looking up the numbers? r/confidentlyincorrect


BackgroundAccess3 t1_ivpu28r wrote

seeing as big parking lots are a big subsidy for car usage, maybe it's good if they cost more to build to reflect their environmental costs...


MAVvH t1_ivoej6m wrote

... why did you specifically say Tesla but non-specifics for the other vehicle types?


Rokmonkey_ t1_ivpkl6q wrote

Just the first car that came to mind as a not very tall vehicle most would be familiar with. No other reason.


Wafkak t1_ivprngo wrote

Enough for a hatchback, sedan or stationawagon. And a few spots for vans.


TingleyStorm t1_ivq1oif wrote

If you make them as tall as a standard overhang, like one you would find as apartment-designated parking, you will be able to fit almost all vehicles except for bro-dozers.

I’ve only ever seen people with semi trucks or campers park at the back of the lot anyways, so you wouldn’t have to cover the WHOLE lot


nobody2008 t1_ivml6n1 wrote

Here in Cali they do that. Libraries, schools, and other public places at least.


KO4Champ t1_ivnnx8w wrote

All buildings and parking lots should be covered in solar panels because duh. There are solar panels on a community college lot near me in LA and it always makes me happy.


daiaomori t1_ivooyep wrote

I worked with a company in LA for a while, and a pretty clever guy (no, for real - he was kind of the opposite of stupid) once argued against me when I said, listen, you have all those flat roofs, I mean, the major part of El Segundo is like that, and you have sun going crazy 12 month a year, plus you need a ton of electricity for all the ACs, why the heck don’t you put solar everywhere…

And he was „nah I don’t think it will pay off… I mean you need to replace them after 20 years or so, don’t you…“

Me, looking at my measly 900W solar array in Germany, providing for much of my basic electricity needs while it’s pretty dark here like 80% of the year o.O

Well, that was 10 years ago. I hear things have changed…


Mpikoz t1_ivnv0do wrote

With me it's those large warehouses, my god such a waste of chance to utilize all that rooftop real estate for energy production


drakeekard t1_ivqbzsc wrote

C'mon America...copy them. The planet would earn a big 'W'


Level1oldschool t1_ivmazi5 wrote

Glad to see that there are still some adults left that will step up. I would like for there to still be a livable planet for My grandchildren.


Fit-Calligrapher-117 t1_ivms5lp wrote

I don’t know how old you are but I want a livable planet for me!


Level1oldschool t1_ivncao1 wrote

Breaking 60. My generation continues to mess up the world because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by change. Not real proud of my contemporaries.


LifelessPolymath53 t1_ivp5f4l wrote

the new generation is destroying the world just as much. The blame isn’t all on yours.


Level1oldschool t1_ivrcwhw wrote

That’s true to an extent. But My generation and the previous generation are so set in the good old days that they resist any change. And voters in our age groups make up a larger percentage of the vote. The writing is on the wall about Climate Change, but they refuse to see it.


StealthedWorgen t1_ivmevld wrote

I'm taking the being gay and ending my genetic line route.


GoodMerlinpeen t1_ivntmcr wrote

Michelangelo and Da Vinci were gay, and they left humanity much more than simply children. I don't like the idea that all we can do for the future is make children.


OrlandoJames t1_ivo7xyz wrote

>Michelangelo ... gay

Not sure about this, no way a gay man would paint a peepee that small. /s


monkeyalex123 t1_ivmrhyg wrote

My university has it, and it just makes sense. Parking lots are enough of a waste of space, might as well provide shade and power with solar panels.


darthwilliam1118 t1_ivms8bm wrote

Europe has limited space and they want to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas.


Straightup32 t1_ivmhmb4 wrote

So who gets the electricity and who pays for the set up?


Claxton916 t1_ivmjjes wrote

Maybe I read it wrong but it looks like the business owners pay for it and the energy goes to the public?

It’d make more sense for the power to go to that particular business and then have the energy company buy the surplus to power homes.

I don’t have solar but my energy company has an opt-in program where they buy any excess energy, or all of the energy you generate.

If the energy companies are going to buy excess energy in France then it could be somewhat of an investment for those businesses.


thefpspower t1_ivml0h2 wrote

Usually it goes to the business first, surplus goes to the public and you get paid very badly for what you provide extra. It's unlikely to have much surplus at all though since businesses work during the day when production is high, so it's just cheaper electricity.


Claxton916 t1_ivmm8d5 wrote

It’s still somewhat of an investment though, no? Generating your own electricity rather than buying on from someone else.


thefpspower t1_ivmogdi wrote

Yes, for businesses it's very worth it, I know a company that moved CNC machines to another factory warehouse that had tons of solar panels because they had surplus and it pays off quickly if you use it.


Fit-Calligrapher-117 t1_ivmsbt9 wrote

I also don’t think this is supposed to be an investment as much as it’s supposed to displace the cost of paying for electricity generated from coal with clean energy generated on site


H1ld3gunst t1_ivqxviu wrote

I don’t know how it is in France, but in Germany there is higher payout if you only provide the net, without using any yourself, for bigger scale projects. It’s still not high, but it does pay over a while. The land directly next highways is often plastered with solar cells. Obviously it is profitable.

I’m guessing even more so on parking lots. You still have the parking lot. Only now it’s shady.


LuxTrustMobile t1_ivo95ek wrote

This is such a win-win! Your car is in the shade/out of the rain an extra energy. In most Western European countries it would make sense with the hot summers lately.


Reagalan t1_ivofiiw wrote

if this backfires, and it leads to no new parking lot construction at all, then good



ExternalConclusion23 t1_ivqavk4 wrote

It depends on the timeline and costs. I could see some parking taken offline if the cost is too high.


DarkSylver302 t1_ivoty7c wrote

Makes so much sense! Especially in sunnier places


achillymoose t1_ivp0zi4 wrote

That seems like common sense. Wish America would do this


primeprover t1_ivnz0ue wrote

Does this account for parking lots that get little sunlight? No point in some places


Spam_The_Chat t1_ivprfpr wrote

depends on their definition of large, but in what scenario would an ikea, costco or walmart parking lot get little sunlight?


primeprover t1_ivq41a8 wrote

Definitely depends. Was visualising inner city carparks surrounded by buildings


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LuminescentFart t1_ivpajrc wrote

I have to say, I have to commend the French on how pragmatic they are when it comes to their energy policies. Good on them!


LancelowDowell t1_ivq9dhd wrote

I used to live in Arizona, I always wondered why they didn’t mandate that all new homes had solar. You see more parking lots with Solar there at least, but why not go a step further and require new houses too


thefartingmango t1_ivqjx88 wrote

Won’t flying a helicopter become a nightmare


drewbles82 t1_ivok7zm wrote

Driving around, hell even flying over in Microsoft flight sim, makes you realize how screwed we are. We could have had every single new build with solar roofs, all cars parks, factories, warehouses, shopping centres covered with them. Then you go around at night and see the amount of waste, multi story car parks all lit up with not a single car in them cuz they close from like 8pm till like 7am, shops with big lit up windows but not open, just pointless waste. The whole system needs changing.


SansPoopHole t1_ivon1s3 wrote

But if it's covered in solar panels, where will you park your car? ;)


Croatian_ghost_kid t1_ivo0s8j wrote

How are parking lots defined, as in, how do you get around this new law?


[deleted] t1_ivp61po wrote



Croatian_ghost_kid t1_ivp8p0p wrote

So the article says car parks up until 400 have to put up solar panels in 5 years and above 400 in 3. This would be the new law


jadenbru t1_ivmuzqm wrote

Aren't solar panels fragile? Like wouldn't the weight of 2 tons be enough to break the panels?


1percentsamoyedmama t1_ivn8ts7 wrote

You put the solar panels over the parking spaces like an umbrella or canopy tent = covered parking and solar energy = win-win


carnoworky t1_ivmzv45 wrote

I was confused by the headline, but I think they're specifically referring to car parks, as in the multi-level buildings. Might be wrong though.


TheSheepPrince t1_ivn6r13 wrote

Isn’t the top level of a car park usually also for parking? So does this only apply to car parks with non-functional roofs, or do car parks need to sacrifice top level parking spots?


jadenbru t1_ivn2s6u wrote

Would that really bring in enough power to turn away from fossil fuels? Probably not, oh well, stay optimistic I guess


Pyroguy096 t1_ivomtn6 wrote

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 freaking heck, it says covered with, not paced with. Holy crap my guy


CurrentQuarter8791 t1_ivmij97 wrote

Parking lots?! and why is that?!


Gandalf2000 t1_ivmkfjd wrote

Because they're giant, flat spaces, in the middle of cities/towns, with no buildings. Perfect for building these type of awning structures with solar panels overhead. The cars parked below also have the benefit of being shaded from the sun.


mirddes t1_ivmlt5w wrote

because they're otherwise a massive waste of space


camocondomcommando t1_ivmkuli wrote

To "generate up to 11 gigawatts, which is the equivalent of 10 nuclear reactors, powering millions of homes"?!


rileyoneill t1_ivnhjzp wrote

11GW of solar at this scale would cost somewhere around $11-$16 Billion. 10 Nuclear reactors would cost $150B or more. Even with 4 hours of storage, or 50GWH, at $100 per KWH would add an extra ~$5B to the bill. If all the panels did was store power during the day and then use the power like a peaking plant in the early evening that would be useful.


magnumopus44 t1_ivmopcj wrote

*during the day when sunny. Solar does not power homes. I have solar and it's nice during the day but that's where it ends. The use case here would be to change parked EV's specially at a commercial parking lot where most cars would park during the day.


camocondomcommando t1_ivmp0wc wrote

I was just quoting the article, you know, the thing that nobody seems to read on Reddit...

And that would be an excellent use-case, as well as replacing defunct generation plants with battery storage locations.


dynex811 t1_ivmksvi wrote

Parking lots are for people to park their cars.


Far_Sided t1_ivmlvzs wrote

"But that's not important right now". Read this in a Leslie Nielson voice.


Fit-Calligrapher-117 t1_ivmsgvw wrote

Things can be used for more than one thing


dynex811 t1_ivn38ee wrote

True, when the pavement gets hot you can also use it for frying an egg. But since the fuckin libs are trying to take that away from parking lots I figured I'd keep this uplifting and leave it out.


Pretend-Row4794 t1_ivmupch wrote

This is cool but they support the weight of cars?? And what about rain? And people like to break shit


Pyroguy096 t1_ivon5bo wrote

Freaking heck, you're the second comment I've seen that thinks they mean that they will pave the ground with solar panels. They will COVER the lots. As in a canopy of solar panels. Is this a language thing or something?


Pretend-Row4794 t1_ivumrwq wrote

Well I knew practically you wouldn’t pave them into the ground. And where I’m from we don’t have parking lots with dolor panels so I had no clue. Also most parking lots are just open space with no roof so if it’s like a parking garage that makes more sense. I was mostly joking though sorry to upset you


Pyroguy096 t1_ivv7no7 wrote

You would build a canopy over the parking lot. It wouldn't make sense for a parking garage because they take the surface area that a large lot would cover, and instead stack it up. Solar panels need surface area.


CurrentQuarter8791 t1_ivmrlam wrote

Or is it because there's money in the solar panel business?


originaw t1_ivno0z3 wrote

There is some money there but the margin is on the smaller side. There’s been lots of solar businesses / companies that haven’t survived the 25 year mark (common warranty period for solar panels).