California Makes it Easy Being Green with Solar Carports


Solar carports are sprouting like mushrooms in California. Ersatz roofs made of solar panels are in dozens of school parking lots changing the landscape as well as changing the way young people think. This is made possible by business partnerships between bankers and school districts.

The solar panels provide affordable and reliable electricity which could last for 20 years. Solar carports have been installed in elementary, high school and community colleges in California majority of which is in the San Francisco area. The financiers of the project sells electricity back to schools and receive tax incentives from both federal and state governments.

This is not the first time this venture happens in California and schools were not the first to initiate such move. Google added solar canopies to the parking lots at its headquarters in Mountain View, California three years ago.

However, schools are leading the way. Michelle O’Shea, a science teacher at Leland High School in southwestern San Jose, was very positive about this system. “This will soon be the norm,” she told The New York Times. “It will be hard to imagine that we didn’t do this.”

The structures and their presence in the State are also changing the way students perceive energy generation. “Schoolchildren are growing up with it, so it becomes ingrained in their perception of how a society functions,” Brad Parker, a consultant on a solar carport project for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District in central California, told The New York Times.

The solar panels provide 75 percent of Parker’s district’s yearly electricity needs.

Solar parking lots are also present in New Jersey. There are two elementary schools and a middle school in Newark plans to install them.

Solar carports are becoming ever-present in a landscape. It provides the kind of aesthetic with a utilitarian feel and experts believe that it will someday change how city or district landscapes would look. Walter Hood, a designer in Oakland, told The New York Times that solar panel landscapes will become ubiquitous. “From schools to offices to malls, this could one day become as familiar as fire hydrants,” he said.