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Solar Canopies

PACE solar canopies over parked cars

Connecticut has set an ambitious target of achieving a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040. Meeting the state’s clean energy needs will require a range of renewable sources, with solar playing a significant role. The siting of solar projects, at times, has led to conflicts between the interests of clean energy and the preservation of prime agricultural land and forests. One way to avoid or minimize such land use issues is to site solar arrays on land that has already been “degraded,” such as parking lots and brownfields.

 

The PACE Solar Canopies initiative provides a data set of potential for solar canopy sites in Connecticut, as well as resources for communities wishing to implement canopy projects in their towns. As part of the project, PACE estimated the amount of solar that can be sited in parking lots across the entire state. This research demonstrates that solar canopies can be a major component of the future electric sector in Connecticut. Implementation of this technology needs to be supported by public policy. To this end, PACE has also created state-level policy recommendations to support the widespread adoption of solar canopies.

The study used geospatial analysis tools to examine large parking lots in every town in Connecticut and estimate the size of solar canopy arrays that could be sited in each lot. The interactive map above shows all 8,300 potential sites in the state and information on the estimated solar canopy production in each town. Overall, we found that solar canopies have the potential to produce 37% of the state’s current electricity consumption!

Solar canopies offer many benefits. These include:
  • Preservation of Agricultural Land and Forests
  • Local Distributed Energy Generation
  • Pairing with Electric Vehicles and Battery Storage
  • Reducing Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Environmental Justice Implications
  • Reduced Energy Costs
  • Protection from Elements

Contact us at PACE if you would like to learn how to promote solar canopies in your town.

Useful Links
PACE solar canopy over parked cars

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