Why Don’t We Cover Every Parking Lot with Solar Panels?

Large parking lot with solar canopies.


This is a question that I’ve been asked more than once.

It makes sense to install solar canopies in parking lots thus providing covered parking and generating clean energy at the same time. I certainly prefer being able to walk back to my vehicle protected from the rain or snow. What about those super hot days in the summer when your car has been baking all day in the sun…yeah a shaded parking space makes a huge difference.

What about electric vehicle charging? We keep hearing about the challenges of EV charging sourced from the outdated and extremely fragile electric grid. How about using solar canopies to address this problem? Seems sensible right, to generate clean energy at the parking lot and use that energy to charge your EV where you’re parked anyway?

Something else to consider when electric vehicle charging stations are added to the equation: additional revenue. Why would a property owner not want to monitize that single use parking lot with a passive revenue stream that EV charging provides? I personnally am more than happy to pay for charging my EV while at a restaurant, shopping, or attending a business meeting. In fact, I’m much more likely to make a purchase at a location that has EV charging stations, and then to return to that location frequently.

Here is some quick math that doesn’t necessarily apply to every situation but is, in my opinion, a good rule of thumb:

Clean Energy + Electric Vehicle Charging Stations + Covered Parking = Property Owner Win/Consumer Win/ Economic Development Win/Sustainability Win.

So why is every parking lot not being covered with solar panels? Andrew Blok asked this very question and has written a great article helping provide some answers to this and other relevant considerations, such as EV charging station infrastructure.