Connecticut has set an ambitious target of achieving a zero-carbon electric grid by 2040. Meeting Connecticut’s clean energy needs will require a range of renewable sources, with solar playing a significant role. As expected, the search for sites for solar projects has led to conflicts between the interests of clean energy and the preservation of prime agricultural land and forests; these conflicts will invariably become more acute in the future. One way to avoid or minimize these inevitable conflicts is to site solar arrays on land that has already been “degraded,” including notably parking lots.
The PACE Solar Canopies initiative gives an overview of the potential for solar canopies in Connecticut and provides resources for communities to implement projects in their towns. In this initiative, 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 and that implementation of this technology needs to be supported by public policy. In addition to providing information on solar canopies to towns, PACE has 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:
Contact us at PACE if you would like to learn how to promote solar canopies in your town.Useful Links
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