ASU’s power parasol: Cutting-edge solar structure implements energy and shade to Lot 59


The massive Lot 59 parking area, located between Sun Devil and Packard stadium, was notorious for being one of the most sweltering parking lots on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Although being one of the more affordable ASU parking lots, the lack of shade and distance from campus made students dread the arrival to their car that had beyond question absorbed heat by roasting in the sun.

Lot 59 accommodates over 6000 parking spaces making it the largest black-top parking lots at the university. Because of the abundance of space and the powerful amount of sun directed in that area, Lot 59 grasped the attention of ASU and NRG Solar for the nation’s first PowerParasol™ installation.The PowerParasol™ project marks the first partnership between ASU and NRG Solar. The innovative solar structure began as the vision of Arizona-based Strategic Solar Energy, LLC. Construction began in August 2011 and was finished by December 2011.

PowerParasol™ is a 24-foot high solar-panel structure covering a vast 5.25 acres. The structure covers 800 parking spaces providing not only much obliged shade, but also sustainable solar energy from the panels that generate 2.1 megawatts of electricity. To give you an idea of how powerful 2.1 megawatts of solar energy is, consider that one megawatt of solar energy can power about 250 homes.

The sunshine that had previously heated up student’s cars has now transformed into valuable, clean energy through the PowerParasol™. The solar panels soak up energy from the sun while providing shade, yet still allowing natural light to shine through making areas of landscaping possible. When the sun goes down, the energy produced from the solar panels has enough power to provide nighttime lighting in the parking lot, power security cameras, and power vehicle electrical charging stations.

By implementing the PowerParasol™ over Lot 59, ASU takes a positive leap forward toward supporting solar energy in Arizona.

PowerParasol™ Grand Opening Video

PowerParasol™ Grand Opening Slideshow

Written by Gabrielle Olson, ASU LightWorks

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