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    zapkitty wrote:

    Value added (for example, solar panels that double as carports in parking lots)

    Negative. As solar panels are not self-supporting and are unable to shield a car on their own then you must regard the panels as a burden on the actual carport itself.

    That seems a rigid way of looking at things. Perhaps you have a lightweight carport in mind, and a flat solar panel in mind, and don’t see the design possibilities.

    As far as I can see, these solar panels are all on poles (for rotation? To better face the sun) – so if you just incorporate a taller pole in the design so that cars can park under – you’re all set. Hey, presto, instant car shade. It’s synergy, and that’s value added.

    Plus, if people are too cheap to make carports in mall parking lots – but then someone says, let’s put in solar panels and they will double as parking cover – and that becomes the justification for the carport – that is great. Dual purpose, synergy, value added. Oh, and the panels can have outlets so people can charge their cars in the parking lot, or their mobiles, or whatever.

    You’ve got to start thinking outside the box.

    Solar Panel Mosaics
    I also got into trouble with a rigid engineer when I said, why are these panels all BLACK. Wouldn’t it be cool if you added some color and used that for design – so that you actually make buildings and fields more attractive with the panels and…

    This fellow exploded that this was a ridiculous idea – black is the most efficient for energy capture and splutter splutter splutter. Dude, stop being such a hater. I’m sure you can set aside some of the space, a percentage, for color, since design has economic value. (Heck, think of embedding a corporate logo into the design of the panel by just changing the tint on a few of the wafers.) So you get a trade off. I suspect the designed panels will actually be more desirable than the efficient all black ones. Just like people pay $5 for a cup of coffee at starbucks.

    You have to think of the whole portfolio – the package – the bundle of benefits that you get from something. The whole is often greater than the sum of the parts. Don’t just see it one way.


    Solar panel carport mosaics – you know I’m going to split this off as a new topic.


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