Image credit: REM eyewear
Only the other week I posted about an innovative project to integrate solar power with food production, and while the photo-shopped graphics for that post may have left something to be desired, a new installation may give a better idea of what's possible. In what's billed as the "first, cable-suspended free span solar energy system" REM eyewear and P4P Energy have created a patented system that could help expand the potential for integrating solar with other types of land use.
From solar trees in parking lots to solar-powered transit stops, the new installation is hardly the first solar project to sit on top of other types of land use. After all, the age old solar roof is itself a multi-function installation.
Nevertheless, the makers claim that installing solar on cable could make installations over different applications, from aqueducts, irregular terrain, agricultural and brown fields, parking lots, and pedestrian malls and walk ways much easier and more cost effective. After all, if you can span hundreds of feet between supports, you are minimizing the need for disrupting the land, and you are saving on embodied energy and installation costs.
Perhaps most intriguing is the suggestion from P4P that these types of applications could be placed over aqueducts, as CEO Stephen Conger explained: "Over aqueducts, the system has the extra benefit of significantly reducing evaporation - saving as much as eight million gallons of water per year, per mile of aqueduct." Of course evaporation could also be prevented with any other kind of shelter, but if you're putting up a structure anyway, then having it generate power is an added bonus.