Solar farms are proliferating on undeveloped land, often harming ecosystems. But placing solar canopies on large parking lots offers a host of advantages — making use of land that is already cleared, producing electricity close to those who need it, and even shading cars.
If Walmart installed solar panels over the parking lots of all 3,571 of its U.S. super centers, the total capacity would be 11.1 gigawatts of solar power — roughly equivalent to a dozen large coal-fired power plants. Taking account of the part-time nature of solar power, Pearce figures that would be enough to permanently shut down four of those power plants.
And, that’s just Walmart! Add in over 100,000 U. S. malls and it would seem that the conflict over so many solar array siting battles would vanish. Sometime, the most innovative solutions to the problems we face are really not that innovative after all. I think we could call them common sense.