This was submitted as an idea to the Politifest 2012 Idea Tournament. VOSD members will vote on the best ideas and on Sept. 19 we’ll announce six contenders (Not a member? Join now to vote). At Politifest on Sept. 29, each of the six finalists will have five minutes to pitch their idea to a panel. The panel rates the ideas and two finalists advance. The crowd at Politifest will vote on a winner. The winner will receive an “idea-inspired” trophy custom-designed by former City Councilwoman Donna Frye. VOSD CEO Scott Lewis will also write about the winner’s idea.

The city of San Diego should work with San Diego Gas & Electric and local businesses to erect solar collection arrays in San Diego parking lots. Large solar installations on parking lots, of which we have many square miles, would:

1. Generate considerable energy when we need it most (peak times in the hot summer).

2. Shade people’s cars as they do their shopping.

San Diegans will love this and SDG&E can make a killing. Imagine all of Qualcomm Stadium’s parking lot covered with panels. Unlike the desert arrays, solar array in parking lots will not harm ecosystems. Furthermore, shading the parking lots lowers the temperature of the blacktop and will cool the entire area, possibly reducing the amount of energy used for air-conditioning in nearby buildings. These installations already exist in San Diego at San Diego State University on the parking garage and at Kaiser Permanente (Zion Hospital). There is also a local company that specializes in parking lot installations, which are easily moved if necessary. I can tell you these solar array-covered spaces are the most sought-after spots in the parking lots. With the difficulties at San Onofre, San Diego needs every watt of energy it can get, especially with the future likely to include many more electric cars on the road.

Scott T. Kelley submitted this idea the Politifest 2012 Idea Tournament. Join us on Sept. 29!

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