When joining a solar garden, location is key

To lower your energy losses
stick close to transmission lines

Solar carport reduces transmission losses-As global temperatures climb, the demand for electricity is increasing, and solar is becoming one of the cheapest sources. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, many are turning to solar community gardens to climate-proof their energy costs. This can decrease your electricity bill, but many patches of land being used for solar panels may not be so efficient.

new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences assessed the siting locations of 161 solar energy facilities in California. Researchers found that a majority of the solar sites were located in natural shrub and scrublands and less than 15% in developed areas.

Why should this matter to you? If your solar site is outside areas where people live, it may not be so cost-effective. The farther energy has to travel, the greater the energy losses (energy lost = reduced electricity credited to your account). And these new transmission corridors cost more to build, which raises your startup solar costs as well. Sourcing energy from an urban parking lot covered with solar panels is one way to stick closer to transmission lines and reduce energy losses. One solar carport installation at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ produces 8 megawatts of power, or enough energy to power 1,000 homes!

If you are considering making the switch to a solar garden, choose an installation in a dead-space area in your town, such as over a landfill, parking lot, or on a rooftop to help lower your transmission losses.

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