MAY 2014 IN

Solar Arrays on Building Sites

Here is a new trend: commercial building sites being used for solar arrays. I first saw this in an office park that was drawn up to have eight office buildings. The first was completed and opened in 2010, in spite of the recession, but the others are postponed indefinitely and may be built around 2030 at the rate things are going. So why not use the second building site, already wired for electricity, as a place for a solar array? The electricity generated can go almost entirely to power the office building next door, and the solar panels look more intentional than the bare gravel that was sitting there for the previous six years.

A solar array is a much smaller project than the office tower that was planned for the site, but it isn’t necessarily a sign of a builder in retreat. The building can still go ahead when the occupant and financing come along. If there is a change of plans and the site has to be used for an actual building at some point, perhaps next year, it isn’t so expensive to set the solar panels aside for two years and reinstall them on the roof of the new building. In the meantime, the solar array helps to pay the bills.

This essay originally appeared in The Shamanic Economist.

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