Solar energy is definitely taking off and now researchers may have come up with the absolute best way to generate cheap solar power by installing solar panels in public parking lots.

The Washington Post reports that solar power proponents are increasingly turning their eyes toward America’s parking lots as the perfect locations for mass solar panel installations. The reasons for this are easy to understand: Parking lots taking up huge chunks of our landscape and absorb a ton of heat in hot weather. Why not put them to good use by installing solar panels over them?

The one big issue, the Post says, is that such solar panel installations are very expensive right now, much more expensive than your typical rooftop installation.

“It’s the most expensive type of system to build,” TruSolar’s Chase Weir, who rates financial risk for solar projects for a living, tells the Post. “A lot more engineering, a whole lot more steel, more labor, and therefore, it’s a relatively small percentage [of solar power]… but it is growing, and the cost to install a solar canopy today is less than the cost to install a rooftop just a few years ago.”

Even so, the potential is dazzling. Rutgers University, for instance, has a massive solar carport installation that generates 8 megawatts of power, which the Post points out is enough to power 1,000 homes.

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