Can a parking lot serve more than just cars and their drivers?
A new high-tech structure in the parking lot of the REI Framingham, Mass., store offers proof that it can. Solar technology has transformed the once nondescript lot into a provider of shade for visiting cars, improved lighting for guests and electricity for the adjacent REI store.
Below: REI Framingham parking lot with solar structures.
Below: The parking lot before it was outfitted with the solar structures.
The Framingham carport is one of 25 REI locations with solar technology. We began investing in solar in 2008 and will next add panels to our Timonium, Md., store later this year.
After installing solar panels on top of the Framingham store, we saw a solar opportunity at the adjacent parking lot, too. REI partnered with Blue Oak Energy to design and build a carport that would support the weight of the technology. The system’s 910 solar panels now generate 62% of the store’s electricity needs.