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This gives a new meaning to ‘shade tree’.

Leaves are the original solar panels. They collect solar energy, and convert into useful resources. Some of those resources get converted into other resources that are good for human consumption, such as fruit, vegetables, lumber, firewood and oxygen. However, one resource that leaves do not produce is electricity.

That is why the big solar array pictured above was installed over a big parking lot. There are a few of these arrays in this parking lot, and more in other nearby parking lots. Many trees were cut down to accommodate them. People who work nearby can use the electricity more than they could use vegetation, or anything that vegetation could produce within this area.

Shade trees are nice over parking lots, but are not necessary over a parking lot that is shaded so thoroughly by such big solar arrays. After parking during rainy weather, an umbrella is only necessary between the solar arrays and the adjacent office buildings. There are no more fallen leaves to clean up. Pavement and curbs will no longer be displaced by growing roots.

The red gum that is also pictured above, under the solar array, is not so impressed. It likely grew from a root of a red gum that was removed so that the solar array could be constructed. Sadly, it must be cut down again, not only because it is under the solar array, but also because it is against the sidewalk. It has clearance problems both above and below.

It is rather ironic that even after all the trees that formerly shaded this parking lot were cut down for the installation of this solar array, this young red gum that is so determined to survive can not stay. I can not help but wonder what this young red gum thinks of green energy.

13 thoughts on “Horridculture – Solar Power

  1. A lot to think about. I believe the more trees the better, but why not put up solar panels over paved parking lots where nothing is growing anyway. I would like to park my car in the shade on hot days, which is almost everyday here. I’m still thinking about it…our airport has covered parking…a great place for solar.

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    1. The trees that were cut down were not exemplary specimens anyway. In the end, it was no major loss. There are plenty of trees elsewhere. Those in surrounding forests do not need maintenance like those in parking lots do, and they do not damage pavement.

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  2. I’m going to zip my lip (for the most part) about green energy. I am all for green energy. But I am against mandates to comply before the industry is ready, and all of these subsidies to get things rolling. It sounds all flowery and bright to have solar energy, doesn’t it? But it’s not just a matter of setting up a solar field or a few panels and voila!- you have free power, and a great parking lot cover. That is how the general public thinks. That is not how it works. The environment is a big part of the equation too – and human, plant, and all wildlife is affected.

    As for the trees, I am amazed at how they manage to survive in large cities with all of that cement, brick and glass around. The tenacity to survive in nature is astounding.

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    1. Not only do trees and landscapes thrive in big cities; but many big cities are more densely forested than they would be naturally. San Jose is naturally a chaparral, where only a few sporadic oaks lived. Los Angeles is naturally a desert, with even fewer trees. Relative to what they would natural be, both are now densely foreste.

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  3. I think the best places for solar panels are over hard paving like roads and parking lots (like here), and on top of buildings, because there they would fill a dual function in also providing shade. I really hate seeing trees cut down so huge arrays can cover our green spaces. We should confine it to our cityscapes – which heaven knows we have plenty of. If anything, we should plant MORE trees – not cut them down.

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    1. The trees that were cut down to relinquish space for these solar arrays were not in good condition. Some of them should have been cut down anyway. The trees in forested areas surrounding the parking lot remain. There is no shortage of trees here. I just happened to like the trees that were cut down. Some of the eucalyptus were rather sculptural.

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