The United States is on the brink of its most consequential transformation since the New Deal. Read more about what it takes to decarbonize the economy, and what stands in the way, here.

The transition to clean power will require massive solar expansion—not just home rooftop arrays but photovoltaic installations near population centers. Where to mount all the panels? One answer seems obvious: over parking lots, which also bake during the summer, contributing to dangerous “heat island” effects. Shading Walmart Supercenter lots with PV canopies, for instance, would generate loads of power and allow stores to entice shoppers with free EV charging and cooler lots. And a cool customer is a happy customer.

Number of US Walmart Supercenters: 3,572
Air temperature of a Supercenter lot on a 100-degree day: 120°F
Air temperature drop when a 100-space parking lot is partially shaded: –10°F

 

Number of households all US Supercenter lots could power if solarized: 1.25 million
Number of EV charging stations a solar-equipped, 1,000-space Supercenter lot would support: 100
Number of nearby homes that lot could power: 350

Sources: Walmart, Joshua Pearce, Vivek Shandas, Mikhail Chester, Energy Information Administration

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