‘Solar Trees’ Popping Up In South Bay Parking Lots

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KCBS) – Several new “solar trees” are sprouting up in big parking lots in Santa Clara County, meant to generate electricity from the sun.

Construction crews are busily doing work at the headquarters of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

“We’re installing several solar panels on top of carports and then there will be some rooftop installation of solar as well,” said Robert Stuart with Stronghold Engineering.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Stuart said the carports will provide shade for cars and generate enough electricity to save the county $18 million over a 25 year period.

Eight other county parking lots are getting the hi-tech carports.

Santa Clara County Auditor Joey Kimpo, who parks his car in one of the lots, said he’s encouraged by the project.

“Not only are we doing good things for the environment, but saving money is a positive sign for the county,” he said.

The solar panels come from Suntech, a Chinese company founded in 2001. Stewart said they are less expensive than panels made in Silicon Valley.

“They are cheaper and they work just as well,” Stewart said.

The project is also creating more than 90 temporary jobs.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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