Designing car parking space for new property developments in metropolitan and regional areas is a challenge for any local authority, and in an age where environmental issues are increasingly important, there is pressure for car parking land to be multipurposed, says
Dominic Da Cruz, managing director of Perdaman Advanced Energy.
In Australia, there are almost 19 million vehicles on the roads, which is an 8 percent increase in the last four years. In fact, it’s rare these days to find a single-car household in Australia, with many households having two or more vehicles.
“However, most cars remain inactive for 95 percent of the time,” says Da Cruz.
“Off-street parking began in 1930 with the rise in motoring, but back then, we could never have envisaged what we see today,” he says.
“In America for example, figures suggest that there are a staggering 500 million surface parking lots which take up a third of the available land area,” he says.
"Here in Australia, local authorities now demand a certain amount of available parking for any new residential or commercial development.”
“When it comes to renewable power, China has become the biggest producer of solar power in the world and one that is prepared to react to change. From 2005 to 2016, deployment of solar power across China expanded one hundred-fold,” says Da Cruz.
“In east China’s Jiangxi Province, a mass of solar panels has been installed on top of a parking lot over an area of 69,000 square metres and generating enough electricity for 5000 households a year.
"The parking lot was already established and the panels were fitted within four months, with the electricity sold and fed into the local grid,” he says.
“Australia is renowned for its year-round sunshine, and while residential solar initiatives are not new, but we need to look at the greater potential for commercial projects. Community hubs, sports centres, sporting ovals, shopping centres, hospitals, aged care, schools and universities would all benefit from car parks with solar panel facilities,” says Da Cruz.
“Nothing could be more beneficial than turning dead space which turn cars into ovens, into an asset that attracts customers, generates clean power and reduces costs,” he notes.