With solar power plants requiring large areas which aren’t usually available in or close to urban areas, Sweden-based architect Mans Tham proposes cities like Los Angeles take a different road – covering the city’s freeways in solar panels.
His “Solar Serpents in Paradise” idea would see 24km (15 miles) of LA’s Santa Monica Freeway covered in solar panels – with an average width of 40m (131 ft), that adds up to an area of 960,000 m2 (10,333,354 Sq Ft), enough space for 600,000 domestic panels, which could generate 150 GWh per year. That’s more than enough to provide electricity to all the households of Venice, California.
Tham points out that, due to space constraints, the Los Angeles Solar Program focuses on roofs on private and public buildings within the city and solar plants in the Mojave Desert. By covering the large areas dedicated to roads – Los Angeles County has around 800km (497 miles) – in solar panels, Tham says the city could take advantage of public land with existing points of access for maintenance for use as a large scale solar installation.