Las Vegas Sun

July 20, 2017

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SUN EDITORIAL:

Energy all around us

Covered parking lots are among structures perfect for capturing clean solar power

A trend that has been gradually building momentum across the country over the past several years — outfitting covered parking lots with solar panels — is on display at a pair of Henderson businesses.

ProCaps Laboratories, which manufactures and distributes vitamins, and TWC Construction Inc. share a recently built covered parking lot containing more than 300 spaces.

Andrew Lessman founded ProCaps Laboratories and co-founded TWC along with Matthew Ryba. The two executives agreed that the parking lot’s cover would be overlaid with solar photovoltaic panels despite the cost — $7 million.

The state-of-the-art project was completed in December and Lessman and Ryba are pleased with how it has turned out.

“Covered parking is an amenity for our employees, and we thought about them when trying to justify the cost of this project,” Ryba told Stephanie Tavares, a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun’s sister publication, In Business Las Vegas.

Their decision to go solar on the sectionalized roofing has paid dividends far beyond improving company morale.

They’ve stabilized and greatly lowered their energy bills, generated the potential for extra income through sales of excess power, reduced their companies’ carbon footprint, positioned themselves to get tax credits for green construction and built something that serves as a demonstration for other Nevada companies.

We hope other area businesses with covered parking lots consider following the example of Lessman and Ryba. Clean solar energy represents the best chance for significantly cutting back on the pollutants that are behind global warming. A third of those pollutants come from conventional power plants.

By taking advantage of covered parking lots and other structures that could serve as solar collectors, we could make a significant dent in the demand for energy from dirty fossil fuels.

Members of Congress and representatives from the State, Defense and Commerce departments heard testimony last week from a solar expert who said: “In the five minutes I’ll be speaking to you today, the sun shining upon the U.S. alone contains enough energy to satisfy America’s power demands for an entire month.”

Lessman and Ryba have demonstrated one way to start capturing more of that energy.

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