Using solar panels is one way facilities are trying to go green and cut energy costs.

By: Mitch Laursen,

It’s one thing to provide shade for your customers’ outdoor self-storage parking, but for the Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage, shaded parking structures are to be used in a whole new technology-adapted way.

On November 7, Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage announced that it would be building an outdoor self storage facility that offered customers with solar-panel shaded parking. The feature would provide shelter for stored boats and recreational vehicles, such as RVs, large vans, and more.

Other than the much-appreciated shaded parking, the solar panels would provide an addition of income and renewable energy for the outdoor storage facility’s owner. According to Chris Clarke of, the steel solar panels will cover 170,000 square feet of parking space and will use 295-watt PV modules (a popular kind of modules used for solar panels). The solar panel outdoor storage facility construction is expected to be a $9.5 million project.

Using solar panels is one way facilities are trying to go green and cut energy costs.

In recent years, California self storage facilities have become large supporters of solar panel use. Facilities have turned to energy consumption as a means to fight the rise of electricity and other costs. Of course, installation of the solar powered utilities can be very expensive, but the energy and money saved will be better in the long run.

Self-storage companies that use solar panels at their facilities usually partner up with energy companies to help in finding effective uses for solar panel energy. In fact, some United States energy companies use energy consumption as an alternative to electricity or rent/mortgage costs.

According to the Department of Energy, installation of solar power systems on roofs has increased more than 110% since last year. The total of US solar panel installations is almost 3,300 megawatts for 2012, which would make the US the fourth largest solar market in the world (behind Italy, Germany, and China).

For the Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage, providing a high quality shaded parking storage option could put it at the forefront of ideal parking spaces in California. California accounts for 2% of the total amount of parking spaces in the US (115 square miles). To cover that much area with solar panels would generate about 1.5 terawatt-hours (3.5 million megawatts) of electricity a day, according to Chris Clarke.

Self-storage companies are constantly on the verge of efficient and innovative ideas to better their facilities. I’m a huge backer of thinking outside of the box in order to stay ahead of the curb or to maintain a effective business campaign. I am immensely impressed by the increase of solar power systems with self storage companies and I look forward to seeing the future on energy consumption and how those in the self-storage industry use it.