Innovative solar structure shades Sun Devils

An architect's rendering of a parking lot solar shade structre.

Visitors to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus soon will be shaded when parking in a lot adjacent to Sun Devil Stadium by an innovative, patent-pending solar structure design that generates 2.1 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

This groundbreaking solar installation project marks the first partnership between ASU and NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG), which is expanding its portfolio of solar renewable energy projects in Arizona.

The 5.25-acre PowerParasol™ design will cover 800 covered parking spaces in lot 59, the university’s largest blacktop surface parking lot adjacent to Packard Stadium. Within the 25-year, $10.5-million agreement, NRG will own and operate the PowerParasol™, and in exchange, ASU will pay flat electricity rates during the term. Within three to four years, the university should experience reduced electricity rates.

ASU also has the opportunity to reduce further the total project cost through revenue streams including the ability to generate advertising income made possible from signage that can be displayed on eight-foot-wide lateral structural supports that stabilize the PowerParasol™.

“Today marks another important step in the university’s commitment to renewable energy, sustainability and entrepreneurial initiative,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Our vision for the future of this university involves innovation and technology – and we are fortunate to have a partner like NRG that came to the table and made an investment that made this project a reality.”  

The initial PowerParasol™ project is the vision of Arizona-based Strategic Solar Energy, LLC. Construction on the structure is slated to begin in mid-August, 2011 and to be completed before the end of 2011.

In addition to shaded parking, the 24-foot-high PowerParasol™ also provides nighttime lighting for better security and allows some natural light to shine through, creating areas for landscaping and a comfortable, functional environment. Cell phone antennas, security cameras, and vehicle electrical charging stations also can be incorporated into the PowerParasol™ design.

“We’re happy to work with ASU on a project that is affordable, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally forward thinking and enhances the experience for visitors to the ASU campus,” said Tom Doyle, president of NRG's Solar and West Region.

About NRG Energy and NRG Solar
NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company, owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company’s power plants provide more than 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity – enough to supply approximately 20 million homes. NRG’s retail businesses – Reliant Energy and Green Mountain Energy Company – serve nearly 1.9 million residential, business, commercial, and industrial customers.

NRG Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NRG, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects under development or in construction across the southwestern United States. With major investments in solar and wind power, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure, NRG is working to help America transition to a clean energy economy. More information is available at and

About Strategic Solar Energy LLC
Strategic Solar Energy LLC, an Arizona based company, is focused on creating innovative renewable energy technology solutions and PowerParasol™ is the first such product. More information is available at

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a New American University – a major public educational institution, a premier research center and a leader in innovation. Our vision is described by our three core principles: excellence in scholarship, access to education and impact in our global community. As a New American University, ASU is intellectually vibrant, socially conscious and globally engaged.

Media Contacts:
Sharon Keeler,
ASU Public Affairs

Lori Neuman,
NRG Energy, Inc.

Written by:
Wendy Craft,
ASU Business and Finance