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ASU’s newest solar project changes the way students use the outdoors

PHOENIX — Thanks in large part to Arizona Public Service and Strategic Solar Energy, anyone on the Arizona State University campus can now enjoy Mother Nature, regardless of the temperature outside.

The two newest PowerParasol solar structures provide shade for people and sunlight for plants, as well as unique lighting and security features, while producing clean renewable energy.

The structures are located near a prominent parking entrance to the Gammage Auditorium, as well as over Pedestrian Mall near Cady Fountain and the Memorial Union.

PowerParasol President Bob Boscamp is thrilled with the project.

“I went to school (there) a long time ago, and nothing had changed in that mall,” he said. “No one would ever sit in the mall, unless you were sitting in the fountain hanging your feet in to cool off, and then as soon as you got out, you’d race to go inside the M.U. to get the air conditioning.”

He said these new structures provide a venue for students to entertain themselves or hold gatherings before or after events at Gammage. Some even feel it’s an ideal place to conduct higher education.

“Some of the professors are already talking about holding class out under the PowerParasol, adjacent to the music school and College of Education,” said Boscamp.

The 25-foot-high structures are higher than a traditional carport or canopy solar installation. Construction elements include advertising and promotional signage opportunities.

The first PowerParasol structure was constructed in Lot 59 near Sun Devil Stadium. Fans use that area to tailgate before and after games, and students use it for shaded parking.