After much anticipation, finally a new solar parking lot opened its doors at the heart of Isla Vista yesterday. Located at 881 Embarcadero del Mar, the parking lot with 45 parking spaces has been built incorporating several eco-friendly features. The County of Santa Barbara got the property for $1.4 million in order to construct a solar powered parking lot worth $760,000. Nearly $200,000 were spent on the solar set-up alone.
Residing on a half-acre site that once housed a Chevron gas station, the parking lot has an array of 98 solar panels, which are mounted onto steel beams that are placed just above the parking stall. These panels generate enough power to light up the parking space along with the parking meters. Isla Vista is looking forward to increase the number from 98 to 109 very soon. With the additional solar panels, the community is hoping to see all the lights along Pardall Road to power up as well. The parking lot also has a water filtration system that will help keep storm runoff clean.