Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg recognized patterns of innovation to create a systematic approach with Subtraction, Division, Multiplication, Task Unification and Attribute Dependency. They call it the Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT), or Inside the Box innovation. We’re going to do a series of how solar technologies approach innovation. Let’s take a look at how Task Unification plays out in standard ground mount solar arrays!

Parking Shelter


Photo source: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden blog

Many places use ground mounted solar arrays as parking shelters. It’s a way to keep automobiles cool while producing electricity. This uses Task Unification, where the solar arrays are intended to serve more than one function: as a parking roof and as an electricity generator. Take a look at the Cincinnati Zoo’s parking lot, the largest publicly-accessible urban solar array in the country!

Poolside Shade


Photo source: Malibu Pools

Malibu Pools installs solar panel pergolas for the poolside. Using task unification, the solar panels provide energy for the home and double as a relief from the sun during those hot pool days. It’s a perfect area for patio furniture and even some potted shade plants.

Solar Shepherds


Photo source: Molly A. Seltzer, Smithsonian Magazine

Sheep controlling lawns isn’t anything new. President Woodrow and Margaret Wilson had used them to keep the White House lawn trimmed, though allowed the herd to grow too large and overgraze. They’re making a comeback for solar fields, though, because mowing is too difficult in many places, and why not use the land for multiple purposes? The arrays serve multiple purposes: as shade for the sheep, food sources for the sheep, and electricity. The sheep, in turn, serve as a farm product such as cheese and wool and a lawn management resource. Talk about Task Unification! Together, the combination serves as a business diversification, stabilizing independent, small farmers with at least two revenue streams.

Pollinator Field


Photo source: Xavier Mascarenas, TCPalm

One of the things people don’t like about solar fields is that it seems like wasted space or a sore spot on a natural landscape. Planting wildflowers in a solar field, then, can play out for a variety of purposes, to restore natural beauty to an area, to grow pollinating plants for birds and bees, and to provide the opportunity for another business—honey production. That was the result in Minnesota when the government passed the Pollinator Friendly Solar Act into law in 2016 that requires all ground mount solar installations over 50 megawatts to have pollinator-friendly plants.

Florida Power & Light Co. and Audubon Florida are also teaming up to turn 2.5 million solar panels at eight new solar power plants into a wildlife haven. This concept of power production co-existing with wildlife takes the solar array landscape and creates Task Unification in doing so. In addition to saving money, the wildflower solar field will also increase crop yield in the surrounding farms. Many of the plants also cool the actual array, so that they increase output, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory analyst Jordan Macknick. The solar arrays then create a micro-ecosystem with all parts using task unification! Now that is some solar POWer!

Take a look at a customer’s ground mount array in Hamilton, Ohio! They’ve transformed their space into nature’s latest happening neighborhood for pollinators.


Agrivoltaic Farms


Photo Source: The Carbon Pilgrim

Fuel meets food with agrivoltaic farms. Using solar arrays in farmland helps reduce water waste and even help some plants, like lettuce, flourish. The solar panels double as shields from the sun and as solar energy converters. This allows water to keep from evaporating and drying out the soil. This system also follows the formula of Attribute Dependency. Depending on the height of the array, different crops can be grown.



Icon Solar will always bring you the best technology for the best price possible to give you maximum financial benefit from a solar system. We strive to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, and we look forward to what innovations arise in the solar industry. Stay tuned to see what innovations are out there in our blog!