North America's largest solar-powered carport may be coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain

February 20, 2018, 12:13 PM

Nobody likes parking at a theme park — at least no one I've ever met. (Come at me in the comments if I'm wrong and you love theme park parking lots!) Of all the lots in Southern California, the one at Six Flags Magic Mountain seems the worst. Laid out at the side of the park instead of across from its entrance, the lot bakes in the Santa Clarita Valley sun, turning the interior of your car into a scorching hellhole by the end of the day.

But that unrelenting sunshine may be about to turn from the Magic Mountain parking lot's biggest liability into its biggest asset.

Six Flags has announced a deal with real estate and investment management company JLL to select an independent power company to install and operate solar-powered roof systems for the parking lots at Magic Mountain and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. The carports will provide covered parking for the majority of spaces in the lots, include integrated charging stations for electric vehicles, and provide more than 7 megawatts of electricity at Discover Kingdom and nearly 15 megawatts at Magic Mountain. That would make the Magic Mountain carport the largest solar-powered parking facility of its kind in North America and provide almost all of the power needed to run the theme park.

"We are committed to making all of our properties more energy efficient and sustainable for years to come," Six Flags Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Treasurer, Steve Purtell, said in a press release. "California's support of renewable energy, the solar potential in the state, and the environmental benefits associated with solar energy made this the right decision for our guests, our team members, and our communities."

Since JLL and Six Flags haven't gotten their tech partner signed yet, there's no announced completion date for the project.

Replies (5)

February 20, 2018, 1:39 PM

And they'll make those shady spaces slightly higher in price...

Better yet, I think the solar panels should only work if a car is parked in the spot.

Edited: February 20, 2018, 1:41 PM

I'm surprised this has taken so long to become reality. The installation of solar panels on top levels of parking garages and expansive parking lots is widespread on the east coast. The NFL has a number of teams that offer "VIP" parking for spaces under solar panes that typically generate enough power over the course of a week to offset the power consumption on game day.

Legoland in Florida had solar panels installed on their preferred parking lot when we were there last October.

I would think Six Flags would want to identify a corporate partner, because while this would clearly be a no-brainer for a part that see 300+ days of bright sunshine per year, it's a sound investment and great PR for all of their parks.

February 20, 2018, 2:46 PM

This is a brilliant idea, and while I'm a little surprised the chain is spending a ton of money on something that won't attract visitors, it will probably result in a net savings further down the road. Hopefully they use this opportunity to redo the parking lot as well, since it is by far the worst of So Cal's parks (not to mention the most expensive).

February 20, 2018, 3:50 PM

The Wal*Mart near my house has done this.
What I want to know is why hasn't Disneyland done the same thing with the Minnie level at Mickey and Friends?
WDW installed a massive not so very hidden Mickey shaped solar farm near Epcot. Seems to me covering the parking lots at the Florida and California resorts would be a very smart way to capitalize on solar AND appeal to green energy fans (and tick off 45 and his lot in the process).

February 21, 2018, 8:49 AM

@Rob - I think most companies are probably looking into the application, but are waiting for the perfect deal from an energy company that requires the least amount of up front costs. That appears to be what everyone (including homeowners) is doing with solar these days - everyone wants it, but nobody wants to pay for the panels. They're unwilling to do the math to see the savings start to roll in around year 3 or 4. Instead they want to be in the black as soon as possible, and many energy companies seem happy to oblige by either providing the panels gratis (making companies pay for the installation) or siphoning a percentage of the energy created by the panels back into the grid in perpetuity.

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