|This station is at 3rd and Elm Street NW in DC|
These programs are popular in American cities and around the world. According to Gizmodo, as of August 2014, there were more than 600 cities using the program worldwide.
Here's where our interest comes in. Rental stations are automated and powered by solar panels, allowing them to be located anywhere space is available. The power provided to the stations allows you to pay for your ride and locate other nearby stations.
If you check these out in DC, you will notice that the panels almost always face southwest to maximize sun exposure. In certain cases like downtown, panels are pointed skywards or away from large obstructions.