A solar-powered parking garage has opened in the East Village, and though you might not be able to thank the sun, parking in its 535 stalls is free until later this month.

The six-story ramp is located near the center of a former surface lot across Robert D. Ray Drive from Des Moines City Hall. It was built to accommodate a range of users, including city staff and visitors, guests at nearby Embassy Suites, residents of apartments that opened recently at 219 E. Grand, the Metro Waste Authority, and, yes, people who want to park and wander about the East Village.

In the next 20 years, or sooner if parking revenues allow, the city of Des Moines will own the $25 million ramp under a lease purchase agreement.

A development and investment group of Jim Cownie, his son, Sloan, Jake Christensen, Paul Hayes and Tim Rypma brought plans for the ramp to the city two years ago in connection with a retail and residential project they had planned at 219 E. Grand Ave. National retailer West Elm opened recently on the first floor of that building.

Under the terms of a development agreement, that team will construct two commercial buildings that will flank the parking garage on the north and south. There remains space enough on the west side of the garage to construct a civic building if city officials determine it is needed.

A solar array is expected to generate enough electricity to power the ramp. It was constructed to allow for future expansion.

When parking is charged — that date hasn't been determined — the rates will be $1 per hour; $115 for a monthly floater until Jan. 1, when the rate will increase to $120; $135 for monthly preferred parking, increasing to $140 on Jan. 1; $5 to $10 for special events; and free on Sundays.

By city estimates, parking revenues will generate $400,000 during the current fiscal year, $600,000 in fiscal 2019, and could increase to $900,000 a year when additional developments are completed near the garage.