Are Solar Carports Ideal for Your Home or Business?
A solar panel carport may be an excellent alternative to installing a complete roof-mount or ground-mount system, especially if you don’t have enough roof space or land or have a garage.
If you’re wondering if solar carports are right for you, you’ve come to the right place. This article will provide a basic understanding of solar panel carports to help you decide if this option is suitable.
What Are Solar Panel Carports?
A solar panel carport is a solar system setup designed to harness energy for your home or electric vehicle while keeping your car covered outside.
Solar carports look similar to ground-mount solar systems. However, the solar panels are more elevated to make room for a parking area beneath them.
Like any roof or ground-mount system, solar carports also require racking.
Due to the configuration of the racking and panels, there will be some gaps in the design. So unlike a garage, a solar panel carport won’t provide complete coverage for your car, as some sunlight and rain could still pass through. You can incorporate roofing material like corrugated metal for better protection.
How Much Energy Do Solar Carports Produce?
The amount of solar energy that solar carports produce depends on carport size and solar panel efficiency.
In general, the area of one parking space offers enough room to install about 1.2 kW worth of solar panels. This will generate about 1,800 kWh per year.
How Much Do Solar Carports Cost?
Believe it or not, solar panel carports cost more than a standard roof-mount or ground-mount solar panel system.
Roof-mount solar systems don’t require additional structural support besides the building itself, making them the least expensive option. Ground-mount solar panels need structural support but are positioned closer to the ground, with less weight to support and fewer wind forces to deal with.
Because of their height, solar panel carports need to be specifically engineered for support against the wind.
The price of solar panel carports varies depending on your location and the solar carport system you choose. Generally, you can expect the carport structure to cost an extra $1.00 per watt.
Furthermore, residential solar carport systems have a higher price per watt than commercial solar carports. That’s because the commercial systems are larger with a greater economy of scale.
So, Is a Residential Solar Carport Worth It?
Now that we’ve outlined the facts, here are a few questions to think about:
- Do you have the real estate for a residential solar carport?
- Do you have an ideal setup for a roof-mount or ground-mount system?
- Will your city, building department, or HOA approve your solar carport?
The first thing to consider about a residential solar carport is whether or not you have real estate.
Solar carports take up the same amount of space as ground-mount systems. Still, your local authority may have rules regarding the addition to your property, like setbacks from property lines and other buildings. For example, a raised carport may need to be positioned further from the property line than a solar ground mount. Or, they might give you the green light to attach your solar carport to the house or garage.
If you have the space, you’ll have to decide if the carport is worth the extra cost.
A solar carport provides protection and parking for your car or boat, especially if you don’t have a garage on your property. But if you already have garage space or a south-facing roof ideal for solar panels, the carport may not be worth it.
Lastly, don’t forget to consider the investment for installation. Solar carports can be tricky to install.
Like any solar panel system, you’ll still have to build the structure and complete the wiring for a solar carport. If you aren’t savvy with solar installation, you might want to factor in the cost of hiring a solar installer. Alternatively, you can save thousands of dollars with a DIY solar installation, but note that this will require more elbow grease on your part. (Remember to factor in the cost of renting a lift to make your job easier!)
I Own a Business. Is a Commercial Solar Carport Worth It?
Yes, solar panel carports can be worth the investment for businesses.
Commercial solar carports are often the only way to acquire renewable energy for business properties. Most commercial buildings do not have adequate roof space to offset all their energy usage, and they usually don’t have any available space to install ground-mount solar.
Installing solar carports can bring more attention to your business. Your employees and customers will be happy to park in a shaded lot to protect their vehicles from the elements. And, consider going the extra mile by installing electric vehicle charging stations under solar canopies to add more value to your business.
Residential solar panel carports can be ideal for some scenarios but not worth the cost in other circumstances. However, if you own a commercial property or business, you may want to consider solar carports to offer greater value for your employees, customers and bottom line.
For more advice on going solar, connect with the experts at GoGreenSolar. We’d love to work with you to determine if solar panel carports are ideal for your home or business.