Solar Carports (Everything you need to know)
Nowadays, you’ll find solar carports.also known as solar canopies – being integrated into vast tarmac parking lots that make up our cities. Commercial areas often deal with the issue of parking vs. natural space. The more tarmac, the greater the company’s carbon footprint. However, solar carports use this space to provide energy to the surrounding buildings and create shaded parking. The best part? You can apply the same concept to your home by building your own solar carport structure. This will allow you to charge your very own electric vehicle (EV) and save on your energy bills in the process.
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What Is A Solar Carport?
As you all know, trees are fantastic for the environment. They take carbon from the air and offer resources and shade. They do all this while being powered by the sun. So, why exactly are we talking about trees? Solar carports are almost like man-made trees. They use the sun to generate power and offer shade for people and vehicles. That’s great! But what exactly are they? A solar carport is a cutting-edge fusion of a shaded, weather-resistant structure designed to shelter and safeguard vehicles with an integrated solar power generating system. Typically composed of durable stainless steel and supported by a robust concrete foundation, the carport’s rooftop is outfitted with an array of state-of-the-art solar panels, collectively forming a highly efficient energy-harvesting infrastructure. Solar carports are a subcategory of solar canopies. Solar canopies are the umbrella term for solar systems that provide shade, like a solar pergola or agrivoltaics. They specifically provide shade for parked cars and other motor vehicles. Later we discuss the differences between a solar carport and solar roof panels.
Solar carports rely on solar panels to do the thing they do best – generate electricity. They operate the same way as solar panels do on the roof of your home. The bonus – they’re great for electric vehicles! You can use the panels to power your charging station directly. Read our article on EV charging stations to find out more! Carports can be scaled to both a domestic size and a commercial scale. Each system works a little differently.
Domestic solar carports are made to suit your home. Generally, a carport is 12ft x 20ft, and a solar carport is no different. A single carport can fit around 11 pieces of 400w solar panels. A double carport is 20ft x 20ft, which fits about 19 pieces of 400w solar panels. The solar panels are mounted onto the steel structure and wired directly into your home’s solar system. The size of your solar system depends on your electricity usage and the wattage of your solar panels.
Solar carports are gaining popularity as companies try to decrease their carbon footprint or go carbon-zero. They turn fields of barren land (aka parking lots) and produce electricity to power the commercial areas around them. The FedEx Field, an American football stadium in Maryland, takes advantage of its vast parking lot. This study from Stanford University shows that this stadium’s 8000 solar panels can create up to 2 megawatts of power.
Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI)
Not only do these solar carports save a ton of power, but they also curb the urban heat island effect. Essentially, an urban heat island is an urban area that has higher temperatures than its surrounding areas. Buildings and infrastructure often retain heat, increasing the temperature of the urban area. Parking lots are huge contributors to the urban heat island effect. Solar carports prevent parking lots from contributing to the UHI and appeal to developers. They provide shade, prevent the parking areas from heating, and save on electrical bills.
How Many Watts Is A Solar Carport?
Solar Panel Wattage
The solar panel wattage (power rating) is the maximum power output a solar panel can create in ideal conditions.
Low-end solar panels have a wattage of around 250w, but this is just the starting point. The power rating can go all the way to 400w and above.
Essentially, the higher the wattage, the fewer solar panels you will need. Therefore, we suggest a solar panel with higher wattage for your solar carport.
A suitable solar panel wattage would be 400w, but 320w will also work.
Based on the conditions in California, you can expect one 400w solar panel to produce close to 2kWh per day.
Area Of Solar Carport
The amount of energy your solar carport will be able to create depends on how big your carport is.
The average carport for a single car is 12ft wide and has a length of 20ft. This means that they have a coverage of 240 sq. ft.
An average 400-watt solar panel has an area of 21.12 sq. ft.
This means that the average carport can support 11 solar panels.
Using the same formula, a double carport can support 19 solar panels.
How Many kWh Does The Average Solar Carport Produce?
Using all the information above, we can calculate what the size of your system can be.
System Size = Amount of Solar Panels x Daily kWh
With 11 x 400w panels, your total system size will be roughly around 4.4kW.
That’s almost the amount of electricity an average American home uses daily.
Solar Carports = Cost-effective steel Income generative solar
Pre-engineered steel is known to be one of the most cost-effective building components and processes in the building industry. Coupled with offsetting or completely eliminating electric bills with solar electricity, a solar carport offers a tremendous ROI for both homeowner and business alike.
Both solar and pre-engineered metal buildings are known for fast, up and done construction.
Solar arrays and pre-engineered steel structures can be independently installed in a matter of days. Consisting of pre-engineered steel and solar components, solar carports involve simple planning, quick installation, and an overall seamless process. This means fewer complications and no costly deadline extensions. Up and done, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fast your solar carport will be up and running, and how little maintenance it will need.
Low maintenance longevity with solar carports
Solar and pre-engineered steel are both considered very low maintenance in their respective industries.
Solar—with no moving—has virtually no maintenance compared with other energy generating technologies, and each system comes with a 20-year warranty.
Pre-engineered steel is durable and warrantied for harsh weather conditions such as high winds, heavy snow loads, extreme temperatures and earthquakes. Additionally resistant to mold and termites, pre-engineered steel carports come with low maintenance costs and avoid potentially costly repairs.
Business and Residential Sense
and more homeowners are using pre-fabricated steel carport and custom steel structures to shelter their cars, boats, and RVs.
Not only can a carport structure offset your electric bill and keep your vehicles safe from adverse weather, it can actually be a small income producer and qualify for several federal and state incentives. However, tax breaks, incentives, and rebates depend on city, state, and federal legislation. This featured solar system qualified for government incentives, but any array not attached to the grid by January 2016, will not receive a federal tax break.
The time for solar is now! Contact Pascal Steel and we’ll get your carport system up, running, and saving you money!
Solar Carport Installations
Advanced Green Technologies is a commercial solar contractor that specializes in solar carport construction solutions with extensive experience building projects located in high-wind zone areas like Florida. Solar carports are a great solution for protecting vehicles from the hot Florida sun and generating renewable energy from your parking lots or garage.
We are the best contractor for solar carports and canopy structures in Florida. We take a single point of responsibility for the entire project starting with feasibility studies and engineering, to fabrication and installation. Our approach allows us to streamline your project and provide you with a fist in class renewable energy solution that we know you will be satisfied with.
Solar Carport Benefits:
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Critical Considerations for a Commercial Solar Carport
When choosing the size of your carport, it is essential to strike a balance between installation costs, available space, and the amount of electricity you can produce. Overall, larger carports are more expensive to install, but the price per watt drops as size increases since some installation expenses are set and unaffected by the size of the system.
You should also consider how many panels broad your solar arrays for the carport will be. About one row of parking is covered by three solar panels placed together. Two parking rows can be covered by seven solar panels that are placed as one carport structure.
You can choose the optimum configuration based on your parking lot and energy requirements.
Clearance – The Space is below Your Solar Carport
When designing your solar panel carport with a solar contractor, you should consider how much space there is beneath the panels. The carport structure’s clearance needs to be high enough for equipment and cars to pass easily underneath. Making it too high, though, could unnecessarily drive up the price of your project.
Depending on the kind of cars you anticipate parking beneath the solar canopy, you will need to choose the ideal clearance height for your property. Businesses should aim for a deck height of at least 14 feet if they regularly expect heavy trucks and delivery vehicles to pass underneath.
A shorter carport might be an option for companies that primarily deal with vehicles and small trucks. Fire trucks and ambulances, which have higher clearance needs than small cars or trucks, might need passage around the carports.
Decking: Controlling Water Runoff
The primary advantage of a solar carport is the generation of cost-free, healthy electricity for your residence or business. However, there is one perk: easy-covered parking.
Cars and persons can be protected from the elements, such as the sweltering sun, rain, and snow, with the help of a solar panel canopy. However, you must install your carport system with decking to truly protect people underneath.
Decking, frequently composed of metal, is fastened to the vertical beams to create a sturdy roof. The solar panels are then fastened to the decking and mounted on the mounting structure. This sturdy coating prevents rain and water runoff from falling on the vehicles and people below. Depending on how the carport structure is laid out, it may have an additional cost, ranging from
What Are the Advantages of Commercial Solar Carports?
Commercial solar carports offer several benefits for your business. Here are the top advantages of installing a commercial solar carport.
Efficient Space Usage
No additional space is required to construct a carport; instead, an already existing area can be used to increase productivity and visitor, customer, and employee comfort.
In rainy and stormy weather, a carport can protect vehicles from the sun and keep them from overheating. Solar carports can help improve vehicle fuel economy by providing shade to keep cars from overheating in the sun.
Solar carports give businesses access to solar energy and a safe place to park their cars. For instance, the carport will shield the vehicle from the elements during bad weather, such as snow or sweltering sun rays.
On particularly hot days, the cool shades shield the automobile from the heat, perhaps saving on gasoline. What else? Carports can help collect rainwater apart from providing shade.
Better Power Generation
Another benefit is the installation angle of a solar carport above a conventional solar panel system. The amount of sunlight exposure, which affects energy output, is significantly impacted by the installation angle of solar panels.
There are restrictions on how much the panels can be tilted or even how they can be fastened for roof installations. On the other hand, solar carports are flexible and can be constructed to maximize energy output and exposure.
Coldwell Solar – Your One-Stop Solution for Commercial Solar Systems
Solar carports are a desirable choice due to their better efficiency. Suppose you value a cleaner, more comfortable car, clear windscreens, and the extra benefit of renewable energy. In that case, a solar carport is one of the best multi-purpose infrastructure improvements money can buy.
Like rooftop or ground-mounted solar panels, solar carports absorb photons from the sun and convert them into useful electrons. These electrons are then sent to an inverter, where they are transformed into AC electricity for use in the grid.
Solar carports stand out due to their versatility, which offers clean energy while protecting your car and freeing up space. Get in touch with Coldwell Solar for further guidance and top-notch commercial solar services.
.25 per watt.
You can omit the decking and install the solar panels directly to the mounting framework, similar to how you would install them on a ground mount solar system, to cut expenses as much as feasible.
However, small gaps between the panels will allow water to puddle on persons and vehicles below. Additionally, melted snow will also fall if snow accumulation occurs. Downspouts or water management systems are additional options to consider. These components will aid in directing water away from the solar canopies and toward the proper drainage area.
You might be able to skip these if your carport is positioned so that the water drains and falls in a location that will not obstruct traffic. But the majority of medium- to large-scale carports make use of them.
Snow Guards: Preventing Snow Slides
You should consider adding snow guards to your solar carport if you reside in a region of the country where winters are predicted to be snowy.
The solar panels get covered in snow when it snows. This decreases their ability to generate electricity. Solar panels are therefore made to quickly warm up and shed this snow, exposing them to sunlight. Therefore, you will not need to physically wipe the snow off your panels.
What is excellent for your electricity bill is not suitable for those who use the walkways beneath the carports. Anyone strolling underneath may be at risk if the snow is allowed to fall off the panels in thick sheets.
Snow guards are helpful in this situation. These additions will stop significant snowfalls, protecting individuals below who are walking or driving.
Snow guards are always advised in places where snowfall is possible. The snow falling off the panels would land in the grass or another area where no one would be hurt. You might be able to avoid this if your carport installation is close to the border of your parking lot.
Lighting: Keeping Things Bright
A solar carport structure will render your current light posts obsolete if they are not already. However, providing adequate lighting for you and anyone who parks in your lot is still critical. Replacing old, ineffective lights with LED lights could be a significant additional benefit of a carport renovation.