More and more facility managers adopt solar energy for their buildings today. It is not difficult to find solar panels embedded in the earth supported by concrete piers or on top of the roof supported by rails. In fact, there is another type of solar construction that works especially well for commercial buildings–that is, solar carport.
What is a solar carport, and how does it work?
Solar carports serve as the cover of the parking areas as well as energy generators. Solar carports are pretty similar to ground mount solar panels in their structures, but solar carports are typically taller in order to provide parking space.
Moreover, unlike commercial solar rooftops, which are attached to the roof, the solar panels used in a solar carport are built into the roof material. In other words, a solar carport does not need a roof or the ground to attach the solar panels. The solar panels serve as the roof themselves.
Since solar carports can generate electricity, they can be used to provide energy for the commercial buildings as well as serve as electric vehicle charging ports.
If you are not confident in solar carports’ ability to cover the vehicles and protect them from extreme weather like hail, research and past case studies have shown that solar panels totally have the ability to withstand hail.
Read more on the weather resistance of solar carports here
What are the advantages of a solar carport?
Unlike ground-mounted solar panels, solar carports do not require extra space on the ground to attach the solar panels. In addition, solar carports can adjust to more flexible angles in order to convert more solar power.
According to Carport Structures Corporation, some advantages of solar carports include:
- Solar carports are simplified alternatives to commercial solar rooftops.
- Solar carports utilize the pre-existing parking areas rather than sacrificing extra lands for the solar projects.
- It is easy to access panels for solar carports than commercial solar rooftops for service and maintenance purposes.
- Solar carports cover and protect vehicles.
- Issues with roof angle, orientation and size are eliminated with solar carports because the panels are the roof.
There are obviously more benefits for solar carports than mentioned above. EnergyLink has a blog article describing these benefits in more detail. Take a look here if you are interested.
Why should business owners consider installing a solar carport?
Solar carports are much more popular in the commercial sector than in residential homes, according to Energy Sage.
Many business owners who already adapt solar carports see them as a practical solution to energy problems and an investment in long-term electricity savings. According to Pick My Solar, “Intel installed two of the largest solar carports in the country” with 30,000 solar panels and one “generates a total of 8.7 megawatts of electricity,” while the other one generates about 7.7 megawatts.
For organizations that are seeking to adopt EV, solar carports are going to be a very good choice because they provide convenient and efficient charging ports for EV.
What should business owners keep in mind when considering solar carports?
Different from residential parking areas, commercial parking areas are usually much bigger. As a result, commercial solar carports will almost always require a steel metal foundation, which is going to be an additional expense to the total project, according to Energy Sage.
Nonetheless, since the parking space for commercial buildings is typically very large, once installed, the amount of solar panels is going to generate a large amount of energy for commercial usage. Solar carports not only make the company stands out as the leader for sustainability in the community, it also reduces utility costs in the long run.
If solar carports interest you, click here to schedule a FREE consultation to get started today!