The emerging technologies in the area of solar energy are growing in popularity each year. While some states are placing mandates on solar installations in new building codes, many homeowners and businesses are opting to add solar power regardless. We have seen some people place solar panels on their roofs, but a newer trend has homeowners and business owners installing panels on carports and patio canopies. In this article, we are going to break down the benefits and whether solar panels like these are right for your residence or business.
SOLAR CARPORT CONSIDERATIONS
There are few ways to do a solar carport. First, you can take an existing structure and have the roofline adjusted to accommodate the right pitch for solar panels. Solar panels need about a 10-degree pitch to the south or west to get the most out of the sun’s power. The second consideration is to build a new structure to suit. With this option, you can determine square footage and match that to how much solar energy you’d like to capture and use. Will you use it to power your garage spaces, support your outdoor lighting, or light your pool area and maintain power needs? A professional installer can help you determine the proper wattage needed according to your property and needs.
Is a Solar Carport Right for Your Home?
Regardless if you have installed solar panels and a capturing system or not, a solar carport might be an excellent way to jump into the solar game. These structures are straight forward and nearly maintenance-free. Here are some of the benefits of a solar carport:
- Save on Energy Costs – Utility costs are unpredictable. By installing solar panel systems, you can off-set that unpredictable nature and even sell back some fo the energy to the utility company your grid is attached to.
- Production of Green Energy – If you are eco-minded, solar panels will reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy is relatively green energy even after the initial build of the panels themselves.
- Option for Those with Poorly Pitched Rooflines – Some older homes aren’t a good match for solar panels. By building a solar carport, you get the opportunity to invest in solar without rebuilding your roof.
SOLAR CARPORTS FOR BUSINESSES
Businesses or residential complexes have a lot to gain when it comes to solar carports. They typically already have built structures that need very little retrofitting to harbor the power of the sun. This is especially true for apartment complexes that have covered parking areas for tenants. Here are some of the benefits of solar carports for business clients:
- Off-Set Property Energy Costs – It’s expensive to maintain a property’s electrical use for common areas and parking structures. Adding solar panels to the roofs of parking carports will keep parking areas well lit at night, helping residents feel safer in your complex.
- Simple Maintenance – Once installed, solar carports are easy to maintain for your groundskeepers. Installers can teach your staff what to look for and best practices for care, but overall, they are nearly maintenance-free.
- Weather Coverage – Residents will be pleased to know that solar carports are keeping severe weather, high sun exposure, and debris from damaging their vehicles.
- Claim the Federal Tax Credit – You still have time to claim the 26% federal tax credit for solar panel installation. Keep in mind, however, in the coming years the tax credit diminishes, so time is of the essence.
- Net Metering – A major advantage to businesses and their larger-scale roofs is net metering. What is it? Net metering is when you get credits for solar usage to help you save money, and credits to sell back to the utility company.
WHAT DO SOLAR CARPORTS COST?
As you might guess, the cost of a solar carport or canopy will vary depending on how many panels you want to use. The good news, they run about the same cost as traditional panels. There are even financial loan programs for those that are considering solar panels tailored for this purpose specifically.
Some figures you will need to know:
- The size of your structure (the frame) and its cost.
- The amount of solar power you’d like to try and create.
- The going rate per Kilowatt cost is about $2.70-$3.00 (2018).
From there, your installer will be able to help you figure out your cost, and add in your tax credits and state rebates.
Homeowners and business owners will find adding a solar carport an easy decision, especially if they already have an existing system they can tie into. If you have any questions about what your system could look like, feel free to connect with us to get started o your solar carport journey.