Solar Carports Can Make Parking Sustainable

Commercial Solar Carports | SunPower

If you’d like to protect your car from the elements but don’t particularly like the idea of an add-on garage for your home, what solution are you then left with? You’re not the only one who finds themselves in this dilemma but there’s a very practical solution available. 

People who don’t want an add-on garage can simply invest in a carport to park their vehicle in. 

Carports are semi-covered structures that normally have a steel roof supported by steel pillars. These are open-style structures that are strong, sturdy, and very low maintenance. 

You can have a carport installed in a variety of different styles. They can even be connected to your home or existing garage. 

Carports are different from garages since they don’t have any doors and typically don’t have walls either. They’re simple structures made from support beams and a weatherproof roof. However, an attached carport is likely going to have at least one wall depending on how it’s attached to the building.

Homeowners also tend to prefer carports over add-on garages because of no extra property taxes. In many municipalities, carports aren’t classified as taxable properties. That’s because the metal carports don’t require a foundation. 

With sustainability becoming a major concern for the public, carports are increasingly serving a dual purpose. Not only do they protect against the elements for vehicles, but they also enable the property owner to generate electricity through solar panels placed on the roof. 

The solar panels are a perfect fit for the carport. It already has a vast metal surface that remains unused. By placing panels on the surface, this space can be better utilized to generate clean power through the most abundant source of renewable energy.

What is a solar carport?

A solar carport isn’t all that different from a regular carport. The underlying structure and purpose remain the same. It’s a metal structure that’s there to safeguard your vehicle from the elements. However, the canopy on top of the carport has solar panels on it. That’s the only difference between a regular and a solar carport.

From a technology perspective, solar carports can be considered similar to solar ground mounts. That’s because the design of both these systems has only one aim and that’s to get the most optimal exposure to sunlight. 

They provide a crucial benefit to property owners compared to solar ground mounts. Solar carports don’t require additional land for the installation of panels like a ground mount system does. This results in more efficient use of the space

How does a solar carport work?

A solar carport works much in the same way as a ground mount solar setup does. The primary purpose of providing shade and protection for the vehicle isn’t infringed by the addition of solar panels.

The panels are placed on the canopy of the carport for the best exposure to sunlight. They can then utilize the sunlight to generate electricity. The solar carport can be hooked up with a home battery for power storage. This enables homeowners to significantly reduce their electricity bills. 

Since one or multiple cars are parked under the carport, most people tend to hook up the panels on the canopy to an electric vehicle charging port. This provides them with a sustainable way of charging their vehicles while they’re parked in the carport.

Where are they most frequently found?

It’s not uncommon to see solar carports on residential properties. Many homeowners are realizing their potential and opting to invest in them. However, solar carports are significantly more popular in the commercial sector right now. 

Businesses are heavily investing in large solar carports as it enables them to meet their sustainability goals as well as to generate cheaper electricity. Big businesses tend to have massive car parks dedicated to their employees and customers. 

If they were to use ground mount panels, they would be unable to provide parking space. With solar carports, they can get the maximum benefit out of their land. The same holds for stadiums, churches, recreational centers, and basically any business or organization that has a large parking space at its disposal. 

How much does a solar carport cost?

Costs for solar carports have come down significantly over the past few years. The average prices now range from $3.45 per watt to $3.99 per watt. A report by EnergySage points out that a solar carport costs $3.45 per watt in the United States. 

A conventional system designed to meet almost the entire energy needs of a typical home would be 11kW. 

The costs for a commercial setup will be much higher simply by the larger space that needs to be covered. That can, however, bring down the cost per watt due to the economies of scale.

Are solar carports worth it?

Solar carports are worth it. Not only do they help you become more sustainable but they also enable you to save money on your electricity bill. They’re a great alternative to ground-mount or solar roof installation, particularly if your roof isn’t fit for solar panel installation. 

Consider the installation of a solar carport as a home improvement project. Given the significant upfront cost, you’ll need to get enough generated electricity out of the system to recoup the installation cost. If you’re planning on moving shortly, the cost might not recuperate, even if the solar carport installation improves the property value.

Environmental impact of solar carports in the future

Solar power is the most abundant and one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy. It’s already being harnessed at a massive scale to reduce the impact that fossil fuel-based methods of energy production have on the planet. 

Solar carports will play a vital role in offsetting our carbon emissions in the future. Since they provide another avenue for people to embrace solar, the reliance on fossil fuels will reduce, thereby contributing to the improvement of our environment. 

The automotive industry is already seeing incredible interest in fully electric vehicles. Solar carports are the perfect companion for these vehicles of the future. They will help reduce pollution and provide us with clean energy to power our vehicles. 

Can you get a solar carport for your own home?

The federal government incentivizes you to switch to solar. You can get a federal solar tax credit for installing a solar carport at home. The tax credit provides a 26% federal tax deduction on the amount spent on installing a qualified solar energy system which includes carports. 

This provides significant savings and makes it easier for homeowners to make the switch. Do keep in mind that the tax credit is only offered for residential properties. Commercial buildings don’t qualify for the credit.

Go green with Aspiration

You can also make an even more positive impact on the environment by switching your banking provider to Aspiration, an online bank that is 100% committed to clean money. No customer deposits are used to fund fossil fuel projects that harm the planet. 

Aspiration offers powerful cash management accounts with up to 1.00% APY on savings. It also enables you to plant a tree with every transaction so that you can contribute to reforestation efforts across the globe while you shop.

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