First they were in outer space, then they invaded our homes and businesses, and even our backyards. Now solar panels are getting into our most sacred possessions, right next to our automobiles. Solar panel roofs are providing shade for cars through the U.S. and at the same time these panels are producing a lot of electricity.
Solar panels are particularly well-suited for certain applications, and solar carports should be right on top of the list. We could be talking about the Mars Rover, where the next Shell gas station is no closer than 30 million miles away. But here we are talking about solar carports, which are relatively new areas of huge potential for the solar industry.
Solar carports are constructed on a parking lot. The structures provide shelter from the sun and other elements and, more importantly, produce renewable electricity. Shade problems are an ever present danger for solar panel home installations. Obstructions and weak roofs loom large in planning an installation on commercial buildings.
Since parking lots usually do not have many trees, there are few shading problems. The car ports are made specifically to accommodate solar panels and the panels don’t have to contend with obstructions or weak roofs. They are designed with the sole focus on how to generate as much output for the lowest cost.
With residential solar energy systems, aesthetics play an important role, or should play a role. Since solar carports are built on ugly asphalt parking lots, the solar panels here can only improve the appearance. Solar carports can be installed anywhere in the country.
The Lincoln-SudburyRegionalHigh Schoolschool board inMassachusetts just voted to approve a 1.2-megawatt carport structure, which will be built by SunEdison. It is estimated that the school district will save nearly $100,000 a year in electricity costs, and of course SunEdison will get a good chunk of change under the power purchase agreement.
If you haven’t seen a solar carport yet, you most certainly will. Carports with solar energy are sprouting up all over the country. If you like, you can park your car under a solar carport and listen to the music on your radio as you watch the panels produce solar electricity.