The Rising Popularity of Solar Carports
Most carports are designed solely with storage and vehicle protection in mind. Yet metal buildings like carports can do so much more when they're designed with sustainability in mind. Solar carports in particular are a recent innovation that are being embraced on a large scale in certain parts of the world aiming to produce more sustainable energy. Whether you're a homeowner wondering about producing power on your metal carport or a civil engineer considering a public solar carport project, these facts will help you understand the rising popularity of these systems.
Creating Sustainable Energy
As their name suggests, solar carports are designed around displaying solar panels at the ideal angle for power generation. These carports also happen to offer shade and protection from rain and snow. However, these carports are primarily open in design and therefore only provide so much protection from inclement weather. Carports designed for home use tend to offer more protection because you can customize them to fit your needs. Even if the roof is covered in solar panels, you can also add walls and ends to create full enclosure without compromising on the amount of power generated each day.
Choosing Public and Private Options
As long as your electrical provider allows for homeowners to handle their own power generation, adding solar panels to a new or existing carport should be a relatively simple process. The story is different when you're considering a public solar carport installation. Public solar carports are generally designed to generate a large amount of power, so they may eschew other carport features if they clash with the goal of power generation. You don't necessarily need to follow the example set by local public solar carports when designing one for your home.
Meeting Local Solar Requirements
Some county initiatives in states like California are driving business and homeowners alike to install solar panels with each new construction project. Solar carports are a great way to meet these requirements without having to alter the plans for the roof of your home. If your carport has a lower roof than your second or third-story home, the panels will remain more accessible for cleaning and repairs in the future. Check into solar regulations like California's Title 24 mandate to determine if your carport should feature panels. If you're currently in the middle of building a new home and forgot to take energy generation into consideration, moving your solar panel goals to your carport or another accessory metal building can reduce the stress of trying to catch up.
Assisting in Transitioning Businesses
Solar carports are a great way to gently expand into sustainable energy production for a business looking for new opportunities. Any business with a parking lot can install the carport panels to create valuable shade while capturing the value of solar power. Reducing energy costs by generating electricity on site is a great way to increase the profitability of a business. Employees and customers alike will appreciate the cooler temperatures offered by the shady carports as well. If you're not sure if solar power is the right option for running your business, a few solar carports are a great way to give it a try without a major investment.
Turning Existing Carports into Solar Ones
Existing metal carports can be transformed into solar panel systems with relatively minimal changes. Some carports may need reinforcement and a stronger frame before they can bear the weight of an extensive panel system. However, most modern carports likely have plenty of weight-bearing ability to handle today's lightweight solar panels. The solar panel installers can assess your structure to determine if it needs upgrades or not. Your panels may need to sit at a slightly different angle than your current roof slope to efficiently capture the sunlight. This can change the appearance of your building, but you can take it into account when designing a building from scratch so there's no need for the extra frames.
Learn more about solar power opportunities in your area before deciding if a solar carport is right for you. Some parts of the country don't get enough direct sunlight to make a solar carport worth the cost, but you may be located in an area that is perfect for power generation.