Solar Carports are a relatively new Solar Energy Product compared to other Solar Products like Solar Heaters and Solar Cooking.Solar Carports are fast catching on as their dual use of protecting,shading a car as well as providing electricity to nearby offices and buildings.It makes use of real estate that would go waste so it provides a lot of value add besides helping in protecting the environment as well.
How Solar Carports Work
Solar Carports work mostly using the same principles like a normal residential solar installation.Solar Panels are installed on the roof of the carport and then connected electrically to the power grid using an inverter.The designing,installation and power connection of the solar carport is done by most of the normal Solar EPC Contractors that work on residential and commercial rooftops.
Solar Carports Costs
If you put up Solar Panels on an existing Carport rather than buying a new structure than the cost of the Solar Carport should not be more than that of putting Solar Panels on the Roof.The Cost of Putting a Solar Panel is around $4-5/watt for small commercial installations and somewhat higher for residential installations.On the other hand buying a Solar Carport Structure with Solar Panels would be higher.Note you would get subsidies for Solar Carports just the same as for Rooftop Solar Installations and probably subsidies for Charging Stations for EVs as well.
Solar Carport Structures
Some companies also sell carports that includes the steel structure which house the vehicle.The whole carport is sold as a single piece instead of putting solar panels on the roof of an existing carport.This structures have the advantage of being customized for generating electricity.Note Solar Carports can be of different designs – a single pole with solar panels forming the roof of the solar carport or a steel structure which is customized for putting up solar panels on top
Solar Carports as Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles
Solar Carports are being increasingly being used as Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles making the Carports totally green.Note Electric Vehicles are being massively subsidized and supported by government around the world.Charging stations for Lithium,NiMH batteries are essential infrastructure for EVs and Hybrid Vehicles.These Solar Carports are ideal for use as Charging Stations as they generate Green Electricity and house Cars as well.Solar Carports and Electric Vehicles are kind of made for each other and make the Electric Car Concept totally Green.Cities are increasingly adopting this model such as Los Angeles
Solar Carports Suppliers
Envision Solar – The original pioneer of the concept of Solar Carport Envision Solar is listed on the US markets.The company has a number of solar products based on high tech design of solar carports which include Solar Tree®, Solar Row™, LifePort®, LifePod™ and LifeVillage™.The company has tied up with Chevy Volts for putting up Charging Stations as well.
Note most Solar Installers in USA will design Solar Carports and there are only a few players dedicated to Solar Carport segments only.Here is a list of some of the top residential and commercial installers in the USA
Akeena/Westinghouse Solar (WEST) – The first US Solar Installer to list on the US Stock Exchange,the company’s operations are based mainly in California.The company also sells solar sytems through retail outlets which was a first.The company also has a unique solar system which reduces solar installation costs called Mandalay.
Real Goods Solar (RSOL)- The second US Solar Installer to list on the Stock exchange,Real Goods Solar is present in California and Colorado and it targets the residential and commercial segments of the market
Verengo Solar – The company also provides solar financing solutions and is present in the California market.
Borrego Solar – The company is similar to Verengo Solar but mainly concentrates on the commercial market.The company signed a deal with Chinese solar panel producer Yingli for procuring solar panels.The company is headquartered in California like most others.
Sungevity – Sungevity is a California company targeting the residential market through a solar leasing plan.It extensively uses the Internet to design the system and has a JV with US Bank to provide financing to its customers.
SolarCity – SolarCity is a full-service solar provider for commercial and residential customers and does solar power system design, financing, installation and monitoring services from a single source.SolarCity is introduced a new solar lease option, called SolarLease.It also has other options like PPA .The company’s footprint extends to Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington D.C.
SunRun – SunRun is one of the newer solar installation and solar financing companies that target the residential market mainly.The company is present mainly in the Western part of USA operating in 7 states Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.The company uses a PPA model to sell solar systems and has partnered with a numer of pure play solar installers
Largest Solar Carports
Phoenix Solar,Italy – The largest Solar Carport is being built by Phoenix Solar which is a 5.9 MW solar carport in Italy.24,700 Solarwatt crystalline photovoltaics modules are expected to be installed on four individual surface areas, which will form the roof of the roughly 13,000 square meter carport
Sunwize Systems,Arizona,USA – SunWize Systems is installing the largest carport at Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center ,Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) medical center in Phoenix, Arizona with a capacity of around 4 MW using 18,000 Samsung and Panasonic crystalline solar modules