What’s a Solar Carport System & How Does It Work?

Solar Dictionary
Solar Carport in Parking Lot

A solar carport is exactly what it sounds like — a carport with solar installed either in it or on it. A solar carport can be seen as a marriage of rooftop and ground-mount solar panels. It serves both as a covering for your car and as a way to generate electricity. But what are the advantages of a solar carport over ground-mount solar panels or roof-mounted solar? 

The Advantages of a Solar Carport

A solar carport comes with some distinct advantages over the more traditional solar installations, particularly ground-mounted panels. While your average solar carport may not be able to give you the full output that a roof-mounted system could, it does compare favorably with other types of solar. 

Solar Carports Use Unused Space

Like roof-mounted solar panels, solar carports utilize space that would otherwise go unused. With a standard solar installation, the space is on the roof of your home. Beyond skylights and chimneys, the roof space of your home is almost entirely useless. Rooftop solar panels help utilize this space, making your home more efficient.

In a similar way, solar carports can take up unused space. Your garage or carport may cover your car or have storage space, but the roof is being wasted. A solar carport can use that space to provide solar power to your home.

This is a distinct advantage over ground-mounted solar panels. While ground-mounted panels can still provide all the electricity your home needs, they are typically mounted in your backyard. The panels are taking up space in your yard that you could use for other things. In some backyards, which are already very cramped, ground-mounted panels are just yet another thing making your home seem smaller than it already is. 

Therefore, a solar carport could serve as a viable alternative to a rooftop installation. Ground-mounted solar panels provide a similar alternative for those with sufficient lawn space.

Solar Carports Protect Your Car

This is, perhaps, an overly obvious point. However, it is one that is worth making. Many homeowners don’t have a garage that they can park their car in. A solar carport will then serve two purposes — providing your home with solar energy and protecting your car from snow, rain, and hail. Solar panels are held to the highest standards of durability and will be able to withstand basically everything that the weather can throw at them.

Solar Carports Can Be Integrated Into Electric Vehicle Chargers

Finally, solar carports can serve as both a garage and as a charging station for electric vehicles. At home, your EV can charge overnight while parked underneath your solar carport. You won’t need to worry about running out of charge in the morning. Solar carports away from home can serve as valuable business opportunities: you can park your EV at the store while getting it charged at the same time. 

Additionally, it is estimated that as much as 20% of the total area of all cities in America consists of parking lots. Adding solar carports to these otherwise barren parking lots can provide nearby businesses with electricity.   

How Do Solar Carports Compare To Other Forms of Solar?

Solar carports aren’t as popular as ground-mounts or rooftop-mounted solar. Electric vehicles are not yet widespread in America which lessens the need for public carports. However, that is changing rapidly as time goes on, which may make solar carports more popular. They are already seeing boosts in the commercial sector.

Residential Solar Carports

Solar carports are a very useful way to start small with solar. You can get solar panels in an unused spot of your home without needing to jump straight into a full installation. This is useful for those who may not necessarily need a full solar installation. 

Depending on the size of the carport, you can still get a full-size solar installation out of it. Going solar this way can get you the full benefits of renewable energy while also leaving space in your yards. It can be particularly helpful for those who may have a roof that is unfit for solar. Perhaps the roof is damaged or it is too steep. If that is the case, carport solar can still get you solar even with all those other obstacles.

Most homeowners would rather go with rooftop-mounted solar panels. Their second choice is often ground-mounted solar modules. However, solar carports are one of many up-and-coming technologies. They can serve in many different applications for both homeowners and businesses alike.


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