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Have you ever seen a solar carport and wondered what its purpose is and how it functions?
If so, you’re in the right place.
Solar carports can help you get the most out of a solar power installation and maximize the amount of off-grid electricity you can produce – but how do they do that?
Here’s everything you need to know about how a solar carport can help take your residential solar power system to the next level.
What Is a Solar Carport?
Put simply, a solar carport is much like a typical carport — a structure that provides a place for a vehicle or vehicles to park beneath and protects it from the elements. But it comes with an added bonus.
What sets a solar carport apart from a typical carport is the addition of solar panels. With PV panels and the right balance of system, these structures can prove an invaluable asset to a residential solar power system.
While solar carports are the most common in the commercial sector, if you have a carport at home, you can use the available surface area that receives direct sunlight to install a PV panel array.
How Do Solar Carports Work?
Solar carports are structures similar to your typical carport but have rigid solar panels mounted to produce electricity. You can use that electricity to power your electric vehicle!
This electricity can, as discussed, power almost anything – but what about when the sun isn’t shining?
To store energy to use later, like at night when the sun doesn’t shine, you can connect your solar panels to a portable power station. EcoFlow’s portable power stations are an all-in-one off-grid solution. Everything you need to convert and store the DC electricity your solar panels capture to household AC is built-in, including:
If you have a grid-tied solar power system and only generate part of your household’s electricity using a PV panel array, a portable power station or solar battery allows you to minimize the amount of electricity you consume during peak billing hours.
Battery storage can also be a lifesaver during a power outage — keeping your lights on even when the grid fails.
How Do Solar Carports Compare to Rooftop Solar Panel Installations?
Now you know that solar carports serve as a typical carport but with the addition of solar panels to harness renewable electricity from the sun.
So, why wouldn’t you just mount those panels on the roof?
Certain benefits come with solar carports over your typical rooftop solar panel installation.
For one, you only have so much space on your roof.
Let’s say there’s not enough room for all the PV panels you need to reach your electricity generation goals. Solar panels don’t always produce their rated power wattage, so you might need more panels than you think to satisfy your household’s power consumption requirements. With a solar carport, you can customize the structure to supply the additional space you need.
But that’s not all.
Your home’s roof likely isn’t optimized for solar power generation. However, the roof of a new-build carport can be. You can design a solar carport with maximum electricity generation potential in mind from the outset.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Carports?
Now that you understand what a solar carport is and how it can augment a typical rooftop installation, let’s cover some of the benefits you can expect from investing in one:
You Can Customize Their Size
Space is a precious commodity in any solar panel array. Let’s say you’re trying to produce electricity to support an entire household — depending on your home, you could need up to 20 400W rigid solar panels or more!
Having the space on your home’s roof for that many solar panels isn’t always an option. With a solar carport, you can design it to be as large as you need it to be as long as you have sufficient space on your property.
Control Over Angle, Orientation, and Size
Many factors impact how much electricity a solar panel produces, including its efficiency rating and even the temperature. A new solar carport should be designed for the primary purpose of generating electricity.
The angle and orientation of PV panels is a critical factor in how much electricity they produce. With a new solar carport, you can build it at precisely the proper orientation and angle to generate the most possible electricity.
Emergency EV Charging
While not ideal as the go-to method of charging your electric vehicle, you can use a portable power station grounding adapter and solar carport to charge your EV.
EVs demand a significant amount of electricity — like you would find at an EV charging station — to fully recharge. But, in a pinch, you could use a Delta Pro + Grounding Adapter to get your EV up and running in an emergency, such as during a blackout or if you run out of power a few miles away from the nearest EV charging station.
Protect Your Vehicle from the Elements
We’ve primarily focused on the benefits of solar carports generating renewable energy. But a solar carport is still a carport at the end of the day. It protects your vehicle from the elements.
Save on Energy Costs
One of the most significant benefits of generating your own renewable energy is that it saves you money on electricity bills. A residential solar panel installation can save you a lot of money in the long run and yield a healthy return on investment — especially if you optimize energy generation in your carport design. If you have an on-grid solar power system and utilize net metering, you can even sell excess electricity back to the grid in exchange for a credit on your bill.
Creating a solar carport can help you achieve solar payback sooner.
Incentives for Solar Carport Installations
Are you considering investing in a residential solar carport installation?
You may qualify for federal and local government incentives. Usually given in the form of an income tax credit, government programs can significantly reduce the cost of a residential solar power system.
Look into your eligibility and claim any incentives available to you for switching to solar. A tax credit can significantly decrease your solar payback period.
Frequently Asked Questions
The wattage you’ll produce with a solar carport depends on many factors, including the type of PV panels you use, how many are included in your system, their rated power and efficiency ratings, and more. Maximize the electricity produced by placing your panels at optimal angles and orientations.
A solar carport is worth it if you have sufficient unused property that receives direct sunlight. Depending on where you live, your choice of PV panels and portable power station, and numerous other factors, you could realize significant savings on your electricity bills by building a solar carport.
How many panels you need is dependent on many factors. Design your solar carport to ensure it accommodates the number of PV panels required to meet your electricity consumption needs. Total up the wattage/amperage of the appliances you need to power (and for how long). Use that to decide how many solar panels your carport should accommodate.
There are many benefits to be gained from a solar carport installation.
Like a typical carport, a solar carport provides a designated parking spot for a vehicle (or vehicles) and shelters it from the elements.
However, it takes things a step further by integrating solar panels into its design.
From maximizing your electricity generation potential to protecting your car from the elements, solar carports are an excellent investment.
Want to find the gear you need to get your solar carport up and running? Check out our selection at EcoFlow!