A solar parking canopy, sometimes called a solar carport, can protect your vehicles from the snow and sun, but did you know that it can also save you money on your energy bill? Read on to learn all about solar parking canopies, the next topic in our Solar Basics series.
In addition to acting as a roof over a car, a solar parking canopy also produces energy thanks to photovoltaic solar panels that are integrated directly into its structure. Canopies come in various dimensions and configurations. Different types include single-column (one support column every other parking spot), two-column (two support columns every other parking spot), and Louvered (a shuttered panel style). Resembling garages with open sides, commercial canopy projects can accommodate many rows of vehicles.
Solar canopies are dual purpose; they safeguard cars from the elements and also provide power and renewable energy savings for your business. The electricity generated during the day can be used to run your facility’s machinery, technology, and environmental systems. In some states, any excess energy produced but not used on-site can also be sent to the grid for credit on the customer’s electricity bill (see our net metering blog to learn more). Similar to ground-mounted or roof-mounted solar, the panels on a solar canopy can be positioned to achieve an ideal angle with the sun to ensure maximum energy production.
Where a canopy differs from ground and roof-mounted solar, however, is that it works with space you already have for cars or parking space as opposed to needing more property (or roof space) to be installed. This is especially advantageous to businesses in urban areas where real estate is at a premium, as it eliminates the time and cost spent on trying to accommodate equipment. While canopies are capable of functioning on their own, they can also make a substantial addition to an existing solar system too.
A solar parking canopy also offers a unique employee perk of keeping the temperature down in their vehicles, leading them to use less air conditioning during the summer months. This helps maintain fuel efficiency and saves them money on gas. Canopies can also protect cars from damage caused by sunlight and other types of weather that can cause wear and tear.
By installing a solar parking canopy, your business will be taking an active role in decreasing carbon emissions and limiting detrimental impacts to the environment due to climate change. What’s more, a canopy is a highly visible way for a company to show its commitment to sustainability. A great example of a commercial canopy in action is the 854 kW system PowerFlex installed for Chanel in Piscataway, New Jersey.Over the last decade, PowerFlex has helped lower energy costs, increase property value, and meet sustainability goals for clients like Amazon, Target, and Bloomberg. We specialize in turnkey solar and energy storage solutions, managing all aspects of projects from development to execution and asset management. Contact us today for a free solar assessment, and to learn how carports can chop down your organization’s energy costs.