Solar PV & Renewable Energy prices

Benefits of Solar Carports: Green Living in the 21st Century

Imagine having an EV and charging its battery at a solar carport rather than from an electric outlet. While it may sound like a far-fetched fantasy, the reality is its already happening. Solar carports have been growing in popularity as more business large and small have started to realize the benefits and financial savings that can be gained from them. A solar carport is an ideal solution for facilities and commercial spaces looking to save on electricity costs by utilizing clean, cost effective solar power, and to provide a convenient covered parking space for employees and customers. Solar carports are specifically designed to ensure proper coverage and alignment of solar panels without sacrificing valuable parking, drive and walkway spaces.

Another significant benefit that can be derived from a solar carport, which many businesses and research institutions are actively investing in, is using solar power that it generates generated to charge electric vehicles, so that they run on solar energy instead of grid electricity. This is a truly innovative way to further reduce CO2 emmisions, and lower our dependence on fossil fuels. What can be better for our earth than combining the benefits of such green technologies as solar power and electric vehicles to jump start a totally new, eco-friendly way of living in the 21st century.

Advantages of Solar Carports in Commercial Applications

- Provide a more efficient and economical alternative to roof-mount and ground-mount solar systems. In fact, solar carports generate up to 30% more electricity than a fixed, rooftop-mounted PV system. By
generating energy more efficiently, a solar carport can produce lower cost per kWh electricity.

-Eliminate the need to give up valuable real estate space by utilizing already existing areas to generate power.

-Serve as an addition to an already existing solar system on a roof, thereby significantly increasing the overall energy production output of the solar project.

-Require virtually no maintenance and provide easy access in case repairs are needed.

-Provide optimal shaded parking for cars.

-Serve as a visible hallmark of a green business, letting clients know that your company cares about the environment and takes action to protect it.

-Businesses that build a solar carport are eligible for tax incentives and credits from local, state, and federal government.

Using Solar Carports to Charge EVs

While the connection between electric vehicles and solar carports may not be an obvious one, the two industries are closely collaborating to pave the way for consumers to charge their electric vehicles in many locations without depending on grid electricity. It is likely that in the near future the number of electric cars on the road will grow, and countless charging stations will be needed to power them. There will also come a point where the grid may be strained to supply the entire electricity demand for EVs. Thus, solar carports are a natural alternative for supplementing this anticipated increase in electricity demand. In addition to convenience and financial savings, they are a more attractive alternative to grid electricity, because they supply clean, green energy. At a solar carport, vehicles can easily pull up and plug in to the charging station, while excess solar energy can be utilized by a nearby home or business.

One institution that is actively experimenting with this concept is the New York Institute of Technology, which is piloting “One Spot, One Car, One Commute” Program. The institute has two solar-powered EV charging stations that generate electricity to power the commutes of NYIT faculty and staff who drive the university’s two 2009 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids.

In March 2009, the institute put up its first solar-powered EV charging station located at the Central Islip campus. A few months later, a second solar-powered EV charging station was installed at the Westbury campus. Each station has four spots that offer 2.5 kW of solar-powered charging, or enough to power a typical individual’s annual commute. NYIT’s primary goal is not only to conduct research on solar charging stations for EVs, but also to widely publicize the benefits and convenience of solar-charged driving. The program is spearheading a revolutionary vision of a greener world in which as many people as possible drive EVs powered by the sun.

NYIT is not alone in this endeavor, and in fact large forward-thinking corporations, among them Dell and Google have also started to install solar carports in their parking lots. GE (General Electric) has recently announced a partnership with Inovateus Solar for the building of EV Solar Carports. They will range in size from two-car solar carports to larger commercial structures that can house 20 vehicles or more. A GE solar carport will generate enough power to charge up to 13 EVs a day. The company is looking far beyond the corporate sector and intends to bring the solar carport with its environmental and financial benefits to a variety of places such as universities, government institutions, sports venues and many more. Research conducted by GE reveals promising statistics: a solar carport servicing a fleet of six EVs can reduce electricity usage up to 20,000 kWh per year. This translates into avoiding 12 metric tons of associated CO2 emissions that would have been generated from charging these EVs from the grid.

For us as consumers, the benefits of solar carports are crystal clear. When the usage of solar carports will become common place, you will be able to charge your EV while at work, which will allow you to reduce your household energy use and also significantly extend the range of your commute. As a result, solar carports will help make EVs a lot more practical by removing one of its biggest limitations (the need to recharge an EV at home every night or to look for special charging stations if you start running low on power). With this inconvenience taken care of, many more people will be likely to trade in their polluting internal-combustion engine vehicles for electric cars powered by the sun.

Levchik (Leo) is a renewable energy activist from Boston, MA, and has been involved with alternative energy and green construction since 2004.

In 2009, Leo and his green roofing company ( sponsored Boston’s Solar Decathlon Team, providing materials and installation labor to install a cool white roof on the top of Curio home (Joint effort by Tufts University and Boston Architecture College) – more info about the project here.

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with one comment

Written by Levchik B

Posted on June 12th, 2012 at 1:28 am

Posted in Solar Installation

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One Response to 'Benefits of Solar Carports: Green Living in the 21st Century'

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  1. A carport is a great way to protect your car from the harsh elements of nature. also there is a design of carports that effectively used as a barbecue area cover, a swimming pool cover, deck cover. carports also provide a protection from the weather for your vehicle, boat or caravan.

    carports Brisbane

    9 Aug 12 at 8:25 am

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