For organizations looking to go solar, most think of a traditional rooftop array as the best option. While there are many benefits to having your commercial solar panels on the roof, there's an even stronger argument to be made for opting into solar carports instead.
Want a little extra shade for your guests and employees? Solar carports. Want to the option for more panels than your roof can hold? Solar carports. In some cases, solar tax credits can even help to offset the cost of these structures. Read on to learn more about this increasingly popular alternative for commercial solar applications.
Sometimes referred to as solar canopies, these structures offer the same clean energy-producing benefits as a rooftop solar array, but with the added benefit of providing coveted shade. In Arizona, you probably know firsthand how painful those interior surfaces can be when your car sits directly under our formidable sunshine throughout the day. Some solar carports even integrate car chargers so that EV owners can easily fill up while they're working and drive with Arizona's clean and most abundant natural resource in the tank.
What is a Solar Carport or Canopy?
First of all, we need to define what we're talking about. Solar carports and canopies are shade structures made with solar panels. They can be made to cover just a few parking spaces - or more commonly - entire parking lots. In both scenarios, solar carport owners reap the many benefits of clean solar energy while providing coveted shade and protection for their vehicles.
But beyond shaded relief, there are many other benefits your organization can look forward to when installing a solar carport. Let's take a look at a few more.
1. Maximize the Use of Parking Lot Space
Although parking lots have inherent value in providing a place for your employees and visitors to park, installing solar carports maximizes the efficiency of these spaces by allowing them to serve double-duty as your own energy factory. This can be especially useful if the roof of your building isn't suitable for a solar installation or if you don't want to use additional land for a traditional ground mounted system. Turning your parking lot into an energy-producing asset will also significantly reduce operating expenses and improve your organization's bottom line.
2. Provide Shade to Employees and Visitors Alike
On an average 110-degree Arizona summer day, most car interiors will approach 160 degrees. Surfaces such as shifters and steering wheels will be even hotter. With solar carports, your employees and visitors won't have to worry about burning their hands or waiting for their car to cool down. While this might seem like a small benefit, daily and weekly visitors will surely be thankful.
3. Exemplify Your Commitment to Sustainability
Another great benefit of solar carports is how visible they are compared to a rooftop solar array. Many organizations that choose a rooftop solar array have a harder time showcasing a clear commitment to sustainability. With a solar carport, the actions your organization is taking to be more environmentally friendly are easily on display for all to see.
4. Add EV Charging and Drive On Sunshine
Another benefit to solar carports is that they can be easily outfitted with electric vehicle charging stations. EVs are increasing in popularity every year. By adding EV chargers to your solar carport, you're not only demonstrating your commitment to sustainability, but you're also more welcoming to those who currently drive an electric vehicle. You'll also be future-proofing your business by getting ahead of the EV curve.
5. Add to Your Bottom Line
When you’re producing your own clean, affordable energy with solar panels, that’s money saved by not buying electricity from a monopoly utility. By reducing your reliance on utility power, you lock in predictable energy costs for decades while also shielding your business from annual rate increases. You also free up money that can be used to grow other areas of your organization.
Saving by installing a solar carport is only made better when you claim the 30% solar tax credit. The 30% tax credit can also be applied to the cost of the structure as well as the solar panels, making your parking shade both affordable and lucrative. There's never been a better time to claim these limited-time commercial solar incentives.
If you're interested in solar—whether that's a solar carport or a traditional rooftop solar array—we can help. With over 17 years of experience, Sun Valley Solar Solutions has designed some of the largest commercial solar systems in the southwest. Simply click the button below to request a free commercial solar consultation.