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Top Considerations for Installing Solar Carport in California

Installing solar panels on your roof or the ground isn’t possible because you need more room. A solar carport is a great option.

By Incorporating Solar panels carports provide a shield for automobiles from the sun’s ultraviolet rays and also protect in bad weather and power your home and charge your electric cars. 

What Are Solar Carports?

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A solar carport is one of the easiest ways to build a structure that both places your car and makes electricity, but there are some additional considerations you should think about.

An easy way to describe a solar carport is a canopy or roof over a parking lot with photovoltaic panels. A solar carport does two things: it protects your cars from the weather and makes power for your home. A solar carport can also be used as an EV charging point if you have an electric vehicle.

The racking frame in both ground-mounted and solar carports is directly attached to the ground, so they work the same way. Solar carports, conversely, need to be higher than ground-mounted systems to provide room for cars.

Commercial Solar Carports

Does your business need more space on the roof to put solar panels? In that case, solar carports can help.

Even though putting solar panels on the roof of a business is only sometimes the best idea, solar energy is still a choice. Companies can better use the room that covers a parking lot by installing solar panel carports, a new trend. Since commercial parking lots are usually big and open, they are great places for installing solar panels. Building solar panel carports over parking spots is still a good way for businesses to use solar energy.

A solar carport could be a great way to get solar energy for your business property without putting solar panels on the roof. Sunlight can power solar carports, providing shade for people and cars. Business owners can put a photovoltaic system on their parking lot and make their own green energy, even though most solar systems are on roofs.

Residential Solar Carport

Residential carports are a great alternative to installing PV panels on the roof. If your roof doesn’t allow for solar energy production or you want to keep your roof’s good looks, consider getting a residential carport. Moreover, if you have some extra space in your yard that you’re not using, then incorporating solar carports is an excellent choice to keep your car safe while also giving you energy, similar to rooftop PV systems.

DIY Solar Carports

As many people as possible have made their solar carports. It might be easier than installing something on a roof because you won’t have to deal with an existing roof that needs to be resealed after holes are punched in it. However, Fishman thinks that only some people can do it.

Fisherman said It’s hard to find people who are good at building and carpentry. He suggested hiring a licensed electrician, especially when linking to the grid.

Most places will also have rules about codes, permits, and inspections that workers will be better able to understand and follow.

Solar Carport: Key Components to Consider

Carport Size: Finding the Right Fit

When choosing the size of your carport, there are a few factors to consider to strike the right balance. You should consider the installation costs, available space, and the amount of electricity you can generate. Generally, larger carports are more expensive to install, but the price per watt decreases as the size increases, and some installation expenses remain fixed regardless of the system’s size.

Another aspect to consider is the number of solar panels you’ll need to cover your carport. Three solar panels can typically cover one parking row, while seven solar panels arranged as a single carport structure can cover two. You can customize the configuration based on your parking lot and energy requirements.

Clearance – The Space Underneath Your Solar Carport

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When designing your solar panel carport with a solar contractor, it’s important to consider the clearance space beneath the panels. The carport structure should have enough vertical clearance to pass easily underneath vehicles and equipment. However, too high support can unnecessarily increase the project’s cost.

The ideal clearance height depends on the type of vehicles you expect to park under the solar canopy. Businesses anticipating heavy trucks and delivery vehicles should aim for a minimum deck height of 14 feet. A shorter carport might suit companies primarily dealing with smaller cars and trucks. Emergency vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances, which require higher clearance, may need alternative passage routes around the carports.

Decking: Managing Water Runoff

Apart from generating cost-free electricity, one of the advantages of a solar carport is providing covered parking. By installing a sturdy roof made of decking material, such as metal, you can protect cars and people from the elements like sun, rain, and snow. The solar panels are then mounted on the decking, preventing rain and water runoff from falling on the vehicles and individuals below.

Depending on the carport structure, the decking may come with an additional cost ranging from $0.20 to $0.25 per watt. However, if cost reduction is a priority, it’s possible to omit the decking and directly install the solar panels to the mounting framework, similar to a ground-mounted solar system. But keep in mind that small gaps between the panels may allow water to puddle on the surfaces below without decking. Consider using downspouts or water management systems to direct water away from the solar canopies and toward proper drainage areas.

Snow Guards

If you live in an area prone to snowy winters, it’s essential to consider adding snow guards to your solar carport. Snow accumulation on the solar panels can reduce their electricity generation. However, the panels are designed to warm up and shed the snow quickly, exposing them to sunlight without requiring manual snow removal.

While this is great for your electricity bill, it poses a risk to anyone walking or driving beneath the carports if the snow falls off in large sheets. Snow guards can help prevent significant snowfalls from sliding off the panels, ensuring the safety of individuals below.

Snow guards are recommended in regions with potential snowfall. By installing them, any snow that falls off the panels will land in a designated area, such as the grass, where it won’t pose a risk to anyone. However, if your carport is located near the edge of the parking lot, you can avoid the need for snow guards

Lighting: Illuminating the Area

Installing a solar carport structure can make your existing light posts obsolete, so ensuring adequate lighting for your parking lot is essential. Consider replacing old and inefficient lights with LED lights, which can be an additional benefit of a carport renovation.

Lighting can be installed under the carport to maintain well-lit and secure parking areas. This is especially important for larger solar carport systems that span multiple rows of parking spaces. However, if your carport only covers one row of parking spaces, you may not need to install additional lights.

What Makes Solar Carports A Valuable Investment?

With a solar carport, it’s easy to use space in your parking lot that isn’t being used. They protect your workers, customers, and tenants cars and are also a good way to make money because they produce clean, green energy year after year. 

The best thing about designs like single-pillar carports is that they only take up a little room. This means you can get the most out of your property’s parking spaces and energy production. As the need for clean air and green energy grows, solar carports in your parking lot will become a valuable addition that will make your property stand out.

Will a solar carport system get you the solar tax credit?

With the solar tax credit, you can get a 30% federal tax break on building a qualified solar energy system. This includes solar carports. If you consider the federal tax credit, the above-mentioned solar garage would only cost $9,975 instead of $14,250.

Is a solar carport worth it?

Most of the time, rooftop solar will be cheaper than a ground-mounted solar array or a solar carport because you won’t have to build a new fixing structure. But there are times when a solar carport would be the best choice.

Putting solar panels on your roof is cheaper, but putting them elsewhere will protect your roof. Roofs and solar cells are both things that last a long time. Most solar panels have a guarantee lasting 20 to 25 years, but they can still work after the warranty ends. 

Panels can be removed and put back on, but that can be expensive and make the roof more likely to get damaged. Solar businesses offer warranties that cover roofs that leak, but these warranties usually end before the warranties on the panels. You don’t have to worry about the roof when you build a solar carport.

Solar panels can only sometimes be put on a roof because it’s too dark, faces the wrong way, or has too many things blocking the sun. A garage might be a better choice in this case.

Your solar panels are helpful because they make energy and protect your car from the sun. A carport isn’t as safe as a garage, but it does protect your car from the sun and snow.

Roof-mounted solar panels can also be used to charge an electric car, but solar carports for homes are a better fit for this purpose. And homeowners who want to join the 26% of people who already run their entire homes on electricity might need more solar power as they buy more electric cars and appliances. It might be more cost-effective to add a solar carport than to add on to parts of the roof that don’t get as much sun.

It might cost a lot to dig a hole or run wires through the air to connect your solar carport to the grid or your home’s battery bank if the only free space you have is far away from those points.

When you buy something big, you should always do your homework and look around. You should know how much energy you need and how much power the sun can give you. Then, get quotes from reliable companies like Solar Earth INC, such as local installers.

Solar Carports Installation in California

Incorporating Solar carports in California protects your cars from the sun and rain, contributes significantly to energy savings, makes power for your business and helps keep the skies clear in California. They also raise the value of your home and give you a steady source of energy and money that you can use to grow your business, lower your carbon footprint, and lower utility bills. Contact Solar Earth INC today for California’s residential or commercial solar carport installation. 

We proudly serve in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos and Santa Maria.