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solar canopies and carports

Are solar canopies and carports worth it?

What do solar canopies mean?

Solar canopies are customized outdoor structures that support an overhead solar panel array. These enable distributed solar power systems to produce solar electricity at the point where it’s needed.

'Solar canopy' is a broad term for describing various solar energy systems such as solar carports, patio covers, pergolas, and gazebos.

Solar energy systems come in different sizes and shapes. All of them are built so they can function properly in their designated spaces.

Solar canopies are an important part of any solar installation because they provide several advantages over other mounting options, including roof-top and ground-based solar panels.

With big decreases in the cost of solar power and generous federal incentives for installing solar, solar canopies provide significant financial benefits to homeowners and businesses.

Solar carports or parking canopies 

Solar carports are the commonly used solar canopy structures, also called solar parking canopies or parking lots.

Solar carports for commercial use

Many solar carport systems are installed in parking spaces of commercial properties like retail stores, supermarkets, and EV charging stations.

Solar carport systems offer numerous benefits, including:

  • You don't need extra space for the solar canopy; you can put it atop an already-existent parking spot.
  • They provide another option for installing solar panels on the roof, which may not be feasible for some reasons.
  • Offer better customer parking experiences by providing them with shaded spaces and rain shelters.
  • They ensure that people know that your business uses renewable energy sources by visualizing your company's sustainability efforts.

Solar carports for homeowners

solar canopies and carports

Tesla and other EV owners tend to be attracted to solar carport systems because they can park their cars inside them and charge them from the sun.

When the car isn't there, the output power of the electric motor can charge batteries at home or send electricity to the local utility company for billing credits.

Solar carports don't just benefit electric vehicle owners.

Most homeowners don't want to install solar power systems because they have to replace their roofs soon or they're concerned that installing them would ruin the appearance of their homes.

The following reasons prove why people opt for home solar carports:

  • Provide a parking lot with shade for people who don't have their own garage spaces.
  • Let you use renewable energy to power your electric vehicle at a lower cost than fossil fuels.
  • A better choice if your roof doesn't allow installing solar panels on rooftops.

Read more about  What does Tesla charging costs? How much time will it take?

Solar carports aren't the only type of solar canopies to check out. Solar pergolas, solar gazebos, and solar patio covers are other structures that can be used outdoors for shade.

One of the advantages of these types of structures is providing shade for human beings and animals to rest underneath. You can use this space for sitting, relaxing in a hot bathtub, picnicking or grilling, or having a barbecue.

They're a good choice if the roof isn't suitable for solar panels, but there is extra space in your yard.

A quick overview of the solar pergola, patio cover, and gazebo options

What is the cost of solar canopies?

It isn't easy to estimate a project's cost because it involves many variables.

The overall price depends upon how big a canopy you need, the size of the entire solar energy setup you want, the material quality, and installation charges in your area.

Here, we've provided cost estimates for solar canopies.

Do It Yourself solar canopy cost

You can expect to pay anywhere from $5500-$15,000 for a DIY project for a solar canopy.

The installation of a solar canopy consists of two parts: the canopy itself and the solar panels.

The price of building a typical canopy ranges from $500 to $5,000, further depending on its dimensions and materials.

The complete solar system with the panels, solar inverter, equipment for mounting, and important wires - will typically cost between $4000 and $10,000, considering a solar system between 3.5kWh and 6kWh in size and cost $1.50 per watt.

Professionally installed solar canopy cost

An expertly installed solar canopy system will typically run between $19,000 and $32,500.

You can break down the installation task into two sections. First, you must buy the canopy's construction and install the solar panels, which cover solar energy equipment, manpower, and permits.

We can estimate the cost for the canopy structure at between $10,000 and 15,000. These rates are based on products from Brooklyn Solar Canopies, which is popular for high-quality convertible solar canopies made from aluminum alloy.

We estimate that the total cost of installing solar panels will be between $10,000-$20,000. We calculated these costs using the national average price for installing solar panels at $3.00 per watt and assuming a system capacity between 3kW and 5kW.

Cost of commercial solar canopy installation 

We focus on home solar energy solutions, so we don't have enough details for commercial installations.

Solar Electric Supply gives a cost range for solar carports and lists a price of $67,275 for a 50kW solar carport, which equals $1.40 per watt. Note that this is just equipment cost; the total cost may be twice or even more than this estimate.

 Solar canopy advantages

  • They're useful for a wide range of things
  • You can use it anywhere, from car parks to backyards or buildings
  • When building custom-designed solar canopies, you can adjust the inclination of the solar cells to ensure maximum energy output

Solar canopy disadvantages 

  • The structure's high cost makes solar canopies more expensive than rooftop solar panel installations
  • Building permits: Many localities need you to get a building permit from the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) for any type of solar canopy. This is an extra step beyond getting the permitting for a traditional solar panel array

Recommended solar canopies companies 

solar canopies and carports

Solar canopy construction: Brooklyn Solar Canopy is a recommended residential solar canopy installation company.  

At the Solar Power International exhibition last year, I found their modular design impressive and flexible, with an attractive industrial appearance, and the huge amount of available space under the canopy appealing.

Other companies offering prefabricated solar carports include Lumos Solar, Schletter Solar, and Orion Solar.

All-in-one solar canopy kits: A well-known retailer of solar products and systems, Solar Electric Supply provides a range of commercial carports including 50kW to 1000kW systems.

Solar panel installations: Most solar installers know how to install solar systems in different locations on various buildings. Therefore, we suggest looking for the best solar installation company in your region and talking about the details of your project with them.

Final Words

  • Overhanging solar panels can be held up by using solar canopied frames. These structures provide usable room underneath
  • Canopy structures can create electricity from sunlight, reducing energy bills while making the space beneath them usable
  • Commercial and residential solar carports, solar gazebos, solar pergolas, and solar patio covers are some examples of solar canopies
  • A small-to-medium-sized home solar canopy costs anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000. The ultimate price varies depending on many considerations
  • Suppose you want to install solar panels yourself. In that case, companies like Brooklyn Solar Canopy have specialties in prefabricated solar canopies, but just about any professional solar installer can do the installation job.

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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