The solar carport silhouette is becoming ubiquitous throughout the Intermountain West. Construction of solar carports, also known as solar parking canopies, is one of the most popular ways to adopt alternative energy systems in the business environment. Today, solar canopies are also helping homeowners generate their own electricity, saving money and reducing their dependency on municipal utility companies.
The Evolution of Solar Parking Covers
You may have first noticed solar carports in use at the schools in your community. The educational community was one of the first to widely adopt energy-generating canopies, especially in the western United States. Due to budget constraints, many schools started with a single span, and they used the cost savings from to increase system capacity year after year. Rutgers University currently has a 32-acre solar carport system that produces enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes. This equates to an estimated $1.2 million of electricity generated each year the system is in place. Rutgers estimates that it will save $28 million in energy costs over 20 years. Today, you are likely to see these innovative structures being used by businesses of all types as well as in residential applications.
Residential Solar Carports
Although energy-producing parking structures have been used in commercial applications for years, they have only recently become available for residential use. Residential solar canopies aren’t limited to the carport, however. Creative homeowners are using them for backyard shade structures and shelters for boats, golf carts and other recreational vehicles. Because these structures are fully customized, they are appropriate for pool cabanas, kids’ play areas or outdoor and open-air kitchens. These structures make a perfect alternative for those homes that may not be ideal for solar installation. If your roof is shaded, for example, a free-standing solar canopy structure will allow you to enjoy the same substantial level of cost savings and energy independence.
Solar Parking Structures for Business
Steel-framed commercial parking structures are the ultimate multi-tasking solution for businesses of all sizes and types. Parking lots, both asphalt and concrete, are notorious for holding heat. Adding solar parking canopies keeps customers’ and employees’ vehicles cooler and more protected, but unlike traditional parking canopies, they generate valuable electricity at the same time. Using photovoltaic arrays on the top of carports can generate a significant level of power, especially in large lots. Many businesses have begun to incorporate electric vehicle charging stations as well. Companies that have installed solar parking structures report an unexpected bonus as well: Customers more frequently choose these businesses over their competitors because they appreciate the covered parking as well as the company’s commitment to renewable energy.
Intermountain Wind and Solar is committed to helping the residents and business owners of Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada save money and become energy independent. Contact them today to discuss your goals and explore the possibility of using a solar carport at your home or business.
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