What’s Driving the Growing Popularity of Solar Carports?
- C&I,Business of Solar
Many businesses, schools and other organizations have been turning to multi-vehicle carports for common use purposes. The market potential of key applications and future opportunities for solar carports should only continue to grow for a couple of reasons.
For one, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which has been recently extended for a couple more years, will help incentivize greater adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar.
Additionally, companies and governments remain committed to implementing aggressive sustainability programs. Due to the large parking lots attached to many businesses and government agencies, solar carports have become the go-to option to help meet these objectives.
For example, Trina Solar recently supplied the PV modules for a 6.5MW solar project for seven Walmart stores in California. The project included a mixture of solar energy systems installed on rooftops and in parking lot carports. The fixed-axis solar arrays will power stores in Burbank, Calexico, North Highlands, Perris, Placerville, Sacramento and Wasco.
Walmart isn’t the only big company turning to solar carports. And for good reasons too. Check out these smart reasons why solar carports are gaining in popularity:
1. Project versatility
Solar carport designs are adaptable enough to make them a great option for any buildings that utilize a parking lot or garage, including:
- Government buildings
- K-12 schools
- Non-profit organizations
- Sporting stadiums
- Entertainment venues
- And more
These are great for urban and suburban areas with limited space, as the installations can extract value from what is otherwise a cost-sink parking lot or garage. The versatile designs of a carport can typically cover either a retrofit or a brand new structure.
In Fountain Inn, South Carolina, for example, AVX, a leading international manufacturer and supplier of advanced electronic components, opted for a solar carport. The carport uses Trina’s DUOMAX 72-cell clear EVA modules, with each of the 10 canopies producing around 90.7-kW of power. These stylish panels employ a heat-treated dual-glass design that captures sunlight, while also retaining a sleek, aesthetically pleasing design.
2. Design flexibility
Carport designs have come a long way in the past few years. Early models for carports were limited, and made some customers wary about the lack of available options.
Now though, solar engineers have come up with many new innovative ways to design carports to achieve maximum value for the project. This includes formats for one-row vehicle arrangement, two-row single slope vehicle arrangement or two-row dual slope vehicle arrangement, as a few examples.
Other new design features have made carports more aesthetically pleasing too. For instance, decking on the underside of the array can now cover up cables and electrical components to give the carport a sleeker looking design.
3. Additional Perks
In addition to saving money on electricity bills and reducing the carbon footprint of a business or government, a solar carport offers a great perk for customers and/or employees: a large, shaded parking lot. Leaving the job to come out to a shaded vehicle is something workers can really appreciate after a long sunny day. Similarly, carports can also keep snow off of cars’ roofs in the winter.
Another somewhat intangible perk of a carport is that it represents a visually striking image to highlight the company’s or organization’s commitment to sustainability. Rooftop solar installations are typically out of sight where most people are unable to view them. But solar carports are ground-level installations.
4. Increased project value
In the past, one of the main obstacles for installing carports was their perceived overall project value. However, new smart C&I Solutions can help lower the project’s levelized cost of energy and potentially increase project value.
Plus, bifacial modules have made a big difference in boosting project value. Not only do these modules look more aesthetically pleasing, their dual-sided design enables them to capture more sunlight that reflects from underneath it. Using smart C&I Solutions and/or bifacial modules can greatly increase project value while helping to speed up ROI.
Trina Solar can help
Want to learn how Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions and our bifacial modules can help maximize value for solar carport projects? Reach out to us today to learn more.
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