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Solar Carport

By James Kennedy, Founder and President Beach Cities Solar Consulting LLC

A solar carport is a canopy that captures solar energy placed over a parking area. They provide a huge opportunity for businesses to use otherwise wasted parking lot space to generate solar energy.  If you’re a PV fanatic following emerging technologies in the solar industry, you may have already spotted the solar industry’s solution: solar canopies, also known as solar carports.

What is a solar carport? 

Solar carports are overhead canopies built to cover parking areas and are distinct from panels installed onto a preexisting carport structure. Solar carports have many things in common with ground mount solar panels, which are angled panel modules installed on the ground rather than on a rooftop. Both ground mounts solar and solar carports eliminate the need for a surface on which the panels could be mounted. The primary difference between a solar carport and a typical ground mount installation is that carports are taller in order to make space for a car to park. Otherwise, the two are quite similar and each offer the benefit of allowing installers to orient the panels at the most optimal angle for sunlight exposure.


Solar Carport
Commercial businesses can install solar carports above their parking lots, providing solar energy for the business and shade for their employee’s cars!


The great advantage of solar carports is that they don’t require additional land the way a ground mount does. As a result, solar panel carports offer a more efficient use of space than ground-mounted panels. Certain states, like Massachusetts, even have incentives for solar canopy structures. If you are concerned about efficient use of space, you should consider a solar carport over a ground-mounted system. Overall, solar panel carports have less restraints or conflicts than ground-mounted solar and can be considered preferable under many circumstances.   Many businesses have embraced the idea of installing massive solar canopies for parking lots.

When it comes to commercial solar canopies, there are a number of different layouts and sizes available.  Solar parking lots can be large enough to span dozens of rows of parking.

Other than a solar carport’s size, the main way that solar carport construction varies is in the angle of the panels. The panels will either be angled upwards in one direction angled and curved in one direction leading to a flat surface or very slightly angled to the point of appearing flat typically in order to provide shading and coverage for a larger number of cars.

Commercial solar carports will always need a steel metal foundation, which adds a significant expense to total installation compared to a standard rooftop-mounted solar system.

How does a solar carport compare to a rooftop solar panel installation?

Issues with roof angle, orientation and size are eliminated with a solar carport because the panels will serve as the “roof” of the structure, and the supporting metal poles can be situated as necessary once the optimal array size and angle is determined.


Contact Us!

Get your turnkey solar carport and battery proposal with financing options by e-mailing us your last 12-month electric bills, a picture of the facilities’ switchgear, and a picture of your parking lot today: info@beachcitiessolarconsulting.com