Tax Dollars at Work: More Solar Carports in Federal Projects

So far, we’ve seen a few projects, on the state level, that involve federal stimulus dollars being used for alternative energy projects. These, from what we’ve seen, have been in the form of carports with photovoltaic panels attached to the roofs. While the carport makes a versatile structure in these cases, the energy from the photovoltaic panels powers the adjacent buildings and, in some cases, electric cars below. In recent news, more developments have been made for this type of alternative energy use with carports. This time, SunWize Commercial Power Systems will be working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to install photovoltaic panels on carports and on roofs of hospitals.

The full plan, as outlined in more detail in the link above, involves 1.1 megawatt systems in ten hospitals, with the photovoltaic panels divided between roofs and carports. This will be done with a $7.8 million federal contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs for hospitals ranging from East Coast locations all the way to Pago Pago in American Samoa. The photovoltaic systems in these cases will range from 50 kilowatts, presumably on a carport, to 400 kilowatt systems on top of hospitals. The project, while similar to those we’ve seen with money from the federal stimulus, is part of a government effort to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions three percent each year up to 2015.

Previously, we saw similar projects involving solar carports that, financially, didn’t make sense. In the case of the last post, about the solar carport for a police station near Columbus, OH, the total project cost $300,000 for one building and would only power about 15 to 20 percent of the building. While the cost of each project in this case is about $780,000 is you divide the amount evenly between hospitals, the solar panel systems will be far more extensive and, presumably, will be a larger part of each hospital’s energy.

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