The carport is an incredibly useful portable item to have at your home or your business place. It is adaptable and can be used in a number of ways. For one, you can obviously use your portable carport as a place to store your various vehicles in times of bad weather. Another way to utilize your carport is to use it as storage for anything you can’t fit in your home. On a much bigger level, businesses are beginning to build carports over parking lots for two reasons: to keep employee and customer cars protected and to generate solar energy.
As you know, solar photovoltaic panels can absorb the rays of the sun and convert them into energy for use anywhere. By affixing these panels to rooftops, they are able to collect as much sunlight as possible. For instance, carports have become an incredibly popular place for solar panels, especially with the growth of the electric car industry. This type of installation is occurring in Branchburg, N.J., where the township is working on such a project. According to NJ.com:
“The Township Committee agreed on Dec. 12 to install carports topped with a 50 kw solar array in the north parking lot of the municipal building rather than retrofit the roof of the Department of Public Works garage with a 22 kw system. According to Township Administrator Gregory Bonin, both projects had approximately the same price tag, about $400,000,…”
Initially, the panels would have been affixed to the roof of the garage, but extra support would have been needed, making that option less profitable. The article says that a major part of this decision was also the number of years it would have taken to generate money from the project. By installing the panels on carports, the amount of time has been lessened:
“… the time it would take for the township to recoup its investment would have been 17 years — compared with a six-year span for the carport project…”
I would expect that more of these solar carport projects will be springing up over the next few years, especially with the rising cost of gasoline and prominence of electric vehicles.