Clever Uses of Carports and Solar Energy Across the Country

Hockey Puck in FlightMany school parking lots in California have been transformed with carports that not only enable teachers, administrators, and students to park their cars out of the scorching glare of the sun but improve the environment as well. Several schools in multiple districts continue to install solar power generating systems atop carports to provide power for the schools to operate. Numerous advantages have resulted from these installations.

The shady shelter protects from the chance of rain and reliable California sunshine. Cars parked beneath the canopies stay cooler and out of reach of deteriorating ultra-violet rays. Not only will these cars be more comfortable at the end of the day, but they will retain a better value with less exposure to environmental damages.

The more significant purpose for the solar generating aspect of these carports is to provide a clean source of renewable energy for the school systems and a cost savings over time. The installations will take years to recoup the initial investment, but large percentages may be saved with the solar energy generation each year. Some residents have complained about the architectural aesthetic of the carports and the fact that a humming noise is generated, but proponents contend that the environmental factors and potential for financial savings outweigh such superficial concerns.

Across the country in Massachusetts, a solar powered ice rink has been created by a hockey league in the state. This energy generating ice rink has installed solar panels on the tops of carports and rooftops and was designed to use half the energy of similar facilities. In Massachusetts’ seasonal climate, metal carports are relied upon to provide shade and rain protection in warmer months as well as shelter from snow and ice in the wintertime. The Falmouth Youth Hockey League facility will be operating with the power generated by the solar energy system owned and operated by ConEdison Solutions.