First Smart Park Solar Carport Added in U.S.

How many different types of solar carports are on the market? Essentially, two types are available for towns and communities: One that supports photovoltaic panels and uses the energy to replace power in the electrical grid and other that does this and powers electric vehicles. Some solar carports are attached to a building, such as a school or government building, and the energy from the sun is used by the building. In recent news, another solar carport was added in Lancaster, California, by company Martifer Solar. This carport falls into the former category, as the energy absorbed by the carport will be used by the building behind for Lancaster, California’s transportation authority, Antelope Valley Transit Authority.

This particular solar carport is unique because of its size. Made by the company Smart Park, these solar carports are a 368kW system that covers 35,000 square feet. When this carport system is in use, it is capable of covering 110 vehicles under multiple long metal carports. The system consists of 300 kW modules and a smaller roof mounted system. The cars, meanwhile, are shaded by these large metal carports during the workday.

As with many carports we’ve seen previously, this particular system was funded by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Towns and cities across the country are looking for ways to incorporate environmentally-friendly sources of power into the electric grid, and a solar carport is considered to be one of the more logical options. The cars, shaded by the metal carports, receive protection during the day, while the format of these fixtures puts natural energy into the power grid. Although some systems can be costly to set up, the price becomes worth it within a few years, as the surrounding city or town saves on not having to generate power from a non-natural source.