What Can Portable Solar Carports Do?

So far, we’ve seen several instances of solar carports being created and used over a large area. They may supply power for a nearby building, thus reducing the building’s dependence on the electric grid, and they may also have the capability to power an electric or hybrid vehicle. Being attached to the ground, however, is one feature that all of these carports share. Since solar carports began to be installed nearly a year ago, is creating a portable model at this point practical?

Practical or not, it has already happened. One such design by Phat Energy debuted recently at Dwell on Design 2010. This device is essentially a metal carport with a photovoltaic panel on top. It’s versatility allows it to be used as a carport to cover one vehicle or to be used as a patio cover. Generating 2.5kW of solar energy would help you replace part of your traditional energy over time.

According to this article, requests for these carports has already started, but production won’t begin until late summer. One will run at about $37,000 a piece and can be customized through lights, outlets, EV chargers, and a column design. If you’re concerned about assembling it, the carport arrives in one piece.

Although the Phatport looks good on the surface, the carport has two glaring issues. First, $37,000 for a carport, and what would it exactly do? Would this be a carport that displaces your reliance on the electric grid, charges your vehicle (remember, EV outlets are an add-on), or does both? How would you set it up to do either one? Additionally, at a price of $37,000, the carport better be extremely strong, but it doesn’t appear to have that strength. Although not specified, the frame might end up being powder-coated steel, which means it won’t last long outdoors.