Renewable energy is becoming more and more mainstream as an increasing number of people realize the benefits of sourcing power from natural and renewable sources. While fossil fuels are obtained from the ground, they are slowly being used up as the world’s demand for and dependence on power increases. As a result, fossil-fuel-based energy is becoming more expensive, making utility costs for homes and businesses skyrocket year by year.
This is why environmentalists are pushing for cleaner energy sources, such as solar power, to overcome this crisis. The sun’s power, as used in solar canopies, can transform a simple garage into a space-efficient and energy-producing structure, while keeping cars and other vehicles well-protected and lowering utility costs for the entire household.
This structure, if adopted by the majority of homes, will reduce the planet’s overall carbon footprint and non-renewable energy consumption. As it is an important invention, this article will discuss it at length, list its benefits, and provide an overall recommendation to those who are interested in transforming their garage into a sun-supported structure.
What Is a Solar Canopy?
What exactly is a solar canopy? A canopy is a structure used as a cover to provide shelter or shade. Carports will usually have a canopy to protect cars and other vehicles from extreme heat or water damage due to rain. This structure also protects the vehicles from debris, especially if the carport is near trees or other structures.
These structures are ground or roof-mounted, with metal railings often supporting the overhead cover which can be cloth or plastic-based materials that are usually water-proof. With this, canopies are often used in residential garages or business facilities such as schools, shopping centers, and office grounds.
Because of their regular exposure to sunlight, this makes canopies the perfect spot for the installation of solar panels. This way, they not only protect the structure underneath but also function as an energy-production system that can supply the building or the residential space the needed power for years.
Since there are various types of solar panels now, the weight of the panels won’t be an issue even if the canopy is not made of strong and stable metal or wood. Solar canopies can make use of thin-film solar panels that are relatively flexible that and mono or polycrystalline photovoltaic cells.
The way that the mechanism works is that the solar panels function as an absorber of photons or light particles from the cell through silicon-based cells. Once absorbed, the electrons move freely within the structure, allowing them to generate current, which can be used as a direct current electrical source, or transformed through an inverter to power AC appliances.
The energy can be stored in a battery for future use, or the solar system can be connected to the device to charge it directly. This means that an electric car can be protected from the heat and the damp and at the same time be charged while parked. This is a great way to check 3 different boxes at once.
Aside from generating energy or protecting vehicles from unwanted damage, these sun-powered structures also provide aesthetic value to the allotted space. If used for commercial purposes, they can provide good branding as their use implies environmental responsibility on the part of the owner or manager of the structure. This makes a solar parking lot investment provide various return methods.
Benefits of Using Solar Canopies
What are the upsides to making your canopy solar powered? Well, there are a lot of benefits to making the switch. Here’s an entire list for your reference.
- They provide shade and protection
Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can damage a car’s paint and finish. If you turn on your vehicle’s air-conditioning after it has been exposed to the sun for too long, you will find your car has reduced fuel economy. This reduction, according to studies, can be up to 25% perfect. Canopies, therefore, are a great way to keep your vehicle protected from all sorts of damage and keep it all cooled despite the summer heat.
- They are an efficient way to make use of allotted space
You can have a canopy to protect your vehicle (or yourself) from sun exposure, but if you can have that protection plus an added energy source, you are making use of the space more wisely. This is also a good alternative if your home’s roof is not suitable for solar panel installation. This means you’ll have an alternative structure to fix the solar system onto.
- They are a great source of free electricity
Solar panels aren’t free, but if you choose to invest in them, you can have free electricity for 2-3 decades. It may not be able to supply enough energy for your entire household’s consumption, but it can reduce your electricity bill significantly. It can also be used to charge your electric car, which means you can leave your car overnight and have it ready to drive, all-charged up by the next morning.
If you own a building with parking lots, then sun-powered carports can be an additional source of income for you as it serves as an instant charging station for electric cars and a supplementary electricity source for your building.
- They are environmentally friendly
Consumption of fossil fuel-based electricity adds to our carbon footprint, which means we are contributing to the planet’s degradation of resources. However, with these eco-friendly canopies, we can reduce our contribution to the degradation and aid the conservation of the planet’s assets.
- They can provide tax incentives
Since governments appreciate people’s efforts toward environmental preservation, they provide tax incentives for those who support the cause. The use of solar panels in structures is one way to take advantage of these incentives.
- They increase your property’s value and attractiveness
If you’re planning to sell your home and it has a solar carport already installed, it can increase the selling price of the property and increase its attractiveness to buyers who are eco-lovers.
- There’s more angular flexibility
The efficiency of a solar system is dependent on various factors, including the angle by which it faces the sun. Of course, the better the angle, the more photons it gets, and the higher the electricity yield. Since the solar canopy is independent of your home’s structure, you can have more flexibility as to where it would benefit from the sun.
Indeed, there are numerous upsides to going solar. There are also various ways that you can make use of solar panels to save on costs. Should you decide to build your own solar canopy for your building, you can choose between two designs. You can have an architectural one, where the angle is customizable and adjustable depending on the current weather condition.
Or, you can have a fixed-tilt one where the structure is set to a fixed angle based on anticipated and calculated solar direction. If the canopy is for your home, you can have a wall-mounted or ground-mounted type, depending on the space you have. Whichever you choose, know that you are investing in something worthy, knowing that you not only get protection for your prized vehicle, you are also able to cut down on electricity costs, carbon footprint, and space.
More importantly, you will be able to gain access to a free energy source for 20-30 years, a choice that more and more people are leaning toward. So, make a wise choice, and convert your plain canopy to a solar canopy now.