Parking lots, garage rooftops, and outdoor areas can offer expansive, unshaded, and unobstructed square footage ideal for building commercial-scale solar energy systems. Solar carports or support structures (also known as solar shade structures) can be a great addition to these sites as they provide numerous benefits, including:
- Maximized use of the space by adding energy-producing value to a once-barren lot
- Reduced lighting costs by replacing low-efficiency light poles with energy-efficient LED lighting under the structures
- Shade and protection for outdoor areas where people gather
- Protection for cars, buses, and RVs from sun, snow, rain, and hail
- Locations for electric vehicle charging stations, which also provide supplementary power to the devices
“This solar project—the first at the airport—will be a noteworthy and visible highlight of our ongoing commitment to sustainability. By partnering with Borrego Solar, we will boost our sustainability efforts with clean energy generation, providing environmental benefits to the region and financial savings to the Airport Authority. And we’re happy to be working with a company that is a local San Diego success story, employing local workers in construction of this project.”Thella F. Bowens, President and CEO San Diego County Regional Airport Authority—owner and operator of SDIA
Financial Benefits of Solar Carports and Shade Structures
Parking facility owners have found they can collect “rent” and add a consistent revenue stream by leasing the seemingly unusable air 15 feet above their parking spaces to a third-party solar developer looking to build solar energy systems.
Expert Solar PV Parking Structure Design
Solar support structures present unique challenges for system design, permitting, project management, and construction. They usually require additional resources, such as a geotechnical engineer, a structural engineer, a drilling excavator, and a steel erector.
With solar support structures, permitting approval and safety plans can be more arduous than with a remote ground-mount or roof-mount installation, because these installations hover above both people and personal property. And when installing solar panels over parking lots, there are ADA compliance measures to consider. The good news is that once the ground work is done, constructing the parking lot solar canopy structure is well within the capabilities of an experienced solar design and construction firm.
Experienced Carport Solar Panel Systems
“Our vision is to conserve and protect our natural resources. Santee Lakes is part of that vision. By hosting a solar energy system in the Preserve, Padre Dam is taking another step to protect and improve the local environment. Working with Borrego Solar and their partners means that our visitors benefit from an innovative system design that provides shade and allows us to budget around our energy costs.”Allen Carlisle, Director of Parks and Recreation, Padre Dam Municipal Water District
Borrego Solar’s engineering and operations team has built more than 23 megawatts of solar shade structures. In assessing the feasibility of installing a solar shade structure on a site, our team takes into consideration a variety of factors, including:
- the geotechnical topographic attributes,
- necessary tilt of the arrays (and subsequent spacing needs),
- site size economics,
- electrical design,
- safety issues, and
- paving needs.
Borrego Solar specializes in bringing the full suite of services to utility-scale solar project throughout the U.S. We also offer our full range of services to commercial, industrial and institutional organizations in California, Massachusetts and New York. To find out more about the viability of using your site to house solar photovoltaics (PV) or to talk to one of our project developers specializing in solar support structures, contact us.
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