If you want solar panels, but don’t want them on your roof, you may seek to install a solar carport. Now commonplace over many parking lots around the country, solar carports come in different designs and actually simplify the installation process. So how do you go about acquiring a solar carport? Here are some different solutions.
What You Need to Know
Before solar panels are placed on a roof, it has to be demonstrated that the roof can bear the load. Solaron normally handles this task. For solar carports, the homeowner needs to do their own determination that the structure can handle the weight demands and that it will survive a windstorm. This requires the clearance of an engineer, who approves your plans before they go to the responsible county or city building inspector.
Buying a Solar Carport
One way of dealing with the engineering aspect is using an already approved design. That means working with a recognized builder of solar carports. Many of the manufacturers of solar carports only deal with commercial accounts, so accessing their designs and expertise directly is difficult. There are other, smaller operations that are willing to design for residential customers, but you may have to manage the installation of the carport yourself or with the help of a licensed contractor. Other companies act as go-betweens, offering commercial carports to residential customers. The advantage of working through a carport manufacturer or wholesaler is that they will likely be able to provide you with a set of plans for submission to obtain your building permit
Building Your Own Solar Carport
As long as you meet the local regulations for solar structures, it is perfectly acceptable to plan and build your own solar carport. When you go to the planning commission, however, your plan will still need to be approved by an engineer. The advantage to hiring a contractor or doing your own carport is that it represents the ultimate in custom design, building specifically for your situation.
If you already use a carport, it may be that it would meet the demands of mounting solar panels. Acquire the certification for its use, and your existing carport is in business as a location for your photovoltaic array.
Whatever method you use, if you also have an electric car, you can join the many other people who shade their car with the very structure that also powers it! Solar carports — a structure that leads to a better future!