Solar Panel Carport (Costs + Installation)

A common way of mounting solar panels is on your home’s roof, but a solar panel carport is also a popular option.

A solar panel carport provides several advantages, including giving you additional surface area to meet your energy needs to get more southern exposure for your solar panels. 

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about owning a solar panel carport, including: 

  • What is a Solar Carport?
  • The value of a solar carport?
  • The cost of solar carports 
  • The different types of solar carport kits
  • The benefits of solar-powered carports

No matter the size of your home or business, you can get into the solar power game with solar panel carports. You can cash on clean energy by getting one of them.

Carport with solar panels

What is a Solar Carport?

Solar carports are a great way of providing renewable energy to your home. A solar carport is a canopy or awning with solar panels installed on the roof. The awning is large enough to park a car under. 

Solar carports are a great way to utilize space that might otherwise be wasted. Carports are a great addition to homes without a garage. They protect cars and can also provide additional storage. The addition of solar panels to the roof of a carport further increases its value. 

Solar carports are becoming more popular in large commercial settings. Many schools and airports are beginning to turn large packing lots into covered solar carports. 

The use of this otherwise wasted space makes them tremendously valuable and one of the fastest-growing trends in renewable energy. 

One of the benefits of solar carports is that the solar panels can be installed at the optimal angle for solar collection, rather than being constrained by the angle of the roof.

Overall, the efficient use of space and the collection of green energy give solar carports tremendous monetary and environmental value. 

What are the Benefits of a Solar Carport?

Solar carports are an efficient use of otherwise unused space and can help you minimize your energy costs. 

Utility bills can be unpredictable and will increase over time; solar carports allow the owner to protect themselves against rising energy prices and even earn money depending on their electricity usage. 

Solar panel carports also reduce the cost of maintaining a parking area. The solar panels will direct rain, snow, and other environmental factors of specific regions. This can make maintaining and cleaning the parking space much easier and safer. 

A solar carport is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It also sets an example for others that want to pursue renewable energy. You are increasing the value of your home, but you are also protecting the environment. 

Solar panel carports take advantage of otherwise unused space to generate electricity. They also protect the vehicles under them. The sun can wreak havoc on a car’s paint.

Instead of worrying about your car, a solar panel carport generates electricity while protecting your vehicle at the same time. 

See also: Mounting Solar Panels: A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Installation

Can Solar Panels be Used as a Carport? 

Yes, solar panels can be used as a carport. However, there are some factors that you must consider. Solar panels are installed at specific angles to maximize the amount of electricity they generate.

Depending on your location, this may result in an angle that does not provide adequate shade for your vehicle. 

Depending on the angle of the solar panels, you may have to install a roof to protect your car from overhead sun, rain, and other elements. Furthermore, solar panels can generate a lot of heat. 

This can be problematic for some vehicles. It is recommended that there be sufficient space between the solar panels and the car or that a buffer is installed to protect the vehicle. 

Finally, using solar panels as a carport does not provide you with additional space for storage that a regular carport would provide. It would be best to weigh all of these factors before deciding to use solar panels as a carport.    

What is a Photovoltaic Carport?

A photovoltaic carport or PV carport is a carport that has solar panels instead of a traditional roof. A photovoltaic carport is another term for a solar panel carport.

This type of carport can be built almost anywhere. You can have one at your home or in a large parking lot. 

It can transform any parking space into a renewable energy-generating tool. The world photovoltaic refers to the photovoltaic cells that generate energy from the sun. Photovoltaic cells are the most essential part of any solar panel. 

How Tall are Solar Carports?

Traditional solar panels are usually mounted within several feet of the ground. On the other hand, solar carports are at least ten feet off the ground and maybe even higher. 

Additionally, solar carports usually include a large metal rack for additional support and protection. This solar carport can be adjusted to give clearance between 8 to 15 feet. 

Solar carports have to be high enough off the ground that cars and other vehicles can still park under them. This allows the parking space to serve multiple purposes and be a more efficient use of space. 

In addition to generating electricity, a solar carport provides shade for the car parked underneath it. 

What is the Cost of a Solar Panel Carport? 

An average solar panel carport costs around $3.45 per watt in the US. The majority of this cost is from the solar panels, structure, labor, and installation.

However, this is a rough average, and the final price is dependent on the location and any local tax breaks that may be available. 

Another factor is the scale of the solar carport. Large-scale or commercial solar carports are cheaper per watt due to their size. Commercial solar carports tend to come in below $3.45 per watt, while smaller residential solar carports usually cost more than $4 per watt. 

The cost of a solar carport is also dependent on factors such as shading, existing structures, orientation, and the amount of space available.

For a 5kW solar carport, an individual should expect to pay around $20,000 before any tax rebates. This can come to approximately $14,000 after rebates.  

Despite their high cost, solar panel carports tend to be cheaper than roof mounter solar panels. They are easier to install and less complicated. Some people have even made DIY solar panel carports for as little as $5,000.

  • Smaller solar carports will not meet the energy needs of most houses. 

They also provide some additional advantages over roof-mounted solar panels. Solar panel carports can be customized based on the best sun exposure. This makes the solar panels more efficient. 

This is not an option when installing solar panels on an existing roof. Furthermore, it is easier to repair and maintain solar panels mounted on a carport than ones mounted on your roof. 

Are Solar Carports Worth It?

Solar carports are worth the investment. The cost of a residential solar panel carport is somewhere between $5,000 and-20,000 depending on the size of the structure. Depending on your location and the cost of energy, the breakeven point can be as short as five years. 

The average payback interval is seven to twelve years. Instead of looking at the cost of a solar carport as an additional cost, you can consider it an upfront payment for utilities.

After the necessary time, all your electricity will be free. This is especially appealing if you have an electric vehicle like a Tesla. 

They provide several benefits beyond the monetary ones. Solar carports offer extra power from otherwise unused space. They can reduce your carbon footprint. They can also cool areas. 

Traditional parking spaces can increase the temperature by up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. Solar carports alleviate this problem. 

Can you Put Solar Panels on a Metal Carport?

Yes, you can mount solar panels on an existing metal carport. If you already have a carport, you can make it a solar one by installing solar panels on the roof. 

This is true of all-metal structures, including sheds, barns, and storage units. The only consideration is that the metal structure must be strong enough to handle the additional weight of the solar panels. 

This can be done as a DIY project. It would be best to have solar panels, writing, tools, and metal mounts. If doing this as a DIY project, you should consider trees and buildings that might shade your roof. 

Additionally, the average solar panel takes up 15 square feet, so the roof of your metal carport or building has to be big enough to accommodate the solar panel.  

Alternatively, you can hire contractors to install the solar panels on the roof of your metal carport. Installing solar panels on the roof of an existing metal carport is an excellent way of reducing the cost of installing a solar panel carport. 

This can make green energy more affordable for you. 

What are the Different Solar Panel Carport Kits? 

Solar panel carport kits are prefabricated kits that you can assemble. You can also have them assembled by a contractor. Solar panel carport kits have all the parts you associate with a traditional solar carport. 

You can use a solar panel carport kit to turn an existing or new parking space into a solar-producing tool. Some solar panel carport kits include just the solar panels and the brackets needed to mount them to the roof of an existing carport or metal structure. 

Other solar panel carport kits also include the frame and materials required to build the carport. 

Does Tesla have a Solar Carport?  

Unfortunately, Tesla does not have a solar carport. However, Tesla does have a solar roof that can be used to replace the roof of your home. A Tesla solar roof is an excellent alternative to traditional solar carports. 

Unlike other solar options that mount solar panels on the roof of your home, Tesla solar roofs replace the roof of your home.

A Tesla solar roof replaces your home’s roof with solar shingles that generate electricity from the sun. The Tesla SR72T1 roof shingle has 14 photovoltaic cells. Its specifications are as follows:

  • Rated Power: 71.67 watts
  • Dimensions: 430mm x 1140mm x 5mm (16.93in x 44.88in x 0.2in)
  • Weight: 15kg per m2 (3.1 lbs per ft2)
  • Certification: UL and ETL 

Based on these specifications, a Tesla solar roof needs 140 solar shingles to reach 10kW capacity. This is the equivalent of 28 traditional 360 W solar panels.

The Tesla solar roof can be used to charge a Tesla Powerwall that stores additional electricity for completely off-grid living. 

Tesla solar roofs come with a 25-year warranty on photovoltaic components. The photovoltaic components are the part of the roof that turns sunlight into electricity. 

In fact, Tesla guarantees that their solar roofs will still be operating at least 80% efficiently after 25 years, or they will replace the roof.

Unfortunately, there is a long wait for Tesla solar roofs. The current waiting list is at least six months long. 

The Tesla solar roof is an excellent alternative for individuals who are looking for a complete solar package that all works in unison rather than a system of individual pieces.

Many people are calling for Tesla to produce a solar carport so that you may see a Tesla solar carport in the near future. 

Even though Tesla does not offer a solar panel carport, you can still charge your Tesla using the electricity from a traditional solar-powered carport.

The electricity generated is the same, and a Tesla car doesn’t care about the source of the electricity charging it. 

Photo of author
Elliot has 20+ years of experience in renewable technology, from conservation to efficient living. His passion is to help others achieve independent off-grid living.

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