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Everything You Need to Know About Solar Carport Structures

Solar Carport Structures

Learn everything you need to know about solar carport structures for commercial properties in Florida

Established in 2007, Advanced Green Technologies (AGT) is the top-ranked commercial solar contractor in Florida and specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of solar energy systems for commercial and industrial customers in Florida. Below find answers to frequently asked questions about solar carport installations.

How long have solar carport solutions been around or are they a new invention?

Solar carports have been in the U.S. market for about 10 years, and we’ve been installing them in Florida for 7 years. We use traditional steel and concrete construction techniques, integrated with our solar design knowledge.

The solar carport market is growing fast in Florida because there’s a convergence of factors that make for solid ROI. It’s a timing issue – as the cost of utility power continues rising, the cost of solar installations continues coming down, solar installation costs continue to drop, and a federal tax credit of 26%. Solar carports also bring good visibility for companies that have a brand committed to being environmentally responsible

Would a typical solar carport use multiple types of solar panels, or just one?

Our carport is designed to showcase to our potential customers what can be done, so we have both an open deck solution and a full water management system designed on two halves of the carport.  Typically, the property owner chooses one type of design. The first option is open to sun and rain from above and rain simply drains thru the canopy while sunlight is captured as energy. The other type receives sunlight from above the panel but has a water management system consisting of a decking or gasket system creating a water management system below the panel. That keeps the carport dry, for more complete weather protection. We show both setups to give a sense of the esthetics of each.

Other options for carports include lighting systems, monitoring systems, linkage with a property owner’s security system, and car charging stations.

How much does a solar carport cost?

Every parking lot is different in scale and conditions, and every carport is completely customized, so it’s not really possible to generalize pricing.

Owners generally want to know about return on investment, and our carports have 5 to 10-year ROI. With energy costs and all factors considered, break-even will be between 7 and 10 years, and panels are warrantied to 25 years at 80 percent of original capacity. So that provides 15 to 18 years of energy benefits after break-even.

What maintenance do solar carports require?

Maintenance is minimal. Our carports provide owners with 24/7 online monitoring access to diagnostics of how the system is performing if it’s meeting energy metrics and any fault notices. Owners choose whether to monitor the system themselves or to have us do so. For preventive maintenance, we recommend they have an annual inspection, during which we check all mechanical settings and check thermal images of electrical connections.

Can a solar carport generate enough power for an office building in Florida?

It’s all about scale, and you can’t really generalize. In Advanced Roofing’s circumstance, our 84-kilowatt solar carport provides shelter from sun and rain for 16 cars, fully powers an office where 30-40 people work, and powers the carport’s 2 electric car chargers. (To clarify — the carport doesn’t charge all 16 cars.)

We were net exporters to the grid last month. In addition to the solar carport, we’ve moved toward energy efficiency in other ways too, including high-efficiency HVAC, LED lights.

Do solar carport’s produce energy on cloudy days?

In Florida, the way net metering works is to look at how much energy is produced and how much is consumed daily, during a month or year. On cloudy days we still produce some energy, and the daily variation is built into our energy modeling. Electric bills provide a net overproduction or underproduction total at the end of a month

Can you sell excess electricity back to the grid?

Yes, FPL has a net metering product. We’re interconnected to the grid and get credit on our bill from FPL when we send excess energy to the grid. For our carport customers, and ourselves we look to produce 80 to 90% of monthly needs since when you sell back to the grid, you only get 30 cents on the dollar.

Get Your Free Solar Carport Estimate Today

To receive a complimentary energy audit and site evaluation, contact us at 888-735-2641 or click here. 

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