Solar carports are coming to America

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 We’ve all slogged across a parking lot in August, feet burning while melting into the hot tar of the asphalt surface. But some companies, like EEPro, are introducing PV carport structures. In addition to providing shade for you and your vehicle from the sweltering summer heat, these space-age carports, provide power for onsite use. And since they’re PV cells, they generate power when it’s needed most, in the middle of the day.

EEPro is the United States-based subsidiary of German company, Erneuerbare Energie Projektentwicklung. Its solar carports previously were introduced in Germany, but the company also sees applications for them in the United States. They could cover shopping center parking lots, as well as industrial complex, office or apartment and condominium parking lots with PV panels. And in the near future, they could be used as charging stations for electric vehicles.

"Our solar PV carports tap the sun's energy and works the same way as photovoltaic rooftops on houses or buildings. The electricity produced from the carport's solar roof powers buildings or homes, and it's a technique that's being used in Germany, as well as with some American businesses and even an airport in Texas," Martin Koebler, CEO of EEPro explained.

The company said that solar carports may be ideal for some structures because existing designs make it difficult to install solar power on their roofs. However, a parking lot is a long, open stretch of pavement, usually with little shade. This makes it an ideal location for a PV installation.

However, EEPro is not the first company to develop PV-powered carports. In fact, the United States Air Force recently completed construction on a solar carport over its Los Angeles Air Force base. The Air Force said it chose to install the PV carport because it will save money on the panels over time versus buying the power off the grid.

So just imagine, the next time you get out of your car to go to work, or to the grocery store on that day when the mercury’s bouncing at the top of the thermometer, that you could step out into the cool shade provided by a new solar carport.