Solar photovoltaic carports have certainly taken off in the U.S., mostly in commercial applications like parking lots. But it looks like its an international phenomenon. Most recently, SunPower has partnered with Giulio Barbieri an Italian manufacturer of aluminum modular coverings to bring carports to homeowners there. After all you’ve got to have something to protect your Ferrari from the sun.
The carports will give Italians more options when it comes to installing solar at their homes. Particularly for those who want to install solar but have limited roof space or a roof that’s not suitable for PV because of shading or other issues. While the aluminum structures normally come in silvery anodized aluminum, the company can also deliver them in a number of colors specified by the customer. The systems are oriented to get the maximum benefit of Italy’s sun, according to SunPower.
Under the agreement, Giulio Barbieri will design and deliver carports based on the customer’s specifications. Then SunPower's local installing partners will assemble the structure and the PV array, which includes an inverter. The carports are available in four versions and are configurable in multiple ways. Depending on the customer’s needs the carport can cover two or three cars and host 18, 24 or 32 SunPower modules.
“This is the first solar carport officially mounting SunPower modules. The standard two-automobile carport in Italy is around 3 to 3.5kW and the SunPower range is significantly higher,” said SunPower spokesperson Natalie Wymer. The arrays are between 5.9 kilowatts and 10.5 kilowatts in size.”
An increasingly popular option in the U.S. is to incorporate an electric vehicle (EV) charger with a solar carport, particularly in commercial or municipal settings. Initially at least, the systems aren’t designed to incorporate such a charger at time of purchase, one can be added later, according to Wymer. “It will be possible to expand the offering with an EV charger option that can easily be integrated if there is demand,” she said.
However, Giulio Barbieri has other PV carports with EV chargers incorporated, according to its website. And it’s also made larger carports for parking lots and other purposes.