Parking Industry · October 20, 2022

Solar Parking Lot: Benefits, Applications, And More

The last ten years have seen a rise in the use of solar power, making it a desirable option for many companies looking to reduce costs and operate more sustainably.

Increased attention paid to solar power is partly due to this renewable energy solution becoming more accessible than ever. In fact, over the past ten years, the cost to install solar electricity solutions has decreased by 70%. The solar parking lot is also becoming more and more popular nowadays.

Discover more about rooftop solar parking lots and the advantages solar energy can bring to commercial operations.

Considerations Of Solar Parking Installation

A carport’s size and the number of solar panels it can accommodate can affect how much energy and money a business owner saves. When installing multiple parking structures, those savings also hold true. To get the best return on investment from the project, it’s crucial to think about how many carports to incorporate into a facility.

The type of vehicles that will be using the parking structures must also be considered by the architect or facility owner; will it be small cars, small trucks, or big delivery trucks? The size of the carports will depend on your response. Additionally, it might be necessary to allow extra space around parking structures for large vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks that require better access.

In some circumstances, it may be possible to avoid building a brand-new parking structure if cutting costs is the top priority. If the building’s owner decides to keep any existing carports, they can be outfitted with solar panels to further reduce costs compared to developing a new solution.

Benefits Of Solar Canopy Installations

Your company can offer all visitors who park on your property a number of advantages with solar parking structures. A solar canopy offers shade and cooling for customers’ and employees’ parked cars, which can result in less need for air conditioning and fuel. Businesses frequently experience significantly lower energy costs as a result of solar canopies’ energy production.

1. Better Usage Of Current Space

Making better use of your commercial space is possible with a solar canopy. Contrary to popular belief, a solar canopy can be built over your current parking space rather than a brand-new structure.

2. Reduced Energy Consumption And Electrical Costs

The amount of energy required to run your building can be decreased with a solar canopy. Your building can be powered by the solar canopy during midday when there is the most direct sunlight. When the amount of green energy produced is greater than what is required at the time, the excess energy is stored by your system for future use.

The energy that the sun provides can be used to power your building’s lights, air conditioning, machines, and electrical appliances with solar canopy parking. Your electrical provider will credit the energy obtained from solar rays to your building, and the decreased monthly electrical consumption can result in significant annual savings.

On the grounds of FedEx Field football stadium in Hyattsville, Maryland, one of the most well-known solar canopies can be found. The power generated by the solar canopy, which covers 841 parked cars, allowed the stadium, which serves as the official stadium for the Washington Redskins, to reduce its power consumption by 20% on game days. The stadium can get all of the power it needs from the carport on days when there are no games.

Consider what a solar parking lot cover could do for a mall, a grocery store, or your company when you consider that solar canopies have the capacity to produce enough energy to illuminate entire stadiums.

3. Shaded, Cooler, And More Comfortable Cars

Solar-powered parking garages have two cooling effects. First, when parked under a solar canopy, vehicles are shielded from the sun’s rays. This shields vehicle from the sun’s rays on hot, sunny days.

Drivers find the benefits of this shielding to be very reassuring because it keeps cars cooler for the duration that clients and staff leave their cars parked under the cover. The cost savings that can be achieved through natural cooling are enormous. According to a study, using the air conditioner can reduce a car’s fuel efficiency by 25%, and a lot of this consumption happens right away after a driver gets back into a hot, parked car.

Second, the presence of a solar canopy also helps to keep the ground beneath the pavement cooler, which can help to cool the area around a business. In most cities, between 35 and 50 percent of the ground is made of pavement, with about 40 percent of that area being used for parking, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This contributes to a hot city environment because hot, sunny days cause the sun’s heat to be absorbed by the pavement.

Urban pavements will become more sun-shielded as more businesses construct solar canopies, cooling the area around them.

4. Usage Of Green Energy To Reduce Environmental Impact

You can contribute to a decrease in the number of greenhouse gases emitted by your commercial property by installing a solar canopy. By doing this, your company will lead the green revolution. A solar canopy can assist you in improving your standing with the general public as more people switch to green energy.

Alternative energy has long been a priority for Empire. In fact, a large portion of nearly 30 of our locations is run on renewable energy. The engineers at Empire have assisted clients in harnessing the power of numerous clean, renewable energy sources by utilizing cutting-edge technology.

To perform a solar energy conversion that will meet your needs, no matter how big or small, contact Empire today for a cost analysis.

Solar Parking Lot

Installation Options

When it comes to solar parking canopy design, there are basically two options. You might favor an architectural solar canopy or a fixed-tilt solar canopy, depending on the design of your property and the location of your business. The two options are best described as follows:

  • Solar canopies for buildings: In this concept, cars are protected from the sun by canopies that are tilted at specific angles. The parking lot’s position in relation to the sun’s direction can be taken into account when adjusting the canopy’s tilt. An architectural solar canopy’s tilt on wet days can also help keep water from getting on the cars below.
  • The fixed-tilt solar canopy, which is made up of stationary components that can be tilted or laid flat, is the more cost-effective choice for some businesses. The choice is yours as to whether you would benefit more from a flat canopy or from having the canopy at a slight angle to best absorb the sun’s rays. When it comes to large-scale solar panel installation projects, fixed-tilt solar canopies are frequently the preferred option because they require very little maintenance.

Solar-Covered Parking Applications

Due to their adaptability, functionality, and array of advantages, solar panel parking structures can fit a variety of applications. Any commercial building project an architect is working on or any facility a person owns may be a perfect fit for a group of covered parking structures.

Here are a few examples of building types and industries that could use solar panel parking lots and gain a lot from them.

1. Retail

Every day, hundreds of people visit retail structures like supermarkets and shopping centers, so facility owners can benefit more by installing numerous solar parking canopies to accommodate these patrons. Not everyone enjoys standing in the hot sun or in the rain to load their purchases into their vehicle after a long shopping trip, but covered parking structures can make the experience more pleasant.

When shoppers aren’t worried about escaping the rain or the hottest part of the day, they may linger longer in a store, which may lead to more purchases.

2. Auto Dealerships

Solar canopies can be used to shelter fleets during bad weather. Any dealership owner hates to think about their cars getting hailed on or getting hit by flying debris because it means expensive repairs. On-site vehicles can help lower the risk of damage by being covered.

Solar-powered parking can help dealerships that specialize in EVs and hybrids project a consistent brand message of sustainability and energy efficiency.

3. Warehouses

Many different products are kept and moved in warehouses, some of which may need specialized material handling equipment or specific storage temperatures. Energy-intensive automation systems like temperature control and storage and retrieval systems are frequently required for both of these warehousing functions.

In the United States, warehouses use 6.1 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per square foot each year, with heating and lighting making up 76% of the total energy use. At the same rate, chilled warehouses consume 24.9 kWh of electricity.

Warehouse managers can use less on-grid electricity by installing greener energy options, such as solar carports, and finishing these energy-intensive tasks. Reducing power usage can result in significant financial savings for operations because it frequently consumes 15% of a warehouse’s budget.

4. Transportation

For locations that serve as transportation hubs, such as airports, car rental lots, train stations, and other appropriate buildings, solar parking structures can be of significant value. Travelers who may need to leave their cars behind for an extended period of time, particularly at locations like airports, want to feel secure in the knowledge that their cars will be safeguarded. In addition to protecting against inclement weather, this aspect of vehicle security is important.

Solar canopies protect automobiles from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by absorbing sunlight. UV rays are absorbed when a vehicle is exposed to the sun. The fading and other effects of UV exposure are more likely to affect cars without UV stabilizers. Similar to this, having many options for shade reduces the risk of skin cancer among passengers waiting at train stations. Owners of facilities can aid in safeguarding both the investments made by visitors and the visitors themselves in this way.

5. Manufacturing

Use parking canopy solutions to prevent delivery trucks and essential equipment from overheating in manufacturing facilities. For workers who spend a lot of time loading delivery trucks in inclement weather, canopies can be helpful. Similar to other facilities, manufacturing businesses can reduce operating costs by switching to renewable energy, freeing up funds for higher-priority projects.

6. Office Buildings

Installing cozy covered parking for customers, staff members, and other visitors gives businesses a competitive edge. Potential employees might be more drawn to an employer who cares about their convenience, safety, and comfort when entering the premises. In order to increase utility and help give people more confidence while in the parking lot before and after work, employers can also add accessories to covered parking structures, such as lighting options and cameras.

Additionally, the energy generated by the solar PV system can be more affordably used inside the office building to power a variety of appliances and equipment.

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