Whether you’re trying to do your part for the environment or save more at the pump, purchasing an electric vehicle is a big step forward. For many drivers who finally make the switch or businesses that commit to electrifying their fleets, it’s a significant decision.
That initial excitement can be dampened by a reality check, though, when you realize that your EV is going to ramp up your electricity consumption. Depending on electricity costs where you live, that electric car could add anywhere from $30 to $60 per month to your electricity bill. Less than gas? Absolutely. But you may want to offset your costs even further.
Solar carports allow you to take that next step. As a less expensive proposition than installing solar panels on your home or business, solar carports bring many of the same benefits and offer a ready-made solution for charging your EV without relying on the electrical grid. Here’s a look at how they work and how you can use a solar carport as an ideal solution for EV charging.
What Is a Solar Carport?
Solar carports are simple canopies that you can install anywhere parking is needed, whether it’s over your driveway or in your business’s parking lot. Unlike basic carports, however, solar carports are equipped with solar panels and collection systems to harness solar energy that you can then use in your home or business — or to charge your car.
All told, they’re an ingenious solution because they solve numerous problems at once, especially in commercial settings. A shocking amount of U.S. land is devoted to parking — as much as a third of the country’s total land area — and much of that is for single-level, open parking lots that sit in full view of the sun.
Without carports, these parking lots absorb intense amounts of heat, radiating it into the air and onto the cars parked in them. This contributes to the urban heat island problem, increasing average temperatures in cities all over the country. They can also become dangerous in winter when completely covered with snow and ice.
Even at home, carports play a valuable role in the many homes or apartment complexes without garages, protecting cars from the elements year-round. But, whether for a home or workplace, solar carports add solar energy collection to the above benefits for a simple, comprehensive solution.
Solar and EVs Were Made for Each Other
Before we dive into more on solar carports with EV charging stations, it’s important to consider just how well the two technologies of solar power and electric vehicles complement each other. For the driver concerned with moving toward clean energy, solar represents the logical next step. And it allows them to ensure that their car is not only cleaner but also powered by renewable energy.
Taking this further, pairing solar power with EV charging reduces your demand on the electrical grid instead of increasing it as adding only an EV would. One study by the University of Maryland School of Public Policy found that those who purchased an EV increased their hourly power usage by 0.4 kilowatt-hours (kWh), while those that also added solar panels actually reduced their hourly usage by 1.4 kWh. This saves you money and limits your impact on the electrical grid, especially during peak times.
Couple that fact with the way you can save by packaging EV chargers and solar panels and by taking advantage of government utility incentive programs, and you have a relatively inexpensive combination that can save you significantly in the long run.
In short, solar panels and EVs are made for each other.
Could a Solar Carport Provide the Perfect EV Charging Station?
For many homeowners and businesses, solar carports represent a great way to capture these complementary benefits and blend them with the advantages that carports bring.
Consider businesses that rely heavily on open parking lots for their customers or clientele. Hotels, event centers, and hospitals may have parking garages, but they also frequently utilize single-level parking lots. Solar carports allow their customers to keep their cars cool and protected while also affording them the chance to charge their cars. And any surplus power can go to the business for other uses or be sold back to the utility company for credits. Worried about managing all this? Don’t be: our Charging Management Software makes it simple to track energy usage and optimize savings.
Homes and apartment complexes, particularly in warm, sunny climates that don’t require full-blown garages, can enjoy similar benefits. And, while it’s true that a solar carport can be costly upfront — between $18,000 to $25,000 on average — you can quickly offset these costs with tax credits and the savings you gain by reducing your electrical usage. If you’ve already decided your driveway or parking lot needs coverage, spending the extra money to add solar will definitely pay dividends in the long run. Even if you or your customers don’t drive EVs yet, it’s only a matter of time.
Let EV Connect Help With Your Solar Carport EV Charging Stations
Are you ready to start getting the best of both worlds by pairing solar power with your EV charging needs? EV Connect can help. Whether you’re adding a single carport to your home or an entire array for your parking lot, we can work with you and the solar installers to optimize setup and streamline the process.
Once you’re up and running, it’s easy to use our management software to manage your charging stations and connect with third-party tools for monitoring your solar array. Connect with us today to learn how we can help you get your new solar carport up and running in no time.
Investopedia – How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?
Empower Energies – The Little-known Benefits of Solar Canopies and Carports
University of Maryland School of Public Policy – Impacts of the co-adoption of electric vehicles and solar panel systems: Empirical evidence of changes in electricity demand and consumer behaviors from household smart meter data