Solar car ports – time for under-utilised space to shine?
Making use of under-utilised space to reduce carbon emissions in the commercial or public sector is one of the areas we’ve been exploring. More specifically, how installing solar car ports in car parks can demonstrate a link between renewables and electric mobility – and help towards the achievement of sustainability goals.
An increasing demand
At Joju, we’re seeing an increasing demand for integrating EVCP provision with renewables, especially solar. We’ve joined forces with Flexisolar on two recent projects, to help create solar car ports that reduce carbon emissions and that can power EV Charging infrastructure.
A space reborn in Coventry
In 2022, Bourn (previously known as Sherbourne House), was repurposed as a workspace and destination. It’s form and functionality was refreshed, with the core values of this six-storey, 90,330 sq ft building being “to encourage and support behaviours which are good for its people, the place and the planet”.
That was according to Rob Hemus, Asset Director for IM Properties, and the solar car port is certainly part of the “planet” piece. The car port structure houses 36 double bays and is topped with 228 PV modules, giving a total installed capacity of 94.62kWp. The system is connected through the floor, with the inverter housed below the structure, and the predicted CO2 emissions avoided are 37,066 kg/year.
Solar for South Staffordshire Council
South Staffordshire District Council also took the plunge, with a 40m long solar carport installed at their offices, over 10 existing parking spaces. The ‘V’ leg structure features a 32.175kWp PV system including 99 panels, a Solis inverter, and an estimated annual energy generation of 26,963 kWh. The car port compliments the installed EV Charge points by offsetting onsite electricity demand, and we have more car port installations with similar goals happening in 2023.
To top it all off…
Talking of under-utilised space and car parks, a very different approach was taken by our client, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. The Council set aside the top deck of one of their little-used multi storey car parks, for solar and EVCPs.
We installed 5 dual Alfens, 87kW solar, and 3 Tesla Powerwalls at Wellgate Multistorey. That’s what we call thinking outside the concrete box.. or should that be on top of it?
Does installing a solar car port stack up?
When it comes to carports, they can be connected to a building supply or have their own independent connection and although both are technically feasible, are they a way to make under-utilised space productive from an economic point of view?
In short, it is still more cost effective to install solar PV on traditional roof spaces. The carport structure has to be built and there are associated civil engineering costs. The support structure is already in place on existing buildings, of course. However, not all roofs are suitable for solar, or a building may already have solar installed, and utilising car parking space can be a great way to boost additional onsite generation.
Also, solar carports are clear flagship projects – a way for solar and your green credentials to be very visible (which isn’t always the always the case on roof installs).
A growing market
In essence, solar carports can demonstrate a real link between renewables and electric mobility, and contribute to the achievement of sustainability goals. A wide range of design strategies are possible, and car ports can be an additional way of generating solar energy.
When it comes to this type of under-utilised space, we’re predicting a growth in solar carport popularity and an opportunity to shine in the right public sector and commercial spaces.
Contact us to talk about solar car ports in public sector or commercial spaces
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