Commercial solar carports: why should businesses consider them?

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Articles

If you’re looking for ways to make your business greener and reduce its reliance upon fossil fuels, a commercial solar carport may be an excellent solution to consider.

However, before making the jump, businesses need to understand what they are, the commercial advantages they bring and associated legislative drivers.

What is a commercial solar carport?

A commercial solar carport is a purpose-built car shelter with solar panels on the roof, designed specifically for business use.

By integrating solar panels on top of these structures, companies can not only protect vehicles from the elements but also harness the sun’s power to generate a sustainable energy resource. The end result is a valuable resource that is ideal for powering buildings or charging electric vehicles.


Why install a commercial solar carport?

From finance to the environment, there are a multitude of reasons why firms would want to invest in these energy-generating structures – below are a few examples worth noting.


  • Significant Cost Savings: One of the most compelling incentives to install a commercial solar carport is the potential to reduce your business’s electricity bills by approximately 30%. By generating your own renewable power, you depend less upon the grid — resulting in lower monthly energy expenses.


  • Guaranteed Carbon Reduction: By using solar power instead of grid electricity, your business can significantly reduce its carbon footprint. This not only helps to comply with the Government’s targets of carbon net zero by 2050, but also enhances your company’s green credentials. 

In fact, depending on the location, a carport with 10 spaces can generate around 35kW of electricity – saving 7000 kg of CO2 emissions every single year!


  • Commitment to Sustainability: Installing a solar PV carport in your business to generate a renewable energy source is a sustainability statement. It demonstrates to both internal and external stakeholders that your firm is taking its environmental responsibility seriously.

It transforms your everyday car park into a stunning showcase of the future, and in addition to energy generation, it also offers additional environmental benefits such as rainwater collection.


  • Optimal Land Use: Installing solar panels over your business’s existing parking areas maximises the use of your land. It turns a typical cark park into a profit-generating solar power hub that not only serves its primary purpose, but also generates clean energy.


  • Future-Proofing Your Business: As the world moves towards more sustainable energy solutions, integrating solar technology into your infrastructure positions your business as a forward-thinking, environmentally responsible one. It also prepares you for future energy norms and regulations.


  • Integration of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: With the rise in electric vehicle (EV) usage, having EV charging stations is becoming increasingly essential. Commercial solar carports can be equipped with integrated Electric Vehicle Chargers (EVC), making it convenient to charge vehicles directly from the solar energy produced on site.


  • Prepared for EV Market Expansion: The installation of EVC in commercial solar carports is an excellent preparation for the expanding market of electric vehicles. It ensures your company remains relevant and attractive to a growing demographic of EV users.


  • Enhanced Vehicle Protection: A commercial solar carport provides a sturdy shelter for vehicles – shielding them from harsh sunlight, rain, snow, and hail. This not only prolongs the life of the vehicles but also improves the experience of users by offering a cooler, shaded spot in hot weather.


Solar Carports around the world

There are some notable examples of commercial solar carport usage across the world. They are already widely deployed around much of the USA and in mainland Europe, in both customer facing scenarios and at corporate headquarters.

For example, At Intel’s Folsom Campus in California, there is a car park with capacity for almost 3,000 cars – generating 6.5MWp of energy via its solar carports.

Also, Legoland Florida has a 600-space car park utilising solar carports and generates enough energy to power over 200 homes. Meanwhile, Montpelier Airport, in France, has a 4.5MWp solar carport, generating 6.2 million kWh per year – this covers a significant percentage of the airport’s total electricity usage.

Closer to home, the UK’s largest solar carport was installed at Bentley Motors’ Crewe headquarters in 2019. Producing 2.7MW, the site has around 10,000 solar panels and covers 27 rows of parking.

In terms of legislation, the French Government announced in the summer of 2023 that any car park with 80-400 spaces is required to install solar carports in at least half of its site. Operators have five years to adhere to this policy.


New UK legislation

The UK Government has recently mandated the use of already developed land for new solar panel installations, significantly promoting the adoption of solar carports. The move aligns with national goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and enhances the renewable offering. 

For businesses, this not only offers a chance to comply with environmental regulations but also provides economic benefits through reduced energy costs and potential government incentives. This shift will mark an important step in the UK’s journey towards sustainable infrastructure.

If you’d like to find out more about the value and opportunities of commercial solar carports in your business, get in contact with our team.

At Shawton Energy, we will work in partnership with you to understand your energy consumption, ensure a solar carport is the right solution and make the switch to solar power as straightforward as possible.

solar carports for businesses
solar carports for businesses
solar carports for businesses

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