Clean Power

Published on August 13th, 2011 | by Charis Michelsen


Germans Encouraged to Roof Carports with Solar Panels

August 13th, 2011 by  

Carports and garages are both perfectly serviceable structures to protect your car. We’re talking about carports here, though, so we’re just going to mention that they’re cheap, easy to build, and have great air circulation.

There’s one more advantage to a German carport – it’s incredibly simple to roof it over with solar panels and let solar energy pay for the carport. Give it twenty years, and it’s paid for itself four or five times over. Germany’s legislation regarding renewable energy covers carports as well as actual buildings. Said legislation states that incentives for solar power are higher if the solar panels are attached to a structure than if they’re just free-standing, and a carport apparently counts as a structure. Another point for the carport.

Although incentives will decrease significantly for anything built after 2012, as of August 2011, solar power units on a roof generate an incentive of 28.74 cents (Euro, of course, which is about $0.41 American) per kilowatt hour, up to 30 KW. A free-standing system’s incentive is only 21.11 cents/kilowatt hour (about thirty cents American).

I live in the Midwest, though, where rain and/or snow falling sideways is not entirely uncommon, and I’m not sure a carport would be quite enough protection.  On the other hand, solar panels on any kind of roof can only be a net positive.


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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.

  • Aldrin Baroi

    California State University, Northridge, CA, had this in one of the parking lot, at least partially, from 2004, as far as I remember.

  • Anonymous

    Imagine every driveway or parking lots around shopping centers or at work places, covered with solar panels. It would keep cars from the heat, and charge cars at time where not in use or store it some kind of storage devices on which devices many companies already are working to develop.

    • Keeping cars out of the heat also helps save fuel, both from not needing to run the A/C full blast to cool the car, but also from not having to have the car sitting there running the A/C before anybody is willing to sit in it.
      And in the winter, the carport can prevent the car from getting buried in snow, which would also reduce idling as the car owner scrapes the snow off the car before driving it.

      Wonder if anybody has done the math on how much gas would be saved by merely using a carport?

  • Anonymous

    1) No additional land is used. No dead tortoises.
    2) Shading reduces heat gain in the car, reducing use of air conditioning.
    3) Electricity is generated to charge electrics and hybrids.
    4) Less labor is required for installation in comparison to solar roofs.
    5) Adjacent homes and stores provide a load for the produced power.
    6) Optional rainwater catchment can be added.
    7) Can also serve as bus shelters, waiting areas for light rail, power for kiosks, etc.

  • Anumakonda Jagadeesh

    This I saw in Rome(Cqasaacia),at Car Parking in 1990 itself.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    Wind Energy Expert

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