Comparing Solar Solutions: Rooftop vs. Carport Installations

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Sustainability is increasingly becoming a key consideration for businesses, with pressure from central government, investors, customers and other stakeholders as well as a desire to reduce the company's environmental impact overall.

An investment that also generates a return on investment, solar panels offer clean, self-generated renewable energy to power business operations. Not only reducing carbon emissions, solar panels also save money over the long term by reducing electricity bills. 

When it comes to installing solar panels you generally have two options: a traditional rooftop solar installation, or solar carports. When deciding between them, it's important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each to determine the best solar solution for your specific needs.

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Advantages of Rooftop Solar Panels

Rooftop solar panels offer several advantages. Using your existing roof for the installation (if it's suitable) eliminates the need for additional structures and doesn't use valuable space on the ground.

In addition, no groundworks are required, making the installation process relatively simple and non-disruptive to business operations.  Another benefit is that rooftop solar panels are generally more affordable compared to other solar solutions. This makes them a cost-effective option for commercial properties.

Overall, the advantages of rooftop solar panels include the ease of installation, the use of existing roofs, and the affordability. However, installing rooftop panels does require your existing roof to be able to support a solar panel array, and ideally be orientated to catch the most sun.

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Advantages of Solar Carports

Solar carports provide unique advantages that make them an attractive solar solution. One major advantage is the ability to cover a much larger area with solar panels compared to rooftop installations. Unlike rooftop solar, the number of solar panels used in carports is not limited by the design, orientation, or by any existing HVAC installations on the roof. This allows for increased electricity generation, leading to greater carbon and cost savings.

In addition to generating electricity, solar carports offer shelter and protection for the cars of staff or customers. This dual functionality makes them a practical choice for businesses and organizations. Furthermore, solar carports can be seamlessly integrated with electric vehicle (EV) charging points, promoting sustainable transportation.

Another advantage of solar carports is the ease of maintenance. Since the solar panels are closer to ground level, they are much easier and safer to clean and maintain compared to rooftop installations. This can help ensure the optimal performance and longevity of the solar panels.

Lastly, solar carports make a bold and highly visible statement about your commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles and sustainability goals. They showcase your dedication to renewable energy and contribute to a positive brand image.

In summary, the advantages of solar carports include increased solar panel coverage, dual functionality as car shelters, compatibility with EV charging points, ease of maintenance, and the ability to demonstrate a commitment to ESG and sustainability goals.

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Is a Rooftop Solar Array or a Solar Carport Better?

When it comes to determining the better option between rooftop solar arrays and solar carports, it ultimately depends on the specific needs and circumstances of the property owner.

Rooftop solar installations are a suitable choice for properties with suitable roofs and limited space availability. They offer a relatively simple and cost-effective solution for harnessing solar energy. However, it's important to consider factors such as roof condition, orientation, and shading that may impact the efficiency of rooftop solar panels.

On the other hand, solar carports provide a versatile solution that can be utilized in various settings. They are particularly advantageous for properties with larger open areas or parking lots. Solar carports offer the benefits of increased solar panel coverage, car protection, and the ability to integrate EV charging infrastructure. They also make a strong visual statement and enhance a company's brand image to stakeholders and the media.

Ultimately, the decision between rooftop solar arrays and solar carports should be based on factors such as available space, budget, energy requirements, and the overall goals of the property owner. In some cases, a combination of both rooftop solar and solar carports may be the most effective strategy to maximize solar energy generation and meet sustainability targets.