Motivated by rising electric costs and the desire to reduce their carbon footprint, many American households are offsetting their power consumption with at-home solar generation. Yet, common homeowner concerns range from how the panels will impact the overall look of the home, to the potential for structural damage to their home’s roof, and of course the cost of the hardware and installation necessary for such an upgrade. The great news is all these concerns can be abated with pergola solar panels. Let’s look at how adding solar panels to your patio cover or carport could be your path to energy independence.
Pergola solar panels article: Content
Why you shouldn't put solar panels on your House roof?
While the addition of solar panels can actually extend the life of the roof shingles beneath, the potential for structural damage is certainly one of the key concerns when adding solar panels. For homes with older roofs and rafters, the aging wood structure may simply be too weakened to support the solar system. For homes that feature modern roof designs, their clean simplicity is a key design element of the home, and ruining these lines with an array of solar panels could compromise the architectural vision for the property. Of course, the potential for leaks at any of the solar panel attachment points could pose long-term troubles for the home as well. But, just because your home’s roof is not the ideal location for a solar array, doesn’t mean you need to live without one.
Can I put solar panels on my pergola?
Not only can you, but you should! Incorporating pergola solar panels mitigates potential damage to your home’s roof while preserving your architectural style and improving the solar system functionality in a few ways, such as:
- Architectural Style – By incorporating the panels into the roof of the pergola, they can be hidden from ground-level view, so they won’t distract from the home’s roofline.
- Location for Maximum Sun – With its integrated solar panels, the pergola to can be oriented to maximize sun exposure and therefore energy production.
- System Scalability – When building solar panels into your pergola project, you can scale the necessary square footage to meet your power generation needs.
How do you make a solar pergola?
For homeowners looking to truly offset an entire home’s energy needs, a fixed-roof pergola design like our R-SHADE™ model is the ideal platform for pergola solar panels. The R-SHADE’s insulated sandwich panel roof is easily scalable to accommodate any sized solar array, and its aluminum support structure can conceal the system wiring. While solar arrays can be added to existing pergolas, it is ideal to incorporate their design into the pergola planning at the beginning. This allows your pergola expert to ensure the support structures are engineered to withstand the added stress of the solar system, cleverly conceal all the wiring, and ensure the solar system will not impact the pergola’s hidden drainage system.
Outfitting a pergola with solar panels to power embedded accessories
Outfitting an aluminum pergola with solar panels to power-embedded accessories is feasible and aligns with the growing trend of incorporating renewable energy into outdoor structures.
Components needed to implement such a system
- Solar Panels: High-efficiency solar panels are essential to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. The size and number of panels would depend on your energy needs and the available space on the pergola.
- Inverter: An inverter is required to convert the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the solar panels into alternating current (AC), which can power household appliances and accessories.
- Batteries (Optional): To store excess energy generated during the day for use during the night or on cloudy days, you may consider installing a battery storage system.
- Charge Controller: A charge controller helps regulate the voltage and current from the solar panels to prevent overcharging and extend battery life if you have a battery system.
- Wiring and Accessories: Proper wiring, connectors, and electrical accessories are necessary to connect the solar panels to your pergola’s embedded accessories.
- Embedded Accessories: These can include lights, fans, heaters, speakers, or any other electrical devices you want to power with solar energy.
Permit and Compliance
Ensure that your installation complies with local building codes, zoning regulations, and safety standards. You may need permits and inspections, depending on your location.
How does a solar carport work for EVs?
If you have a Tesla, RV or boat which requires home charging, a solar-powered carport can be a great addition to your home. Like the solar-powered pergola, the Azenco R-CAR™ carport can be designed to house a full array of solar panels. According to Power Electronics News, to charge a Tesla for the average American commute, between 6 and 12 high-efficiency solar panels will be needed. So, a sufficient solar panel will cover between 100 and 275 square feet. In other words, a two-car R-CAR™ carport outfitted with properly efficient solar panels would be the perfect solution for the average Tesla owner.
What are other uses for pergola solar panels?
While solar panels are ideal for charging your electric car, there are numerous other use cases for pergolas with integrated solar panels. For example:
- Powering Integrated Amenities – Modern pergolas can be outfitted with numerous amenities that require electricity like motorized retractable privacy screens, embedded LED lighting, outdoor TVs, etc. Pergola solar panels can easily power these onboard amenities.
- Outdoor Kitchens – Homeowners designing a custom outdoor kitchen can power electric pizza ovens, smokers, infrared grills, blenders, ice machines and refrigerators with pergola-mounted solar panels.
- Free Shore Power for a Boat – A solar panel-equipped pergola can be added to a boat dock to generate clean renewable shore power for a yacht. Our fully customizable pergolas can also be designed to fit into the tight confines of smaller docks.
- Remote Standalone Pergolas – For outdoor living spaces that are far removed from electrical connections, like on a beach, at your hunting cabin, or simply in the backyard far from the home, solar panels can deliver power to these remote standalone structures.
Is a pergola with solar panels eligible for energy tax credits?
With available federal tax credits, adding solar panels to a pergola can be surprisingly affordable. Did you know you are already paying for others to earn money from their solar systems? Yup. If you look at your monthly electric bill, you’ll likely see a line item called a “renewable energy growth fee” (or something similar). These funds are used by the utility company to buy back the surplus electricity home solar systems create.
If you would like to explore adding pergola solar panels to your home to safeguard your home’s roof and the overall design aesthetic of the property, please contact us and we’ll connect you with one of our specialized pergola dealers near you.