pergola solar panels roof

Affordable Home Energy Independence with Pergola Solar Panels

Last Updated on November 30, 2022

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.

Why you shouldn’t put solar panels on your 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.

visibile vs hidden solar panel on roof

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 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.

How does a solar carport work for EV?

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 America 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.

Tesla EV - Solar pergola

Is a pergola eligible for energy tax credit?

With available federal tax credits, adding solar panels to a pergola can be surprisingly affordable. Did you know you are likely 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 their systems create.

Additionally, available federal solar energy tax credits can offset the cost of your solar pergola project. For 2022, these tax credits will cover 26% of the project costs, (in 2023 that rate drops to 22%). Whether your pergola solar panels are being added to your primary residence or a vacation home, just about all hardware and installation costs can be claimed as part of the tax credit program. That includes, the solar panels, contractor labor and permit costs, wiring, inverters, mounting equipment, energy storage devices, and even sales tax.


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.

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