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What is a solar car park?

Carports have been around for many years in sunnier countries to protect vehicles from the sun. It was a natural step to add solar PV to the roofs of carports to generate energy for use in the carpark and associated buildings.



How does a solar carport system work?

A solar carport system works in the same way as a solar rooftop or ground mounted system with the generated energy flowing along connecting cables, through an inverter, into a distribution board and on to the nearest point of demand. The only difference is that solar carport systems offer the added benefits of covered parking and easily deployed electric vehicle charge-point infrastructure.



What permissions do I need to install a solar carport?

Generally, a solar carport will require planning permission from the local authority and permission will need to be granted from the local distribution network operator, who will determine if a connection can be made to the local grid, and if so, on what terms.  


As part of the first-class service from FlexiSolar, all planning application documents are included – such as Design and Access Statements, Biodiversity Assessments and Building Regulations, as well as Glint and Glare Analysis. 



What preparations do I need to make before installing a solar carport?

Consideration should be given to the location of the carport, avoiding shading where possible. It is also sensible to assess your site consumption to ensure any system is designed for minimal export of electricity to the grid. FlexiSolar will guide you through every step of the process from initial assessment to system design, planning, installation and registration. We will be able to tell you if a solar carport is a viable solution for your site and give you the generation and return on investment estimates. For certain projects FlexiSolar will also tell you if the system can be installed free of charge under a power purchase agreement (PPA).



What are the benefits of a solar carport?

Solar carports allow dual use of large car parking areas for the purpose of producing electricity, generated from the sun, whilst benefiting car users. A surface car park is usually uncovered and open to the elements, the construction of a solar carport allows the vehicles and users to be sheltered from adverse weather conditions. Substantial savings can be made on EV charge-point installation as ground-works for cable trenching are shared with the solar installation.


Installing a solar PV system not only saves money on your electricity bills but also protects against rising electricity rates in the future. The utility rates and solar policies in your area will influence how much you can save.


Solar carports can increase land value and create revenue opportunities for site operators from EV charge-points, branding and advertising, motion activated LED and parking aids.



What is the best car park layout for a solar carport?

Financial performance of solar carports can be significantly increased by choosing appropriate sites for installation.  The most favourable carpark layout is long, double rows of car parking that is adjacent to high energy users.  Examples that present such layouts include hospitals, airports, retail parks and large commercial premises. 


Utilising existing parking areas generates power without sacrificing valuable land resources.


Take a look at our solar carports here



What are my solar financing options?

Banks are very comfortable with solar investments and there are financial institutions offering lease-purchase alternatives.


Public Sector customers can access interest free, Salix loans and high energy use sites with large carpark facilities could benefit from a power purchase agreement (PPA), where they contract to buy the generated energy over a 20 to 30-year period with zero upfront capital expenditure.



How long will my solar power system last?

Properly cared for, your system should last for 25 to 30 years.



Do my solar panels produce power when the sun isn’t shining?

Yes, solar panels will produce energy while it is daylight, even on cloudy days, however heavily shaded areas should be avoided.



How do I register for the Feed-in Tariff?

Once a system is installed and all notifications are complete, we will assist you to complete a feed in tariff application form and submit it to your chosen FIT provider, usually your electricity supplier.



How long will my carport installation take and what implications will this have on the business?

Installation can only begin once planning and DNO approval are in place which can take up to twelve weeks. Then, depending on the scale of the project, installation can take place at quieter periods and in sections to minimise disruption. A compound may be needed to hold equipment, construction offices and welfare facilities. Health and Safety throughout setup and installation is a priority however we would endeavour to minimise the construction footprint to allow sections of the carpark to remain active.



We’ve evaluated these types of systems in the past but to no avail. What’s changed?

The raw costs for solar PV systems have been falling for a number of years now. This, combined with the ongoing above inflation rise of electricity costs, combine to make solar carports an attractive financial proposition.



What experience do you have as a company in designing and installing solar PV systems?

We are the UK’s leading solar carport designer and manufacturer. We designed our first solar carport over a decade ago and have been refining and developing our solutions ever since. We have installations across the country, covering more carpark bays than any other manufacturer.


View projects that we have been involved in. 



How much power will my solar panel system produce?

This will depend upon a number of factors including location, orientation and size. As a rule of thumb a current solar carport bay will produce 2kWhp. As PV panel sizes increase so will this figure.



What will a solar panel system cost me?

This will depend on a number of factors including size, ground conditions, locality etc. Our objective is always to make the return on investment viable and attractive as we can. We offer CAPEX and PPA solutions tailored to meet ROI needs.



How will FlexiSolar future-proof the system?

When we install our solar carports we are creating an opportunity to ‘future proof’ a carpark for the anticipated uptake in EV and EV charging in the coming years. We can lay infrastructure that provides for additional future requirements to suit.



What type of EV charge-points do you install?

We are charge-point agnostic. If the client has a preferred option then we will happily install them. If they do not then we will look to the most suitable charge point for the installation. We have also developed our own range of charge-points that are built upon industry leading technology.



What makes of battery storage do you install?

We are also battery agnostic. Every project is different and so we identify the right solution for the client needs and engage.



How many EV charging points do I need?

It is up to the client how many charge points we install. As a rule of thumb we think a figure of 10% of carpark bays is a good place to start. For larger sites this may reduce. We consult with the client and agree an appropriate figure.



What if we require more EV points?

We will discuss future proofing as part of the feasibility for every project. We can lay additional infrastructure that enables the client to retro-fit additional charge points with minimal fuss.




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