Posted by Tom on 4/1/2013
Solar carports are not waterproof and cars are very expensive. How could a vehicle owner feel comfortable parking their car in a typical carport? It is great to keep the car out of the sun and even better that the parking lot is being used to create electricity and reduce our carbon footprint. With 99% of carport structures constructed out of carbon steel, corrosion will develop. No matter what everybody tells you, when it rains, or early morning temperature inversions cause condensation, a drop of water laden with red rust will form. When noticed by the proud car owner, that drop and the resulting stain will force them to move their vehicle. What does a responsible, caring property owner, such as a VA Hospital in Arizona with 2,000+ cars parked under solar carport structures (now in 2012) do with all those cars when it rains in 2022?
What does the VA Hospital do when it starts raining in 2022 with all those cars under solar metal structures? Will this responsible government facility hope none of the car owners complain about rust spots from drops of rain? The hospital staff will probably recommend that they do a complete inspection of the carport metal components and repair all signs of corrosion. Unfortunately, not all corrosion causing surfaces can be treated without major disassembly.
When you do the best for America and the planet by investing in solar carports, either as a perk for your employees or as a wise investment, you expect to get 25 years and hopefully more of positive revenue from your solar array. Having problems with car owners using the parking spaces is the last thing you would expect and want to deal with.
I know of three responsible choices for solar carport structures: 1st would be to make your structure entirely out of anodized or painted aluminum beams, etc. and all stainless steel fasteners and brackets. 2nd would be to install a conventional steel roof (typically used on low cost steel carports) and attach the solar modules with a roof top racking system. 3rd would be to use water tight solar modules. With customer help, I am hoping our engineers can develop better solar carport products, so I am looking forward to your comments.