A solar car park is when a commercial carpark is turned into a solar power generating space by covering the car park with a shade structure made from solar panels. In Australia, we are a country of vast resources; from our beautiful oceans to our rich mining deposits. How often do we think about the incredible power that could be harnessed from the sun? Converting uncovered commercial car parks to solar generating car parks is a significant way to harness the power of the sun and start treating solar power as a real energy source.
Shopping Centre Commercial Car Park Shade Structures
Shopping Centres are the most popular location for a solar car park. Not only are they often in locations that are void of shade that would cover potential solar panels, but the addition of a shade structure provides value to the customers of the centre. Most shopping centres are moving towards shaded car parks for the comfort of their customers. The trend in the last few years has been for local supermarkets to cater to localities. More and more standalone or micro shopping centres have been built than ever before, catering to the frequent shopping habits of consumers. Those customers want to be able to quickly access their local supermarket, without having to park their cars a long-distance away. With the increased competition for the local grocery dollar, there has also been a significant trend in covering these car parks.
Solar Car Park as an Alternative to Traditional Shade Structures
The solar car park provides a logical solution for shopping centre shade. It provides for the shade needs of the customer, whilst also providing power for the shopping centre itself. Solar car parks are the shade solution that pays for itself, creating an interesting opportunity for shopping centre owners.
How Much Power can be Generated?
The power that is generated will depend on several factors; the location of the solar car park site, how much direct and indirect sunlight the site gets per day, orientation of the solar car park solar panels and site design. As a basic starting point, a single solar car space will have approximately 3kW of solar panels. The solar panels in this car space would then generate approximately 4.8MWh of electricity in a year under ideal conditions. Depending on the energy rate, the savings generated by the one solar panelled car space are between $700 and $1000+ per year. The numbers alone make solar car parks an economic strategy worth considering further.
Obviously, the numbers that we look at above are a generalisation; however, they can be looked at as a case study. Our team does a full analysis of your site, available solar suppliers and other conditions that may impact solar energy production as part of our quoting process.
How are Solar Carpark Shade Structures Financed?
There are a variety of ways that a PV Structure shade solution can be finance with PV Structures. One of the most popular methods is via a Power Purchase Agreement. This innovative finance model allows for the asset to be paid for over the course of a set investment period (usually 10 – 15 years) by a third party that then bills you, the owner, for the power that you use. The power rate is predetermined in the agreement and is normally the same as your current rate or slightly lower. These PPA’s greatly reduce the financial risk of building the solar shade structure to the commercial entity. PPA’s also allow for smaller commercial operations to benefit from a solar car park.
To find out more about whether a solar car park is an option for your commercial site, get in touch with the team at PV Structures on 1300 856 978 or via our contact page.