Solar Carports and Solar Pergolas

Because basic ground mounting of a solar energy system somewhat limits additional use of the land, there are situations where elevating the solar array is a better fit. Placing the solar panels at elevation is no different that placing them on a rooftop, regarding solar power production. The solar carport or canopy and the solar pergola options simply require the additional framework in lieu of a building.

Solar Carports & Canopies


A solar carport is essentially a canopy, built to support a sizable solar array. It also provides usable space underneath the mounted solar panels for many different uses. Usually much larger in size and designed for high solar power production capacity, the support structures are pre-engineered and made of steel.

These structures have increasingly become popular and are eligible for certain additional incentives in Massachusetts and all standard incentives in Rhode Island. Because of growing use, more engineered choices are available today. This competition makes it possible to shop for more features across a wider range of costs:

  • Many suppliers offer complete analysis, design, and fabrication for each application.
  • Most canopy systems are designed to minimally impact installation. Little or no on-site welding is required. Bolting and fastening during erection is easy.
  • Standard designs include components built to inventory.
  • Custom designs are usually fabricated quickly.
  • A variation of foundation styles are available to accommodate most any ground and surface needs.
  • Rain water and snow melt management are commonly built in.
  • Available in small, modular sections and as long-span complete designs.

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Solar Pergolas – Aesthetics and Functionality


A solar pergola is the go to alternative to a ground mounted solar array, providing outdoor living spaces that also produce renewable energy. The structures are designed primarily for homeowners and small public spaces to give user the ability to enjoy both the shaded space and solar energy production benefits.

Many structures are made of wood, and all are focused on being aesthetically pleasing and complementary to the home.

  • Solar pergolas come in standard designs, usually easy to assemble.
  • They can be custom designed and manufactured to suit individual tastes.
  • Pergolas are a popular way to create backyard living spaces, shading around pools, as well as covers for decks and patios.
  • They are most cost effective when installed close to the house or building to minimize underground electrical conduit or cabling.
  • Meet requirements for many solar incentives and credits.
  • A pergola may be a preferred solution for residential solar energy when rooftop solar is not an option.

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These ground mounting options are chosen when available rooftop solar production capacity is not enough or mounting on the rooftop is not possible. However, they may be worth the extra cost by providing a convenience for homeowners and a premium parking experience for business customers. Solar canopies are also a very visible way to show a company’s commitment to clean, renewable energy.