Patio covers, awnings, and gazebos can make your outdoor space more comfortable and functional. New products on the market can take them a step further by turning your patio cover or gazebo into a mini power plant with the addition of solar panels. If you’re considering making the upgrade to build some sort of solar lounge, you may want to look into a solar patio cover or gazebo.
What is a solar patio cover?
Solar patio covers are part of an emerging category of solar that uses a structure other than the roof of your home or business as the framework for a solar system installation. These structures are often commonly referred to as “solar pergolas”.
The majority of small-scale solar installations go on the roof, but not every roof is ideal for solar. Luckily, if you have the right space, there are plenty of other system designs that you can use for your solar panels. These include ground-mounted solar systems, solar carport, and solar trees – and now you can add solar patio covers and solar gazebos to that list.
One of the great advantages of solar patio covers, solar gazebos, and solar carports is that they don’t require additional land (one of the main drawbacks of ground-mounted solar panels). Your solar panels can be installed on an existing structure, or you can choose to make an upgrade that you’ve already been considering for your home even better by incorporating solar panels into the plan.
Solar patio covers are a great solution for homes that don’t have ideal roofs or homeowners that are worried about curb appeal, but they aren’t just for residential properties. Restaurants, cafes, and other commercial properties that have outdoor seating space are a great fit for these standalone solar structures: they provide comfort for guests while simultaneously producing electricity that reduces operating costs.
How does a solar patio cover or gazebo compare to a rooftop solar installation?
Rooftop solar panels are a logical choice for many homeowners because it creates an additional function for your roof, and an average roof is well positioned to capture rays from the sun. However, suitability of rooftop solar is dependent on the existing roof angle, orientation or size of your property’s roof.
When you build a standalone structure (whether it’s ground mounted solar, a solar carport, a solar awning, or a solar patio cover), you’re starting from the ground up. As a result, you can design a system that is perfectly optimized for maximum solar electricity production.
The full customizability of a new solar structure is a major benefit, but it also adds some significant expenses to your installation. An average 6 kilowatt solar panel system costs $13,300 after tax credits, and patio covers and other structures can cost thousands of dollars to build. If you’re already considering both solar and a gazebo or patio cover, combining the two is a no-brainer, but keep in mind that you’ll pay more than you would for a rooftop system.
How to get your own solar installation
Building a standalone solar patio cover is a more complex project than installing rooftop solar, so you may have to find a specialized solar installer to design one for you. If you are interested in a smaller off-grid system to power a few lights, rather than one that powers your entire home, you can also explore DIY solar options.
We always recommend that homeowners and businesses shopping for solar should educate themselves about their solar options and seek multiple offers for different system designs. To get quotes from pre-vetted installers near you, register your home on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. You can specify the type of system you’re looking for in the “add details” section.