solar panel carport with side panels

Solar Panels On Carports: Why Not Put Solar Panels On The Sides?

I was working in my car under one of those carports with solar panels on the top of it.

solar car port

I realized you could probably increase the power output of these structures a lot by adding panels to the sides of the roof structure:

solar panel carport with side panels

Believe it or not, people are starting to do solar fences and experimenting with vertically mounted solar panels. They have a unique ability to capture more energy from sunlight at the beginning and the end of the day. They also have panels that capture solar energy from both sides of the panels.

When you start thinking about solar panels in the third dimension, you start to realize how much more energy you can capture.

Everyone seems to be concerned with AREA and that we need to blanket the earth with solar panels to get our entire energy needs.

But if you can mount them on walls, we’re opening up a lot more potential. Some buildings get beat down by the sun almost all day. I know because I work in west-facing offices usually. They tend to get really hot!

As I was driving home I saw this bridge:


..and of course, I thought, why not just mount panels to the entire side of this bridge? There’s power capture everywhere you look. The question is: can we build a useful electric grid that benefits from plastering panels everywhere?

One of my concerns is the need to service panels. You may have to wash them once a year. You will need to replace them at some point. If our electric grid is based on millions of panels all over the place, how do you manage that at scale? Will cities or municipalities be responsible for energy production? Will it be current power companies? What’s the carbon footprint of installing and servicing all of this?

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