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Solar canopy offers both shelter & electricity

NRG Solar has launched a new freestanding solar canopy, which not only provides shade and shelter, but also generates electricity.

The canopy can be customized to suit a variety of uses, with four models that vary in height from eight to ten feet, with output of 2.4 to 7.2kW. The solar canopy can be grid-tied or off-grid, and because it is a freestanding, modular structure, the canopy has a faster installation time.

Plus, according to the manufacturer, it can withstand winds of up to 150mph, and can provide off-grid power during outages.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, NRG began to take a more urgent look at providing a solution that could meet basic power needs in the event of a grid emergency,” said Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Solar.

“We believe in bringing renewable energy solutions—like the NRG Solar Canopy—to customers in new and innovative ways that extend beyond the rooftop so customers are not limited in their approach to energy independence,” he continued.

Credit: NRG Solar

Credit: NRG Solar

The solar canopy can, if connected to the grid, offset some of a household’s energy use, or be used to charge equipment like cell phones and lights. NRG Solar is touting the canopy as a backup power source, or as an alternative to rooftop solar (for example, if a roof is shaded). The optional battery packs can also store power to last for days.

These specifications mean that the canopy can be used not just for homes but also for other structures that may require power during outages – for example, hospitals and universities.

For now, the canopies are being trialled at NRG offices and at select Starwood Hotels, “customized to match the look and feel of each resort, and purposed in diverse ways including luxury pool cabanas, a golf starter shack, shaded recreation areas, and covered food and beverage areas,” according to a statement from NRG.

Residential solar canopies will be available in 2014.


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