Ocean View to construct solar carport, with aid from grant

Last year, the Town of Ocean View was awarded an energy grant of $458,000 from the Delaware Energy Office – the second largest such grant awarded in the state.

The town had originally considered installing a ground-level solar array at the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building, but chose to go with a solar carport. After hearing that the U.S. Department of Energy discouraged solar carports, they then made plans to use the money to have a solar array installed on the roof of the building, before getting the go-ahead for the carport idea.

“The original plan was to put the solar panels at ground level, and that was discouraged, so we put them up on the roof,” explained Town Manager Conway Gregory. “Then we found out we could go with the carport design, and that’s what we did.”

With the site for the array having been switched from the building to an alternative structure, Gregory said the town will be able to gain more solar energy.

“We will get more kilowatt-hours by having the carport than by having it up on the roof, because the roof is not slanted to the maximum level. By using the carport, we can put the panels up to slant at the best angle. It will be slanted so that the panels will get at least 70 percent of sunlight, which is required to give us maximum solar output,” he said. “I’m in favor of the project because it will help reduce the town’s expenditures on electricity,” he added.

Designed by engineering firm Remington, Vernick and Beach, the plans have the carport spanning the east side of the parking lot of the municipal building and standing 14 feet high.

“The carport design is not going to be unattractive,” he said. “It’ll look like a car parked under a carport, except the panels will be at an angle and there will be space between the poles.”

There will be other environmental benefits to the carport’s construction, with a reduction in Freon and gas emissions into the atmosphere.

“The advantage of having this carport designed is it will keep snow and rain and sunlight off of the cars, so it should extend their lives. It will also help to reduce the amount of evaporation of gasoline that’s in the tanks in the summer. This will provide enough shade to cut down on that.”

As the town council has already approved the project, Gregory is only waiting for final comments from council members before they have a bid package and pre-meeting set up.

Gregory added that he hopes the project will be completed by the end of July.