Pergolas have been around for centuries, originally used in gardens to provide shade and shelter from the sun for people and plants.
Today, they are still used for those same purposes, but can also be outfitted with solar panels to generate enough electricity to power your home.
If you’re interested in adding a solar pergola to your home, you are just in the right place!
In this article, you will discover what is a solar pergola, how it works, how much it costs, and whether you can install pergola solar panels or not.
What Is a Solar Pergola?
A solar pergola is simply a regular pergola that has been outfitted with solar panels.
The number of panels you can fit on your pergola will depend on the size of the structure and the amount of electricity you want to generate (more on that later.)
There are 2 types of solar pergolas:
- Grid-Tied Solar Pergola: This type of solar pergola is connected to your home’s electrical grid. The solar panels will generate electricity during the daytime, which will be used to power your home. Any excess electricity will be sold to the grid for others to use.
- Off-Grid Solar Pergola: An off-grid solar pergola is not connected to the electrical grid. This means that you will need to store any excess electricity generated in a battery system. This is a good option if you live in a remote area where the electrical grid is not available.
Can You Put Solar Panels on Your Pergola?
Yes, you can put solar panels on your existing pergola roof or any flat outdoor structure but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, solar panels are quite heavy. The average solar panel weighs about 40 pounds (18 kg).
Second, how big your solar system will be. The bigger the system, the more energy it will produce, but also, the more solar panels you will need and the more weight your pergola will need to support.
Last, you will need to take into account the wind, rain, and snow loads that the solar powered pergola will be subjected to.
Maybe your outdoor living space can support the weight of the solar panels, but if it snows a lot in your area, the weight of the snow could cause your pergola to collapse, so take that into consideration as well.
What Are the Benefits of a Solar Panel Pergola?
1. Save More Money
The most obvious benefit of having a solar panel pergola is that it will help you save money on your electrical bills.
Solar panels generate electricity during the daytime, which can be used to power your home.
Any excess electricity can be sold back to the grid (if you have a grid-tied system) or stored in batteries (if you have an off-grid system.)
This can save you a lot of money, as you will no longer buy electricity during peak hours when it is the most expensive.
In fact, your solar array will be generating more energy than you need, so you can sell it back to the grid for a high price, then buy it back at night when the rates are lower.
In other words, you’ll be passively making money by having a solar panel pergola!
2. Protect You From the Rising Electricity Rates
As we all know, the cost of electricity is constantly rising.
But with a solar power pergola, you will be generating your own electricity, so you won’t have to worry about the rising cost of power.
In fact, you want that to happen because it means you will be selling your excess electricity back to the grid for an even higher price!
3. Increase the Value of Your Home
Solar panel systems are a valuable asset, and potential homebuyers will be willing to pay 4% more for a home with a solar system installed.
This means that if your home is worth $200,000, a solar system will increase its value by $8,000.
4. Benefit From Solar Incentives and Tax Deductions
The government offers solar incentives to encourage people to switch to renewable energy.
These incentives can save you up to 22% of the cost of your solar panel system.
There are also federal and state tax deductions that you can take advantage of.
5. Save the Environment
In addition to saving money, a solar panel pergola will also help you save the environment.
Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of energy that doesn’t produce any harmful emissions.
So, by switching to solar power, you will be doing your part to protect the environment.
How Much Does a Solar Pergola Cost?
A solar pergola that can generate enough electricity to power a typical home will cost about $20,000 on average.
This includes the cost of the solar panel system ($16,000) and the pergola itself ($4,000).
On average, building a pergola can cost you around $4,000 but the cost can depend on many factors, such as:
- The size (from 8×8 to 20×20)
- Post length (from 8 to 12 inches)
- Wood type (pine or cedar)
- Type (freestanding or attached to your house)
- Mounting method (in-ground or surface-mounted)
Solar Panel Cost
The second part of the solar power pergola cost is the solar system itself.
To power an entire home, you will need approximately a 6.6kW system, which will cost you about $16,000.
The cost of your solar system will depend on:
- Size of the solar system (how much electricity you want to produce)
- Type of solar panels (monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin-film)
- Type of solar system (grid-tied or off-grid)
- Where you live (solar panels cost more in some states than others)
- Solar Incentives in your state
How Much Energy Can a Solar Pergola Produce?
To calculate the amount of energy your solar pergola can produce, you need to multiply the average amount of peak sunlight that hits your area by the size of your solar panel system.
For example, if you live in California (5 hours of peak sunlight) and have a 6.6kW solar pergola system, your pergola should generate about 33kWh per day (6.6 x 5), which is enough to power a typical home.
What Can a Solar Pergola Power?
A solar pergola can power anything that uses electricity, including but not limited to:
- Air conditioners
It all depends on the solar system size you choose.
For example, a small system (around 200W) can power a few lights and charge your phone.
A medium system (around 3kW) can power a fridge, a TV, and some lights.
And a large system (around 8kW) can power an entire home.
How Long Does it Take to Install Solar Panels on a Pergola?
It takes about 3 weeks to install solar panels on a pergola.
This includes the time it takes to design the system, get permits, and actually install the panels.
The design and permit process can take up to a week, depending on the complexity of the system and the approval process in your area.
Adding solar panels, inspection, and connecting to the grid usually take about two weeks.
Are Solar Pergolas Waterproof?
Yes, solar pergolas are waterproof.
The panels are made of tempered glass, which is designed to withstand heavy rains and snow.
Are Solar Pergolas Worth It?
Solar pergolas are definitely worth it.
They will save you money on your electric bill, increase the value of your home, and help you do your part to protect the environment.
What is the Best Solar Panel for a Solar Pergola?
The best solar panel for a solar pergola is the polycrystalline solar panel.
It provides you with the best value for your money and is durable enough to withstand the elements.
What is the Best Wood for a Solar Pergola?
The best wood for a solar pergola is cedar.
It is rot-resistant and has a natural look that will complement your home.
A solar pergola is a great way to save money on your electricity bill and increase the value of your home.
It may be a little expensive but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
We really hope you enjoyed this guide.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them.
Thanks for reading!