California Senate Bill 49 gives tax credits for solar canopies.

On April 12, 2023 the California senate transportation bipartisan committee unanimously approved a bill to support tax credits for solar canopies over parking lots and along highways.

Senate Bill 49 introduced by Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo), aims to support the buildout of solar above parking lots and along highways throughout California. The goal is to make a better use of the thousands of acres of parking lot spaces by encouraging businesses to build “solar canopies.” These solar canopies could generate enough electricity to power millions of homes.

“Solar farms use a tremendous amount of land, but that type of open space either isn’t available or is tremendously expensive in cities and suburbs that use the most power,” said Senator Becker.  “That’s what makes solar canopies so appealing, because they don’t require any more land and give owners an incentive to make dual use of their lots by installing a real power plant and generating large amounts of clean energy.”

According to a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, pavement makes up 35%-50% of the total surface area in cities, and 40% of that pavement is parking lots.  Putting a solar canopy over an existing parking lot is a much more efficient use of space than acquiring land to install a ground-mounted solar system.  

California’s energy agencies estimate the state needs about 110 GW of new solar power to meet its 100% clean energy target by 2045.   If half of the state’s parking lots were covered with solar canopies, that would provide 13 GW of power – more than 10% of the new solar needed.  One GW of electricity is equal to 1 billion watts of power – enough to power approximately 250,000 homes.

Bill 49 includes two main provisions,

  • A sales tax exemption for the materials to build solar canopies over parking lots.
  • It requires the state to develop a plan to make its highway rights-of-way available for solar, energy storage and transmission infrastructure.

*Also, by leasing state-controlled land along highways for solar power, California can earn revenue from lease payments and tax credits. They can save money through avoided maintenance costs of leased areas.

Nucor’s PowerShingle unique water-shedding roof solar-steel engineering allows for more efficient high rise and larger clear span carport and gable building structures on California’s highways and business’ parking lots.

Senate Bill 49 promotes Solar canopies in parking lots for EV charging

Tax Credits for Solar Canopies.

Along with Bill 49, there are other Federal and State initiatives for solar investment, such as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program (NEVI), allocating $384M to California out of $5B federal funding over the 5 next years, as well as the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, aiming to dedicate $750 million for building more truck rest areas… all in support of clean energy and clean transportation.

Nucor’s PowerShingle  technology can provide more energy per-square-foot with less columns and larger spans than any other solar canopy system, offering large-scale capacity to cover and protect people in rest areas and their vehicles, with a more elegant setup.

PowerShingle solar panels are proudly manufactured right here in the United States.  Combined with Nucor’s 100% domestic manufactured steel, we can help private and public solar investment by facilitating application of latest Investment Reduction Act (IRA)’s Investment Tax Credits (ITC), Prevailing Wage and Domestic Content bonus benefits and requirements.

Demian Pedroza

Author Demian Pedroza

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