Awnings are fairly simple. Their purpose is to keep solar energy out of your home or away from outdoor living areas like desks and patios.
But a new breed of awning is not only providing shade, but harnessing that solar energy and turning it into electricity.
At its base, the system features a triangular aluminum frame, which serves as a structural truss. It expands to a 35-degree angle once it is installed on a building. The triangle frame then is covered with either 60 or 72 cell solar panels.
Qualifies for tax credits
The awnings do the job of traditional awnings -- block the sun. But they also harness the sun's energy, and in so doing open up the awning industry to 30% tax credits for solar energy installations.
"We believe awnings are the next big frontier that will further accelerate the adoption of solar, which will reduce our society's carbon footprint while providing an elegant yet functional shield from sun, wind and weather," said Rick Campfield, CEO of SunModo.
Other manufacturers have also combined the awning with solar power generation. Florian offers a wide range of solar products, using solar panels to create attractive canopies, carports, and solar powered rooms.
Integrated Solar Design offers systems it says provide up to 30% more power than conventional solar system.
And of course, awnings can reduce current energy costs, whether they generate electricity or not. By keeping direct sunlight from entering a buildings, the interior temperature stays more comfortable without requiring the increased use of electricity.