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A patio cover is an excellent place to install solar panels. Solar panels can be integrated directly into the design of a new patio cover or installed on the roof of an existing structure. Adding solar panels to the roof of a patio cover will allow you to harvest the energy of the sun and block it at the same time. You'll get the best of both worlds - a shady spot to spend time with friends and family and reduced electricity costs. In addition, installing solar panels often makes you eligible for rebates from the state and federal government.

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When building a freestanding solar patio cover you'll want to choose the location carefully. First, the patio cover should be in an area of your yard where it is easily accessible by friends and family. Second, it should also have southern sun exposure for harnessing as much energy as possible. Third, you may consider sloping the roof of the cover which increases the effectiveness of the panels.

If you plan on installing solar panels on an open lattice patio cover be sure to use transparent panels. These panels capture energy while allowing 15% of the sunlight to filter through.

There are a few companies that offer complete solar patio cover systems. EnergyPro, Inc. has a product called Solaranda. The Solaranda is an aluminum shade structure with solar panels on the roof. It can be built attached to your home or freestanding. PHAT Energy has a product called the PHATport. The PHATport is available in two sizes and features translucent solar panels that let some sunlight through.

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