Solar Canopy vs. Tilt Rack: What’s the Difference?

In New York City, having a flat roof poses some obstacles to going solar: Physical obstructions and make installation difficult; NYC’s fire codes and regulations limit the number of panels you can have on your roof and consequently the energy you generate; owners want to continue using their rooftops as social spaces.

There are two solar systems – the solar canopy and the tilt rack – that were designed specifically to circumvent these problems. So what do they look like, and how are they different?

Solar Canopy

  • Elevates solar panels 9 feet above the roof surface
  • Sociable space underneath; can walk underneath
  • Ability to go solar when roof obstructions would have otherwise prevented a solar system
  • 40% larger system size than if panels were to be installed directly on roof surface
  • Cooler building during summer months
  • Withstands winds up to 110 mp

Tilt Rack

  • Elevates solar panels slightly off roof surface
  • Ability to go solar when roof obstructions would have otherwise prevented a solar system
  • 40% larger system size than if panels were to be installed directly on roof surface
  • Cooler building during summer months
  • Withstands winds up to 110 mph

Both designs get around many restrictive NYC fire codes, maximizing your roof’s potential to offset your utility. The main difference is that the solar canopy is elevated significantly higher off the ground than the tilt rack, allowing you the space to roam underneath. The tilt rack thus requires less materials and is therefore usually cheaper to install than a solar canopy.

Which design works for your home?

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and as always – shine on!