Silva Virginia Pine Solar Carport

Silva Virginia Pine Solar Carport

Project Information


Timber Frame HQ

Timber Framer:

Norman Silva

Project Location:

New Albany, Indiana

Wood Species:

Virginia pine

Project Description:

 This is a timber framed carport with a solar panel roof. I used SketchUp to modify your 16x24 shed roof pavilion plan. I used a mixture of power tools finished with hand tools. Wood is Virginia pine skidded out from our woods here in southern Indiana. A friend runs a local custom mill and we rough milled them in a day. Bents were all assembled and mounted in place then We had a party to put the rest of it together. It is my first timber frame so it took me about 5 months from tree felling to turning on the solar panels.

It will produce about 1.5 times the electricity our house and cars use. Overall the project cost 18k. The timber frame component was maybe 3k of that (but lots of free labor:).

After trying several different layout methods I settled on using the what I believe is called the line rule. It isn’t described on the timber frame website but definitely should be. It’s much better than square rule for jointers layout and adds only a bit more time. The joints were roughed out with a chain mortise (used from Japan), a 10 1/4 inch circular saw, and a router for the housings. Joints were finished primarily with a 3” slick and 1.5” mortising chisel. A timber would take between 4-6 hours to cut the joints and stain. Just sharing these details for others considering tackling a timber frame.

I am already planning my next project. Hopefully a community pavilion at a local park

Project Images:

Silva Virginia Pine Solar Carport

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3 thoughts on “Silva Virginia Pine Solar Carport”

  1. Scott from Raleigh

    Would love to see the math possibilities on the solar roof. Was it water tight?

  2. Hi scott.
    thanks for contacting me. it is water tightish. I mounted them on unistrut with a system 0f 1/4 in grade eight bolts, star washer, and a unistrut wing nug. the star washer is for grounding. I used the mounting holes on the panels themselves. this system was painstaking, but it allowed me to clamp them together with uv resistant neoprene weather stripping between the panels to water proof them before tightening the bolts. I do get a few drip spots during a rain. I believe using a higher quality weather stripping and taking time not to tear it during install would make it water tight.

    Calculations on production are pretty straight forward. look up your peek solar hours per day ( approx. 5hrs in Raleigh, NC). To figure out the real life production capacity of each panel multiply the rated by about 80% . that will give you what you will make on an average day. There will be a lot of variation by season. ex: 100watt panel would produce 80 watt instantaneous production multiplied by 5hrs gives 450 watt hours a day average. We have 36 panels rated at 410 watt. A good day last month we made a little over 100kwh a day.

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