Frederick auto dealership adds canopies, solar panels to guard against hail and produce electricity – The Denver Post

To avoid the fallout from one aspect of Colorado weather — hail — and take advantage of another — abundant sun — an auto dealership in Frederick has combined protective canopies with doubled-sided solar panels.

Stapp Interstate Toyota collaborated with VPS, which produces structures for outside parking, and IPOWER Alliance, made up of companies and organizations that service the auto industry. The new structures provide more than 53,000 square feet of protection for vehicles on the 9-acre dealership.

It’s believed that the coupling of the protective canopies and solar panels is the first of its kind in the U.S., said Brion Stapp, the dealership’s owner. At the start, the primary motivation behind the project was to reduce the hail damage and try to cut insurance costs, which have shot up with increasingly destructive storms.

“Our weather patterns have changed dramatically over the last three or four years,” Stapp said.

The dealership, which opened in 1974 in Longmont, has suffered millions of dollars in hail damage and insurance premiums have skyrocketed, Stapp added.

Colorado is second after Texas for insurance losses from hail damage, Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, said in an email.

The Front Range is in the heart of what’s called “Hail Alley” because it receives the highest frequency of large hail in North America and most of the world, according to the association. In the last 10 years, hailstorms have caused more than $5 billion in insured damage in Colorado.


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