The car port that charges while you shop

The Nissan Leaf charging in the car port The Nissan Leaf charging for an hour can be powered for 10 miles

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A company in Dorset has unveiled a solar-powered car port that can charge a car while the driver goes shopping.

H2 Eco director Mike Stephenson said he envisaged them being used at supermarkets and in council car parks.

Each car bay has nine solar panels which can provide a Nissan Leaf enough charge to drive 10 miles (16km) in one hour.

Subsidies for the electricity generated by the car port mean that it can pay for itself over time.

Last year the government cut solar subsidies, called Feed In Tariffs, from 43p per KW hour to 21p per KW hour.

The feed-in tariff will fall further to 16 pence per KW hour on 1 August. It will then fall every three months, depending on market conditions.

'Eco credentials'

But despite these reductions Mr Stephenson said the falling manufacture cost of "photovoltaic" units meant they were still commercially viable.

The system costs about £8,000 but is currently capable of generating about £420 a year in grants, irrespective of how the electricity is used.

Mr Stephenson said: "There are many different models which you could adopt when using these carports, but I see them predominantly being used in places like supermarkets where the charge points could be offered free to customers as a kind of incentive.

"They are a very visual statement of a company's eco-credentials and they help solve the chicken-and-egg problem of not having enough charging points in the country to allow the take up of electric cars.

Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset & North Poole, said: "I think this solar car port is a fantastic idea. I am an exponent of eco-friendly products and I am delighted to support the Eco Park project which is both designed and manufactured here in Dorset."

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