Rows of luxurious Audis hide from the sun under a canopy of solar panels on the north edge of Calgary, but it’s not the sun that poses a threat to these cars.

The 933 solar panels on this lot produce 306,000-kilowatt hours of power, about 60 per cent of the dealership’s yearly energy needs, and also protect the cars from the frequent hail storms that pummel the region each spring and summer and result in millions of dollars of damages for property and car owners.

As a result, the covering of solar panels here generates both power revenues and insurance savings for the Audi Royal Oak dealership, which was the first to install a solar canopy in Canada, though other dealerships in Southern Alberta – dubbed “Hailstorm Alley” by insurance companies – have since followed suit.

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