Solar technologies and roofing can seem like a match made in heaven, but not everything is sunshine and rainbows when it comes to installing solar on your facility. There are many important factors to consider when installing solar that may get overlooked if you aren’t familiar with the process.
Failing to consider the requirements of your current roofing system could be a costly mistake that results in your missing out on an opportunity to become more environmentally friendly. For the benefit of our readers, the RoofConnect team put together a short list of mistakes to avoid when you decide to install solar on your facility.
Mistake #1: Failing to Ensure that Your Roof is Equipped for the Job
One of the most important considerations when installing solar on your facility’s roof should be to check the load capacity of your roof to make sure it can hold the weight of the solar array. While most structures are capable of supporting some type of solar array, it may not be capable of supporting the array that you are considering. They limitations of your existing structure should always be part of the discussion when deciding what type of racking system to use on your facility. No solar array should be considered without having a structural engineer sign off on the type of racking, panels, and other solar equipment that will be installed on your specific facility. No reputable solar company would suggest anything less.
Mistake #2: Installing Solar on an Old Roof
Your facility’s roof is exposed to a constant barrage of UV rays, moisture, temperature swings, and foot traffic that each take a toll on your roof system. Much of this damage is undetectable to all but the trained eye of a professional. While most new roof systems can be warrantied for up to 20 years, the reality is that most roof systems typically last about 13 years.
If you install solar on a roof that is already 10 years old without repairing/replacing the existing roof system, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The cost to remove and reinstall the solar is equal to the initial installation cost (for each instance), thereby negating the financial return the system may have originally provided. Working with your roofing and solar provider to provide a solution or “solar-ready roof” is essential to meet our sustainability goals.
mistake #3: Not Using a Single Source Roofing & Solar Provider
Making an investment in solar/roofing can be an incredible opportunity with all the incentives available. But, if the roof system and solar are not addressed at the same time and together, the risk of conflict is significant and ultimately everyone loses.
I recently spoke with a solar consultant who told me about an instance in which a company put solar on a 15-year-old TPO roof that began to leak immediately after the installation. The roofing contractor who serviced the roof placed blame on the solar installer, while the solar installer argued that the roof was shot to begin with. They were both right. There were patches all over the roof from previous repairs and you could see the TPO disintegrating from age and UV damage. The solar was ballasted and slip sheets were used, but there was damage on the roof from excessive movement during the installation. Eventually, the owner wound up in litigation.
All of this could have been avoided by using a single-source roofing and solar provider like RoofConnect. By using a single-source roofing and solar contractor who can warranty the roof and solar, you can avoid the blame game, giving you peace of mind should your roof starts to leak. It doesn’t matter why it’s leaking, whose fault it was, or what happened, your roof and solar are covered under your warranty.
When you are ready to consider solar technology, make sure to hire an experienced professional who will ensure that your solar installation is handled properly and that your roof is prepared to handle the job! The experts at RoofConnect provide top-notch commercial roofing and solar services to the entire nation. Call or email us today to learn about the benefits of bundling your roof with solar technology.