Over the past several years, we have witnessed a sharp increase in the popularity and adaptation of solar power systems in the United States. This is due to a combination of several factors:
- Rising inflation has driven the cost of utilities ever higher and many business owners and CFOs are scrambling to find new avenues to help reduce the overall cost of utilities.
- Other companies may be looking at ways to reduce their overall carbon footprint and enhance their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scores.
- Government incentives and policy initiatives, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, have introduced compelling incentives for companies contemplating the adoption of clean energy solutions.
The convergence of these factors underscores the need for business owners and facility managers to consider integrating solar power systems into their energy strategies. Embracing solar energy not only offers potential cost savings but also aligns with environmental and regulatory objectives, positioning businesses for a more resilient and sustainable future.
Contemplating the installation of a solar power system for your facility? Before you make the leap, it’s crucial to evaluate the suitability of your roof for this transformative venture. Solar panels represent a significant investment that can yield substantial savings on your energy bills while bolstering your sustainability efforts. Nevertheless, a roof ill-suited for solar or one that lacks proper maintenance can introduce complexities and additional expenses into the equation. In this article, we’ll assist you in ascertaining the readiness of your roof for solar deployment and outline important considerations to ensure a seamless solar panel installation.
Roof Age and Condition: The first thing to consider with solar installations is the age and condition of your roof. Solar panels are designed to last for decades, typically 25 to 30 years or more, whereas the average lifespan of a commercial roof system is only twelve to fifteen years. It is imperative that the existing roof system was installed properly, and that annual routine maintenance has been performed. Solar panel installations may require making penetrations in the roof, and any pre-existing issues can lead to leaks and further damage, so it’s imperative that repairs are performed beforehand.
Roof Structural Integrity: Solar panels are heavy, and the integrity of your roof’s structure is crucial for a successful solar installation. Before investing in solar, hire a structural engineer or a solar professional to assess your roof’s load-bearing capacity. The assessment will ensure that your roof can handle the added weight of the solar panels without any safety concerns.
Roof Material: Most roofing materials can accommodate the installation of solar panels, but some are more suitable than others. Metal, single-ply, and liquid-applied roof systems are more commonly used with solar installations. White reflective roof systems and coatings have two distinctive advantages over other systems. First, these systems are highly reflective and can help maximize the capabilities of your solar installation and second, white reflective roofs also reflect heat, which helps keep your building cooler and reduces the amount of energy needed to cool it!
Panel Orientation and Sunlight Exposure: In North America, the sun passes from East to West across the southern half of the sky, so your solar panels should be oriented to the south as well, as it receives the most sunlight throughout the day. This isn’t much of an issue with most flat commercial roofs, as the panels can be installed to face in any direction. Additionally, be sure to check for any shading caused by trees, buildings, or other obstructions. Limited sunlight exposure can diminish the efficiency of your solar panels.
Work With the Experts: Rooftop solar installations represent a significant investment. It is imperative that you partner with a trusted, professional solar integrator who will guide you through the entire process and help you avoid expensive pitfalls along the way. Throughout the entire process, a professional solar integrator should be able to perform all of the following:
- Ability to analyze existing power needs.
- Engineer a custom-designed system to best suit your specific power requirements.
- Manage procurement and installation of your solar power system.
- Offer the capability to monitor the power generation of the solar installation.
- Maintain the installation to ensure maximum efficiency.
By following these simple recommendations, you can avoid the additional costs associated with making additional repairs or replacing the existing roof after solar has been installed and allow you to enjoy the benefits of clean, sustainable energy for years to come!
If you’re ready to begin the journey toward energy independence, contact the professionals at SolarConnect, a trusted national commercial solar integrator, who can answer all of your questions and guide you through each step of the project, from energy assessments and financing to designing, procurement, and installation of your new solar power system! Call today!