If you're looking for clean energy to help your business save money on utility bills and meet green goals, then installing solar panels to capture free energy from the sun can be a good investment. Before spending thousands of dollars on a system, however, you must make sure your roof is prepared to handle the demands the solar panels will put on it. Here are two things you should consider.
The Lifespan of Your Roof
To minimize the risk of having to pay removal and reinstallation costs multiple times down the road, match the lifespan of the solar panels to your roof's life expectancy as closely as possible. For instance, solar panels can last up to 30 years. If you will be replacing your roof at the same time, get a material that will last at least that long.
For instance, asphalt shingles will last 20 to 40 years, depending on quality and environmental elements. While it's possible the roof may last as long as your solar panels, there's a chance it may need to be replaced before your panels do. It's probably a good idea to go with a material that's a little sturdier. For instance, a metal roof will last 50 years or more.
You may also want to put off installing a solar panel system if you'll be replacing your roof in a few years time, since you'll end up having to remove and reinstall the system soon after to accommodate the installation of the new roof. The costs of doing so may wipe out any savings you enjoyed for the few years you had the panels on the roof.
If you're not installing a new roof and your current roof still has a couple of decades of life, then add the price of removing and reinstalling the solar panels to your cost assessment if you expect you'll need to replace the roof before you have to replace the panels. This will provide you with a more accurate idea of the total cost of investing in the system, which will help you make the right financial decisions for your business.
Water Pooling Problems
Solar panels actually work just as well on flat roofs as they do on slanted ones. In fact, a flat roof may be better, because you can more easily adjust the tilt on the panels to capture the most light, whereas you may not have as much flexibility with a sloped roof.
However, flat roofs are prone to having issues with water pooling in one or more places due to a variety of issues, including inadequate draining and pitch. This can significantly reduce the lifespan of your solar panels if they are located in an area that ponds water. The material may rust or wear out faster, the panels may not capture as much energy if the water gets high enough to completely submerge them, and/or the standing water coupled with the weight of the solar panels may cause the roof to degrade faster.
The panels themselves may worsen a ponding issue because the equipment may unintentionally block drains. If the panels are not installed correctly, the standing water may turn into leaks as the fluid slips through holes and cracks caused by poor workmanship.
Doing roof repairs will be much more difficult once the solar panels are installed. Therefore, it's essential that you make the necessary repairs for ponding water issues before putting them in. This may involve something as simple as clearing drains or as extensive as adjusting the roof's pitch to ensure the water flows away correctly.
All in all, installing solar panels will likely be a good investment that helps your company save money and become more environmentally friendly. For more information on preparing your roof for solar panels, contact a commercial roofing contractor, such as those at Central States Roofing.