With prices on just about anything at all-time highs, especially here in Los Angeles, CA. People are looking for alternative ways to supply energy to their homes and businesses. One popular way that has been gaining ground for years is Solar Panels. And why not? they offer plenty of great benefits.
With more and more businesses going solar on their flat roofs, business owners and property managers may not be aware of the roof issues that can occur after a solar panel installation. The problem is that most flat roofs or roofs in general, are not designed to be energy conductors, and without proper planning and installation, this investment may end up costing a whole lot more than you bargained for. If you’re considering solar panels on your roof, here are the Top 5 Flat Roof Issues That Occur After Solar Panel Installation.
#1 Roof Leaks
Flat Roofs by nature already have issues with ponding and water drainage but adding solar panels to the roof can exacerbate those issues over time. With the disruption of water flow not properly draining the roof, roof leaks can occur. This makes installing solar panels CORRECTLY crucial to the health of the roof. But even if the solar panels are installed correctly, water leakage can still occur in the areas where the panels were attached and bolted onto the flat roof. Frequent roof inspections and routine maintenance will have to be part of your plan to prevent costly commercial roof repairs if left neglected.
#2 Roof Age
Solar Panels just like roofs do not last forever. The estimated lifespan for solar panels is about 25 to 30 years which is roughly about the same as whichever commercial roofing system is installed on a flat roof. If the roof is already a few years old once you install solar panels, somewhere down the line the roof is going to need replacement before the solar panels will. If that does happen, then the cost to have the solar removed and reinstalled for a roof replacement will negate the energy savings that the solar panels provide. It is highly recommended that if you’re getting solar panels installed that you contact a trusted commercial roofer to at the very least check out the condition of your roof before solar panel installation.
#3 Roof Strength
Another reason why you’d want to have a commercial roofer check out your flat roof before solar panel installation is because of the weight of the solar panels. Each solar panel weighs about 40 pounds each not including the weight of the metal brackets that attach them to the roof. Most roofs and flat roofs specifically are not designed to bear this type of additional weight. Luckily though any legitimate solar panel installation company will have a structural engineer assess the roof and if the flat roof does not meet the structural requirements necessary for installation, the solar company will not install the solar panels on the roof.
#4 Roof Nests
Solar panels can create the perfect living conditions for birds and other animals looking for a safe home from ground predators. The space between the solar panels on your flat roof creates the perfect nesting place for these animals. It’s important to do a visual check of the roof to see if any of these nests are on your roof and have a pest removal company remove them if you do see nests.
#5 Roof Warranties
Commercial Flat Roof Warranties are one of the important things to research before the installation of solar panels. There are generally two types of warranties that commercial roofers provide and having solar panels installed without consulting the roofer who installed the roof first may void the warranty entirely. Definitely not something you want to do, so due diligence comes a long way here.
Solar Panels are a great option for energy savings but it’s important to do the research before making a decision on your flat roof. Weigh all the options and speak to a licensed commercial roofer who specializes in flat roofs.
Andres is the Marketing Director at Central Roofing Company. He writes about commercial roofing, cool roofs, and everything else roofing related.