So your business has decided to start using solar power to operate? Congratulations! You’re on the leading edge of what will become the standard commercial power source.
However, you may want to take a look at the existing roof condition before you begin installing the solar panels on the roof. If your roof is starting to show some wear and tear, it may be a good idea to go ahead and replace it. Read on to learn more about why commercial roof replacement is a good idea before solar panel installation.
When you’re deciding whether to replace your roof before installing solar panels, the first thing you’ll need to consider is what your roof is made of. Different roofing materials last longer than other. You may also have to pay extra for special clips to install solar panels on certain roofing materials.
One of the most common commercial roofing materials is called a built-up roofing (BUR) membrane. Flat roofs made with tar and gravel fall under this category. On average BUR membrane roofs have a lifespan of fifteen to thirty years.
Metal and modified bitumen roofing are also popular options in commercial construction. Metal roofs can last upwards of a century, and modified bitumen roofs last about two decades. Single ply roof membranes (TPO, PVC, etc.) and green roofing are also popular among more eco-conscious businesses and will last up to thirty years.
Once you’ve figured out what type of material your roof is made from, it’s time to start looking at when it was installed. You don’t want to install solar panels on a roof that will have to be replaced in another year. It’s worth the added investment now to address the waterproofing of the existing roof before installing in a long-term solar system on your roof.
Take a look at how much money your business will save by having solar panels during the rest of your roof’s lifespan. Then figure out how much it will cost to refit the panels during a later roof replacement. If the cost of refitting the solar panels is more than the amount you’ll have saved by the time that has to happen, it’s worth it to replace them now.
You will also need to take a look at what condition your roof is in before your solar panels arrive. Roofing lifespans are just estimates and will depend a lot on what your roof is exposed to. If a natural disaster comes through your area and pulls half your roofing off, it won’t matter if you have twenty years left in the estimated lifespan.
Remember, when you install solar panels, you’re adding extra weight onto your roof. Consult with construction professionals to ensure the roof foundation is sound and capable of support the added weight. The last thing you want is the need to remove your solar panels after installation because of a structual foundation issue.
When you’re inspecting your roof, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep an eye out for. Look for loose tiles or shingles or tar layers that are peeling back. You should also keep an eye out for loose gravel, loose screws, or other breaches in your roofing material.
Keep an eye out for any standing water on your roof and if you find any, look for water damage. Get into the attic of your building and look for any water or structural damage there. Mold, mildew, rust, or damaged supports are all red flags.
One of the factors you’ll need to consider when deciding when you want to replace your roof is how long your business will have to be closed. In general, it takes two to three weeks to replace a roof. If you close your business during your solar panel installation without replacing your roof, you’ll have to shut down for even longer at a later date when you replace the roof.
Finding a company you can rely on to install your solar panels can be hard work. You have to compare prices, check experience, ask about licensing, and so on and so forth. Why would you do all that work twice if you can get one company to handle your roof replacement and your solar panel installation?
A full-service company can handle every aspect of your new roof situation from inspection to final checks. You won’t have to coordinate getting two companies to work around each other’s schedules, ensuring your business can reopen as soon as possible. And you’ll be certain that your solar panels are installed in a way designed to work with your new roof.
If you’re planning on replacing your roof and installing solar panels, you may want to consider photovoltaic roofing. This material looks like normal shingles or tiles but function as solar panels. They’re on the cutting edge of green roofing and they could shave a few days off your installation time.
If replacing your roof isn’t an option, you can also consider using ground-mounted solar panels. The trick with this is finding a place that gives you enough space to get the power you need. You need a large south-facing area, and in a city, that may not be a practical option.
Solar panels can be a great way to save money on electricity costs and increase your company’s green presence all in one go. But if you’re going to all the trouble of having solar panels installed, it may be worth it to consider a commercial roof replacement at the same time. In the long run this could save you money and help you avoid long closures.
If you’d like to get started on your new solar roof, check out the rest of our site at HP Roofing Pro. We can handle everything from roofing repair and replacement to solar panel installation. Contact us today to get started on your company’s next building upgrade.
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