12 Jun 4 issues to consider before installing solar panels at your business
The importance of preventive roof maintenance before going solarWith their large, open, and often flat roofs, commercial and industrial buildings are the ideal site for solar panel installation.
As commercial power bills head ever higher, businesses are following households and installing solar panelling. In fact, it’s estimated that Australian business solar installations have increased by 60 per cent during the 18 months to the end of 2017*.
It’s a positive trend that’s worth supporting. But along with this increased uptake of solar panels for facilities has come a dramatic increase in water ingress repair costs, partly caused by the many roof penetrations that are part and parcel of the solar panel installation process.
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Yet there’s no need to put off installing solar for fear of roof leaks. By proactively identifying any issues with your commercial building’s roof before installing solar panels, you can decrease the risk of water entering your building.
We asked the team of experts at R&BS to pass on their tips on the preventive roof maintenance you should think about before installing solar panelling at your facility.
1) Check for any existing roof leaks or damageOf course, once solar panels have been installed, it’s much more difficult for technicians to gain access to your business’s roof to carry out essential maintenance.
That’s why it’s a very good idea to ensure your roof is in serviceable condition – before you arrange for solar panel installation.
By attending to any outstanding maintenance issues before you have solar installed, you could potentially increase the lifespan of not only your new solar panels, but your facility itself.
2) Assess overhanging trees and foliageEven though solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to be able to work, it’s still worthwhile clearing away any overhanging trees before you have your panels installed.
That’s because trees can easily lose limbs or foliage during severe weather, potentially damaging your new investment.
What’s more, even in normal weather conditions, leaves, flowers, and other foliage dropped by trees can quite easily block your roof’s gutter and drainage, causing potential water damage during heavy rain. And if this detritus collects beneath the solar panels, again it can promote corrosion in your commercial building’s roof.
These are all good reasons to have your trees either removed or cut right back before having solar panels installed.
3) Check for loose or disused machinery on the roofOnce you’ve invested in solar panels, naturally you’ll want them to last the distance and give you the maximum ROI. That’s why it makes sense to look out for any derelict machinery lying loose on your building’s roof, such as ducts, ventilators, and even that outdoor furniture left over from last year’s Christmas party.
Though these things are ‘only’ an eyesore at the moment, in a severe weather event they can easily be transformed into a destructive missile, being blown around and damaging your new solar panels or even your business’s roof.
4) Get the right preventive maintenance for your commercial building roof materialWhether your facility has a metal, tiled, or concrete roof will affect the type of preventive maintenance it potentially requires.
For example, if your building has a metal roof, does it show signs of corrosion or oxidation? Are all roof penetrations (such as for pipework or cables) properly sealed against the weather? And is the silicone sealant sound, or has it deteriorated to the point where water could enter your building?
If you’re dealing with a concrete roof, check whether the roofing membrane is in good condition. Look for any areas of standing water that could point to a problem with the membrane. And check whether the perimeter flashings are all intact and watertight.
Lastly if you have a tiled roof, look for any broken, cracked, or missing tiles that should be replaced before solar panels are installed. Is the ridge capping in good condition or could it potentially allow water entry? You should also check that the roof’s lead flashing is in sound condition and watertight.
Whichever roof material you’re dealing with, the correct preventive maintenance can make all the difference to the longevity of both your roof and your facility after solar panel installation.
Talk to R&BS for preventive maintenance for your commercial roofBefore you commit to solar panel installation, it pays to talk to R&BS for a comprehensive roof assessment for your business or facility.
We offer your business a complimentary, no-obligation 30 minute consultation with our expert team, to discuss strategies that will help you prepare your building for solar panel installation.
* Source: ABC