If you’re the owner of a flat-roofed commercial building, you might well be wondering whether solar panels could help save you money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint. While the short answer is yes, here’s a closer look at the in’s and outs of solar systems mounted on flat roofs:
Can a flat roof solar system be as efficient as one on a pitched roof?
The answer might actually surprise you: solar panels installed on a flat roof might actually be more efficient than those installed on a sloped roof, and here’s why:
With a flat roof, your solar panels can be installed at the optimal tilt and orientation, since there are no restrictions due to an existing slope, and the better their position, the more electricity they’ll generate and the more savings you’ll make on your monthly energy bill.
Tilting solar panels can have benefits that extend beyond efficiency though, and some manufacturers require that the panels be tilted to a minimum degree for their warranty to be valid, as water can pool on them and cause problems. Not only that, but snow will easily slip off of tilted panels, allowing them to continue working at their optimum even the colder months.
Are there any risks associated with solar panels on a flat roof?
There aren’t many, but should your solar panels have to be mounted by penetrating the flat roof, there is a slight risk of leaks and other related issues. This is rarely a significant cause for concern, though.
One issue that can arise, is if a solar panel system is installed on a flat roof that hasn’t been properly assessed, it may not be able to take the weight. Before your solar system is installed, you must ask a structural engineer to analyze the design of the solar system and check your roof’s structure to see if it’s capable of withstanding the weight without collapsing.
What’s also worth considering is whether there is any other heavy equipment already on your flat roof, such as HVAC units. The solar panels will need to be placed in a way that doesn’t block or hinder existing mechanical equipment, and the additional weight will also have to be accounted for.
Can a solar system on a flat roof save your company money?
Solar panels installation on the flat roof of a commercial building can be extremely effective, and depending on the specifics of your roof, can be installed with little to no roof penetrations, and be laid out in a way that optimizes the production of free electricity. Helping you significantly lower your electricity bill, cut operating costs and free up more capital to improve your business, solar panels on a flat roof are absolutely worth the investment.
If you’re a business owner seeking to reduce your overheads by any means possible, start by having solar panels installed. Even if your premises has a flat roof, this need not prevent you from tapping into the free energy provided by the sun, and you could end up saving huge amounts on your energy bills.