Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) Solar Installations
Bothwell Accurate Roofing is an established commercial/industrial roofing company with more than 83 years of trusted and quality workmanship. We have completed over an astounding 40,000 jobs to date, providing our clients with new roofs, re-roofs, maintenance and repairs. As roofing specialists our main concern is the stability and functionality of our customer’s roofs. So with the emergence of the FIT program in Ontario and a relatively new and unknown market developing in rooftop PV solar installations, we feel the need to inform and caution the industry, and additionally our customers on the benefits as well as the risks involved in this new market.
Before installing a rooftop PV solar array there are several considerations that need to be examined. The following is a list of some of these considerations:
Current Rooftop Condition
Have a qualified roofing consultant, or your current roofer examine the roof as repairs may need to take place before the array is installed.
The age of the roof must be determined as a solar array system will last from 20-25 years and should not outlive the roofing system. It is recommended to not install a system on a roof any older than 5 years of age.
Be sure to contact your roofer as most will not uphold a roof warranty once another contractor has installed or been active on the rooftop without their presence or approval. Also make sure that the manufacturer of your roofing membrane has been contacted and is active in the installation to insure that any warranty is not voided by the install. Currently depending on the manufacturer extra roof protection as well as pre and post site visits must take place in order for your manufacturer’s warranty to remain intact.
Make sure that whoever your solar provider is, that they are working together with a qualified roofing consultant to ensure that the roof is in adequate condition for a solar installation and that the integrity of the roof is maintained.
Racking and Maintenance
A solar array system will require maintenance and repair which increases foot traffic on your roof so make sure that walkways are installed to ensure that the roof is not damaged by this extra activity. It is also important to carefully examine the racking that is going to be placed on your roof as shifting from wind, temperature fluctuations and other dynamic loads can wear on and/or damage your roof membrane. BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaic) solar modules which adhere directly to the roof surface are at this time not recommended by Bothwell Accurate as they can dramatically increase the temperature of the roof membrane and can cause delamination. This is very detrimental as most roof top membrane failure can be attributed to increased temperatures, as heat combined with oxygen creates a chemical breakdown in the membrane product.
Leasing your Rooftop Space
When you lease a section of your roof you effectively lose control over what happens to it, weigh the positives and negatives of this decision carefully. Ask your reputable solar provider who will be responsible for repairs, as well as the cost of removing and reinstalling the array should a significant repair or membrane replacement be needed. Also inquire as to who will be responsible for any business down time that may occur should a serious roof issue (roof collapse or severe leak) occur. Ask your provider who will be contracted to repair and care for your roof and make sure that the company selected is an approved contractor for your roof system. Be a responsible building owner and carefully research your solar provider to ensure that in the 20 years to come they will be able to care for that leased roof space as needed.
Make sure you speak to your insurance provider regarding your buildings insurance and inquire if your current plan would cover repairs or downtime cause by failure or damage to the building/roof that may be caused by the array. If your current coverage is not adequate discuss if your agent can provide you with extra insurance for such possible incidents. If you are leasing out your roof top, ask your solar provider if they have adequate insurance coverage for installations, project development, operation and/or manufacturing as well as any serious damages or business operation down time that may occur due to the array.
Depending on the type of structure, geographic location and usage, buildings are constructed to withstand different combined loads. A qualified structural engineer licensed to practice in Ontario must assess the building and determine a design load for the installation. It is equally important to have a qualified electrical engineer approve the array design and materials to ensure that components are installed correctly.
Putting a PV solar array on your roof top can help you pay for roofing expenses as well as contribute to a greener landscape for future generations. If done properly with the right team and trusted contractors you can be sure that a rooftop solar array will be a positive step forward. Should you be interested in a rooftop PV solar array and have questions about how it will affect your roof feel free to contact us at any time, we can help you with any of the following.
- Locating a qualified roofing consultant to provide you with recommendations about your roof.
- Professional opinions on how a specified racking system will affect your current rooftop system.
- Roofing warranties and how to keep them intact.
- Information pertaining to professional roofing practices and solar installation guidelines being formulated by the CRCA (Canadian Roofing Contractors Association).
- If you have decided to purchase an array and not lease your rooftop, Bothwell Accurate in co-operation with Smith and Long Electric offers installation and design of PV Solar array systems.
Please contact us directly for further information:
Bothwell AccurateGeorge Vassallo - President and Owner 905-673-0615 ext:249
Krystal Vassallo - Solar Liaison 905-673-0615 ext:248
William Boyko - Sales/Marketing Mgr 905-673-0615 ext:22
Kyle Merstorf - Re-roof estimator 905-673-0615 ext:229
Smith and Long Ltd.Robert Riopelle - President 416-391-0443