Many of our clients have been considering the addition of solar panels to roofs to either generate electricity or make hot water. Several things to consider before adding a solar panel system to your building are:
1. Can the roof support the extra weight of the solar panels as well as resist the associated additional wind forces? Some solar arrays are ballasted (weighted down) and rest on the roof, which can be quite heavy and overload the roof.
2. Will the solar panel attachments penetrate the roof membrane/material and be properly sealed to prevent leaks?
3. How difficult will it be to replace the roof membrane after the panels are installed? What will be the cost of disassembly and moving the panels, when the roof needs to be replaced or patched?
4. What maintenance or cleaning is required of the panels and is there adequate access to allow for the required maintenance?
5. Will the building safely support the hot water tank required? These can have a large capacity and be very heavy.