Last time we discussed a bit about solar energy and the impact that it could have on your roof. The bottom line is the fact that, traditionally in our area of New Jersey, solar panels are mounted on the roof of both residential and commercial buildings. This can create some additional considerations if you decide to add solar power to your building infrastructure. There are definite advantages to installing a solar power system as well as some disadvantages.
Is Your Commercial Roof Right For Solar?
At S&S Roofing, we can help you determine if your commercial roof is the right fit for an elaborate solar array. Solar panels are permanently mounted to the roof of your building and this means that your roof must be in optimal shape to accept additional weight and use. Our recommendation is generally to begin with a thorough inspection and, based on your budget, make the necessary repairs before you commit to adding solar on your commercial roof. As solar panels are generally permanently mounted, your roof must be properly sealed and in good shape before installation.
Depending on the type of roof you have on your building, such as a flat roof or a sloped roof, great consideration must be taken to ensure that you will not have problems after installation. For a flat roof we would recommend our Liquid Applied Roofing System. This green technology is ideal for long term use like solar panel installation. Liquid roofing technology is a complex roofing system utilizing reinforcing materials and liquid coating to seal the roof. This system is able to be applied over existing roofing and, due to its low maintenance requirements ideal for putting down under solar panels, particularly if you have a metal roof on your building.
Once solar panels are mounted, maintenance on your roof will be much more difficult and for this reason we can’t stress enough that your roof is in good condition before installation. You must either remove the solar panels or work around them, which is not always possible. But for all of the potentially negative effects on your roof, solar, once installed is relatively unobtrusive and will actually protect your roof from the elements, as the solar panels take the brunt of the weather.
You have probably seen the solar panels popping up on buildings throughout the East Coast. In fact, New Jersey is 5th in the nation when it comes to solar power usage and is considered an early adopter of the technology. While the actual energy produced from solar is still relatively low at this point, solar is the wave of the future. Sure, there have always been solar panels around but they are not as effective as they are becoming. In the next 20 years solar is going to be much more prominent in our lives.
You may wonder why the solar revolution has not caught on more at this point, and that is due to the limited technology of energy storage. Basically, the solar panels do a good job creating energy from the sun, but it must be usable energy and batteries are the only way to facilitate that. If you think about it, we use the most energy at night, when there is no sun, this tends to hamper the production of energy from a solar panel. The way solar panels work is they collect light from the sun and convert it into energy. As you can imagine, if that power is not stored, it will be wasted. Many times businesses that rely on solar energy are also hooked into the general power grid in which they can actually sell surplus energy back to the grid at large.
The incredible advances in battery technology over the past 40 years or so has opened up new possibilities for solar power. We can now store energy and it will be usable on demand. Battery storage tends to be expensive but dropping in price every year, as is the case with almost all solar technology. Batteries are mounted in your basement or another out of the way room, as they require very little maintenance. Generally, the electricity generated from the solar panels is DC current which, in order to be usable, must be converted into AC power. This generally requires a power inverter to be mounted between the panels and the battery.
Simple and Elegant Solar
Solar is so simple that it is really a no-brainer when it comes to saving energy. If you think your business or home could benefit from solar now might be the time to adopt this environmentally friendly technology. As we mentioned before, be sure and contact S&S Roofing to ensure that your roof is able to handle a solar power system. Please contact us today and we can help you decide which direction to go.