With electricity costs increasing and power outages a common occurrence, installing solar power in your property is a low-risk investment with substantial returns, especially for high day-time energy users. Christopher Knight, technical marketing officer at Safal Steel, a manufacturer of coated steel, says solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is expected to be the fastest-growing renewable technology for 2022.
“Whether installing PV panels on a metal roof during the building stage or retrofitting them to your property later. It is a perfect combination of material and function due to the ease of installation, as well as the roof life expectancy and reduced roof surface temperature improving PV module performance. PV panels can be bought outright, or on rent-to-own models that can be installed on all building types; residential, commercial, industrial and farm buildings,” says Knight.
With a simple maintenance and cleaning schedule, the roof system with PV panels can function optimally.
The typical expected warranty on a steel roof of 20 to 30 years is the same as that of standard PV panels, depending on the location, and the roof / PV panel system, ensuring that the system does not have to be disassembled during its working life.
Panels can be installed using clamps with zero roof penetration to preserve warranties on concealed fix roofing systems (if maintenance is performed and recorded) that ensures no leakages, even decades later.
Panels keep the metal roof cooler by shading it and creating a convective plenum, which further cools the roof, drawing air into the gap between the panel and roof sheet.
Pitfalls when installing PV panels on a metal roof may include:
• Metallic compatibility of the PV frame (aluminium usually) and roof coating needs to be considered.
• Galvanised material reacts with Aluminium when Aluminium drips onto it, therefore it is advisable to utilise Zincal®, an aluminium-zinc coated roof, to prevent a bi-metallic reaction and premature corrosion.
• Unpainted Zincal® is preferred to a factory pre-painted sheet, as water dripping off the panel during rain, dew or cleaning procedures may form pools, causing the colour coating to prematurely deteriorate. PV panels will largely obscure the roof colour.
• Whether mounted directly onto the sheeting or on racks, spaces should be left between double rows of panels to allow cleaning and maintenance access.
A free CPD presentation on PV panels and steel roofing is available for architects, while a CPD presentation on wind loading is available for engineers. For advice or a free copy, contact Christopher Knight on the details below.
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