02/01/2010

Rent-a-Roof Concept Partners with PV Panels

Package provides design, installation, maintenance and financing for solar roofs

By Richard L. Fricklas

 
PV panels should be positioned away from flashings and spaced for easy access.

PV panels should be positioned away from flashings and spaced for easy access. COURTESY OF PHIL DREGGER

In the late 1980s, the FJ Christiansen Roofing Co. of Milwaukee introduced an innovative leasing concept in which they would install an appropriate roof system on a building and lease the roof back to the building owner. Rather than use cash from the owner’s capital account, the roof would be expensed along with all other operating expenses on an annual basis.

This concept had many advantages. Christiansen Roofing would determine the best roof for a specific building, design it, install it, and maintain it. The firm would control new penetrations if needed for rooftop equipment, service the roof if hail damaged it, and determine when and if the roof needed to be replaced.

Building owners quickly discovered that the annual cash layout might be less than the expenses incurred when an owner must constantly make emergency repairs and/or has no reserves dedicated to roof replacement.

Today, economic conditions for building owners may be more critical than they were in the 1980s, but so are the opportunities.

Advanced Green Technologies (AGT) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, announced a program that combines the financial component of the earlier concept with a new photovoltaic (PV) component that takes into account the energy challenges we now face. Photoelectric and other solar systems can be desirable if they perform as advertised; however, putting together electrical technologies, energy rebates, durability, maintainability issues, and energy codes is daunting.

AGT has partnered with financier CTC Resources Inc. to offer financing with no down payment, 0 percent interest, and no payments for the first 3 months after installation of a roof with PV panels. If the PV system performs as expected, the new roof provides a monthly payback by reducing purchased power as well as refunds for excess power returned to the grid. Solar power may also generate carbon credits with a cash value.

Navigating the rebate market requires professional help. Financial incentives are temporary, and the design and installation of the solar roof must meet the required time limits as well as other criteria.

Most roofing professionals believe it makes little sense to install solar panels on roofs that are near the end of their lives. With the construction traffic during panel installation, as well as maintenance demands, a more heat- and puncture-resistant membrane is required.

Another consideration with PV systems is the strength of the supporting structure. In colder climates, it may be necessary to remove snowdrifts to prevent roof collapse. Snow blowers, shoveling, and the associated foot traffic may damage PV panels. The panels should be kept away from roof edges and flashings. Heavy hail (2-inch diameter and greater) can also threaten panels. Fire, hail, and wind ratings, such as those provided by UL Inc. and FM Global, need to be included during the design phase of PV systems.

All of these elements are best addressed by carefully examining the current roof system before the PV installation begins. If the current roof system does not drain well, there are a number of options: add additional roof drains, utilize a tapered roof insulation system, or even add a tapered lightweight insulating fill as part of the re-roof or re-cover process.

With creative financing, a new roof with solar panels can be affordable and desirable.

Dick Fricklas (dick@fricklas.com), educator and author, participates in roofing technology programs for the University of Wisconsin Extension Division, and assists RCI Inc. (formerly The Roof Consultants Institute) in the development of curricula for its registration programs.

 


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Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


 
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