Teamwork overcomes obstacles

With over 60 installations under our belts, you would think that we’ve come across most types of Solar PV installation and that the majority of installations have become fairly standard.  And you be right to an extent, most domestic installations are similar whereas larger commercial projects occasionally throw in a few challenges.  However, this week brought it home to me that there are always exceptions to this and how we are able to work as part of a wider team when necessary to find the right solution for our customers.

 

We are currently working on a project for a domestic customer who is having their home extended and fully refurbished.  They’ve actually moved out whilst work is carried out as the works are extensive.  We are going to be installing a Solar PV system as well as all the electrics (www.morganselectrical.com).  Having looked at all the options for their Solar PV system it was agreed with the home owner that the best place for it was two flat roof areas on top of two new dorma windows. 

 

When we install solar panels on a flat roof there are a number of considerations. Flat roof systems are never quite as easy as a pitched roof installation because we have to consider how the solar panels will be anchored to the roof.  It’s not as simple as bolting the frames down to the roof because we would penetrate the roof membrane which then requires some method of waterproofing.  It was agreed at a site meeting with the home owner, the builder and the roofing contractor that this was not an option for our current project. So, the alternative is to hold the panels to the roof using ballast i.e. concrete slabs.

 

The ballast must be sufficient to stop the panels being lifted by the wind and potentially blowing off the roof! We also have to consider whether the panels might slide off the roof under to force of wind, particularly where there is no parapet wall round the edge of the roo, as in this case.  But, on the other hand the roof has to be strong enough to take the weight of the additional load imposed by the concrete slabs.  So it’s something that must be carefully calculated by a professional.  Thankfully, we have Keith Rawlings,  Structural Engineer (http://www.rawlings.uk.net/) to help us with this and I can’t thank Keith enough for his fantastic support.  When it comes to building projects, decisions often have to be made quickly and Keith always helps us find the right solution quickly. 

 

In the end, the solution was simple.  The panels will be held down with concrete slabs, in the knowledge that the roof structure is suitable to take the weight and the roofing contractor is going to fix a curb under the roof membrane to stop the panels sliding.

 

So this week has been spent liaising between the home owner, Keith, the builder and the roofing contractor to get a place where we are all happy with how the Solar panels will be anchored to the roof … teamwork can always overcome any obstacles!

 

If you’re interested in Solar Panels for your home but don’t know whether your roof is suitable, why not call us for a free survey and quotation – we’ll go the extra mile to make sure we find the right solution for you but we’ll also tell you if your home is not suitable.