The growth of rooftop photovoltaics (PV) has exploded over the past few years, aided by incentive programs, technological improvements, and the need for alternative sources of energy. Rooftops can be an excellent place to install PV because they are usually unused and unobstructed spaces. But utilizing a rooftop to locate PV is not without its risks – one of which is the potential to compromise the integrity of a critical component of the building envelope: the waterproof barrier that is the roofing system.
PV and roofing systems that have been effectively integrated will work in harmony to provide clean energy, savings in energy costs, and protect the building and its contents for many years. It is important for a building owner to be aware of all the elements to consider when selecting a roofing system to go under a rooftop PV system. Examples of some issues include foot traffic, roof access for repairs, access for fire fighters, access for HVAC service, excess heat impacts on the roof, weight, snow and seismic loads, fire ratings, wind, hail resistance, drainage, and building codes.
A poorly designed and improperly matched roof system is a candidate for failure, and can lead to damage to a building and its contents and possible premature removal of a PV system for repair and/or replacement of the roof.
The best single-ply roofing systems are those that are able to integrate with virtually any type of PV system and mounting method, and provide years of leak-free performance while the PV system is generating power. You can learn more about what it takes for a roofing system to be “solar-ready” by downloading our “solar-ready” roofing system flyer.