Interest in site-specific electricity generation has increased significantly during the past few years through federal and local incentives and an increased demand for energy efficiency and reduced energy costs. And one way to achieve site-specific electricity generation is through roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system installations.
However, homeowners and building owners who are interested in rooftop electricity generation often overlook the need for an appropriate substrate that will provide equivalent service life for the roof-mounted PV system. Many existing roof systems are not adequate to provide a substrate for the expected life of roof-mounted PV modules, which could last as long as 30 years.
A typical roof system may not be designed to take the abuses inherent with the installation of rooftop equipment of any kind. Worker traffic, using the roof surface as a work platform, additional load on the roof structure, drainage and the possibility of ponding water are concerns when adding any type of rooftop equipment. When a roof-mounted PV system is installed, these same concerns need to be assessed and resolved appropriately on a project-by-project basis. In addition, there are concerns specific to PV system installation that need to be addressed.
Equivalent service life between a PV system and its substrate is important not only to the PV system's success but also to the roof system's success. And let's not forget, the primary purpose of a roof system is to weatherproof a building. If weatherproofing is compromised, electricity generation likely will lose its appeal. Building owners and homeowners may not recognize the need for a new roof system or the benefits a new roof system can provide when partnered with a PV system.