Powered roofing

Advanced Roofing helps build Miami's second-largest solar roof

  • Aerial view of solar photovoltaic panel system
  • Aerial view of solar continuous rack system
  • Workers pour lightweight insulating concrete.
  • Advanced Roofing craftsmen designed and fabricated a custom aluminum safety rail system.
  • A worker installs flashing at the top of the facility’s stairway.

When building its new headquarters on 17 acres in Miami, Costex Tractor Parts, a worldwide supplier of replacement parts for heavy machinery, made a commitment to go green. The company now has south Florida’s second-largest solar roof system with 4,000 photovoltaic panels delivering 1.6 megawatts of energy.

In 2020, Advanced Roofing Inc., Miami, partnered with Advanced Green Technologies (AGT Solar), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and general contractor Link Construction Group, Miami, to build the 90,000-square-foot, three-floor facility.

Scope of work

A key element when designing the roof system was incorporating long-term facility ownership. The building owner was considering solar panels, but preliminary plans did not include them, so Link Construction Group brought Advanced Roofing and AGT Solar onto the project team to help with the design process.

“We were engaged by the general contractor because we’ve done a lot of roofing work for them,” says Clint Sockman, vice president of AGT Solar. “We became involved in the project before designs were complete and helped wrap up the vision. The building owner was heavily involved with the design-build team and tasked us with delivering a long-term rooftop energy asset with a strong financial return. We wrote the safety equipment specifications and designed the solar roof system layout for maintaining and owning it over the course of 30 years.”

The facility is located in a High Velocity Hurricane Zone, so the team worked with solar racking manufacturers to understand where the highest-pressure zones would be and studied wind-tunnel simulations. Ultimately, the team chose a Carlisle 135-mil-thick FleeceBACK PVC membrane with Dupont® Elvaloy KEE and Canadian Solar 395- and 400-watt panels mechanically attached to a concrete deck.

“The roof and solar systems need to go hand in hand,” Sockman says. “There are a lot of synergies there, and you can get in a lot of trouble if you don’t make them work together.”

On the 182,500-square-foot roof area, the team poured lightweight insulating concrete and then adhered the membrane in foam adhesive. “That gave us a 300-psi substrate to set the solar panels on, so we didn’t have any worries about compression and wear from the solar panels,” Sockman says.

On the membrane, team members used OMG® Roofing Products PowerGrip Plus mechanical attachments to install the solar panels on a DCE Solar continuous rack system.

“It’s a combination of ballasted and mechanically attached racking,” Sockman explains. “Using DCE Solar wind-tunnel software, we were able to see the pressures on each panel, and we could move the ballast and mechanical attachments around to optimize the design.”

The Advanced Roofing team also installed 200 Sunoptics® Prismatic Skylights and custom-fabricated stainless-steel copings and gutters. To ensure the safety of team members and Costex Tractor Parts employees, Advanced Roofing craftsmen designed and fabricated a custom aluminum safety rail system anchored to the structural deck. Safety flags also were used during the project, resulting in no safety infractions.


The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 extends the federal solar investment tax credit. The legislation calls for a 10-year extension at 30% of the cost of installed equipment, stepping down to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.


The team faced procedural and technical challenges while working on the facility.

“Florida Power & Light works closely with customers and contractors to ensure safe, efficient grid interconnections for renewable generation, such as solar panels,” says Rob Kornahrens, CEO of Advanced Roofing. “A Florida Power & Light grid interconnection study for Costex Tractor Parts required upgrades. We also worked with module and racking manufacturers to communicate with the authority having jurisdiction on engineer appropriate bolted connections.”

In addition, the lighting circuits for the top floor of the warehouse are embedded and cannot be moved, requiring AGT Solar to scan the deck to identify and relocate the solar racking attachments to avoid damaging the lighting system. These issues caused a four-week delay. However, the overall project was completed on time to help the building owner secure federal solar tax credit.

PROJECT NAME: Costex Tractor Parts
PROJECT DURATION: August 2020-January 2021
ROOF SYSTEM TYPE: PVC membrane with solar photovoltaic panels
ROOFING CONTRACTOR: Advanced Roofing Inc., Miami
ROOFING MANUFACTURERS: Canadian Solar, Guelph, Ontario; Carlisle Construction Materials, Carlisle, Pa.; DCE Solar, Cornelius, N.C.; OMG® Roofing Products, Agawam, Mass.; Sunoptics Prismatic Skylights, Sacramento, Calif.

Powered up

In January 2021, the Advanced Roofing team completed the Costex Tractor Parts project. The roof system’s solar array is projected to produce 2.2 million kilowatt-hours per year, powering 90% of the building’s needs and saving $207,008 annually. The company projects it will take six years to realize a full return on investment.

“Costex Tractor Parts now has a building that not only is operationally efficient with all its resources under one roof, but it’s also making a difference toward environmental progress,” Kornahrens says. “Costex Tractor Parts serves as a beacon to other south Florida businesses to join the solar energy movement. It is a prime example of how companies can use the solar tax credit extension to make an environmental difference.

“In addition to the financial and environmental benefits are increased employee engagement and positive marketing that comes from operating as a socially responsible business with a purpose. This type of investment has a return that can’t be beat.”

CHRYSTINE ELLE HANUS is Professional Roofing’s associate editor and an NRCA director of communications.



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