Do Solar Panels Compromise Building Integrity?

June 11, 2016

If you’re an owner of a building that is being considered for solar power production, you might be concerned about the hardware that will be installed on the roof. You might wonder if the solar panel weight and sizeable footprint will adversely affect the structure onto which it will be installed. Are the buildings joists and supporting frame capable of dealing with this new equipment? Will there be ‘settling’ over time, changing how the structure sits on the ground?

The short answer to these questions is no. Even though a small residential building might undergo an installation of – let’s say – 10 solar panel modules, the net weight of the entire lot of panels would be somewhere around 400 pounds. Add to this any cable/routing hardware weight and allowances for mounting equipment and you’re looking at a total installed system weight of under 500 pounds. If that entire weight were to be focused onto a very small area, that might be capable of doing damage to a roof, however a professionally installed solar power system is going to take full advantage of a building’s existing infrastructure to safely use anchor points along the roof that provide the maximum level of load-bearing support.

Some older buildings might have structural issues that need to be attended to before a solar power system can be installed. In these situations, it’s a good idea to have an on-site evaluation conducted by Urban Solar or a professional engineer, or both. Often times what appears to be a significant installation hurdle can be addressed with a common sense approach to building preparation. Other times, significant restoration may be needed before a solar power system can be safely installed. Solar power technicians with appropriate industry expertise and relevant certifications will know what to look out for as potential hazards during an otherwise routine system installation.

Depending on the style of roof on your particular building and the space available for installation, the location and size of the panels best for you will vary. Contact us at Urban Solar now so we can schedule your complimentary energy assessment, which will answer these and any other questions you might have about adding solar power to your home or business.