There are different kinds of solar panels with multiple installation methods, but they all have a common goal: Reduce utility bills, and lessen the reliance on fossil fuels – thereby protecting the environment at the same time. It seems like the ultimate two-for, but many residential and business customers balk at solar panel installation because of the overall perceived expense.
But did you know the cost to manufacture and install solar panels is rapidly dropping? Or that improvements in battery design mean longer-lasting storage of solar-generated energy, even during cloudy days or in full darkness? All of this means solar-generated power is finally becoming more affordable, especially when talking about calculating costs of ballasted solar panels for flat roof installations.
Here are some interesting facts from the Solar Energy Industries Association to consider:
- There is enough accumulated solar power in the U.S. to power nearly 5 million households.
- The cost to install ballasted solar panels for flat roofs, as well as other methods, has dropped by more than 73 percent since 2006.
- Residential utility costs, when factoring in solar, has dropped by 45 percent since 2010.
Add it all up, and it has never been a better time to install ballasted solar panels for flat roofs, as long as you understand the benefits and how to calculate related expenses.
The Benefits of Ballasted Solar Panels for Flat Roofs
While flat roofs present challenges for architects, builders, and residential or business owners, they are nearly ideal when it comes to installing ballasted solar panels. Some of the primary benefits of flat roofs when placing solar panels are ease of installation, lower costs, and the ability to easily deflect high winds and other environmental forces.
Factors to Think of Before Installation
If you are planning on installing ballasted solar panels on a flat roof, it is critical that you consider the many factors affecting the outcome – the most important of which may be roof wind zones. According to the Structural Engineers Association of California, and The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, there are three wind zones on a flat roof that could affect solar panel structural integrity: The interior, the edge, and the corner. Panels must be installed to accommodate wind flow in each of these zones, while the materials used need to withstand other forces of nature, such as rain, heat, and extreme cold.
Estimating the effect of wind load on solar panels, the roof, and the rest of the structure can be accomplished through manual computations, but the process is simpler and less error prone when using solar panel calculation software that complies with specifications from The American Society of Civil Engineers.