Category: Finance and Asset Management
When deploying rooftop PV it is important to consider the quality and longevity of the underlying asset, the roof itself. Many roofing systems expire long before the life of the PV system is up, leading to costly disassembly of the PV array, re-roofing, and reassembly. All of this can be avoided by responsibly mounting to a roof with a 60+ year service life-- a standing seam metal roof (SSMR). Even when considering the solar + roof initial costs the metal solar roof is less expensive. Factor in the price of re-roofing an inferior roof type and the choice is a no-brainer.
Looking at the complete picture when completing ROI analyses should bring to light the roof replacement costs. This should be taken into account when considering ROI in order to get an accurate picture of the real lifetime cost of the system. But, these roof replacement costs can be avoided when the roof is SSMR because of its exceptional service life. Membrane roof types and asphalt shingle don’t have a life expectancy that exceed the life of the PV system. This leads to decommissioning of systems, reroofing, and recommissioning. These additional costs can be devastating to the building owner. The cost of a SSMR may be slightly more than a membrane roof initially, but the installed cost (PV + roof) is less for the metal roof. Even without factoring in reroofing, a brand-new solarized metal roof is less expensive.
Understanding the expected life of various roof types allows the target audience (building owners or EPC’s) to make an informed decision and a present a compelling case for mounting rooftop PV atop metal leading to a quicker more lucrative ROI than other roof types. As the industry matures it is important to educate on all aspects of solar implementation. Understanding and respecting the roof is an important and often overlooked factor in ROI. Systems that are deployed on older, non-metal roofs that don’t have much service life left gives a black eye to the industry and makes the real cost of solar much higher. The service life of a SSMR is so greatly in excess of the PV system that even a 30 year old SSMR is an excellent candidate for PV. The last thing a building owner investing in PV needs is additional, unforseen costs that could hinder their cash flows through the life of the PV system.
Nikolaus Holley– Product Development Manager, S-5!