Install Solar Panels on Roof

Are Portland Buildings Ready for Energy Independence?

Installing wind and solar without caving in your roof.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve doubtlessly heard about all the great energy innovations promised for Oregon’s biggest city. Unsurprisingly, Portland is at the forefront of the national push towards energy independence and alternative power.

Unfortunately, good intentions aren’t the only thing we’ll need to get a healthier power grid up and running. If we want to improve the way we create power, we’ll need the infrastructure to support it, and this is where Portland’s buildings come in.

Why Roofs Are So Critical

The majority of solar panels are comprised of silicon crystals in which atoms are arranged in a closely packed, regular matrix. While it’s not quite the same as a pile of sand or rocks, a typical solar panel is heavy enough to place a similar strain on your roofing.

Unfortunately, many of the classic buildings that give this city its unique flavor weren’t made for the additional load. Unlike the snow and rainwater that roofs are designed to handle, solar panels are generally permanent fixtures; unless you’re willing to climb up a ladder and take them down every night, you’re going to need to make sure your roof can support their constant weight before you shell out for an entire set.

Why not just place solar panels on stilts or lampposts? While this technique is effective for generating a small amount of power, you probably want to do more than just charge your iPhone. The amount of solar power an installation creates is directly proportional to the surface area of the solar cells, and since roofs are typically the only available source of usable real estate, it’s critical that they have the structural integrity to support an installation.

Preparing Your Roof

According to some structural experts, solar panel installations present a number of unique problems. For instance, roofing members that have undergone decay in the past may be too compromised to handle an installation safely. Similarly, roofs that were known to leak at some point in their histories should always be checked thoroughly to ensure that they haven’t sustained damage that could make solar panels dangerous. Another concern is that existing HVAC components may be installed in a hanging fashion that adds stress to rafters—you don’t want your solar installation to be the straw that suddenly breaks your roof’s back.

While many houses built after 1970 are designed to accommodate weighty loads, you should never take the newness of your property for granted. Always consult with an expert before major additions. To learn more about attaining energy independence the right way, contact Interstate Roofing. Contact us to receive a free estimate and take the next step toward achieving energy independence safely and smartly today.