Builders have known for a long time that steel is a superior choice for a wide variety of structures. The metal is affordable, durable, lightweight, and easy to maintain. A well-designed building built on a properly prepared site can last a lifetime. But what if there was a way to add even more value to a steel structure, saving money on utilities as well?
Harness the Power of Your Steel Roof
In many areas of the U.S., solar panels give you a greater ROI for your steel construction. Sunny states like California are leading the nation in terms of solar installations. However, we’re seeing a surge of interest in more northerly latitudes as well. This is true even in cloudier states like New York and Connecticut where regulations are solar-friendly. In these northern states utility companies are under pressure to incentivize renewable energy solutions. Technology is also improving at a fast clip, making solar materials more affordable. As the cost of solar goes down, it makes sense to install panels in regions where it is cloudy a lot of the year.
Depending on the usable square footage of your roof, you may save hundreds per year in electricity. This can even be the case for smaller buildings. For a larger commercial installation, the savings may run to thousands of dollars annually. Many locations also have tax credits, rebates, affordable loan or lease options. There are even other incentives to defray the cost of the panels. These change from year to year. So it pays to start researching your options as soon as possible to avoid missing out on money-saving opportunities for early adopters.
Why Steel and Solar Go Well Together
There are two main types of solar installations available on the market today. The first is the crystalline panel array. This is proven technology but installation on a traditional asphalt roof requires penetrations that cause wear and tear, increase the risk of leaks, and shorten the lifespan of the roofing material. Repairing or replacing a roof will cost more money because the panels are taken off and then reattached. Penetrations are unnecessary with a steel roof. The crystalline panels can be mounted directly to the raised ribs on the roof using brackets. Since modern solar panels and steel roofs are designed to last a very long time, combining the two systems is cost-effective.
There’s also a new solar option on the market that is specifically for steel roofs. Laminate solar panels are very lightweight and use a peel and stick method. These thin film panels have a minimal profile, which makes them a great aesthetic fit for any metal building. They can generate some electricity even on overcast days. In total, they generate about half as much electricity as crystalline panels but are extremely simple to install and maintain. In either case, steel roofing is optimally suited to supporting today’s solar technology.
Solar Energy Brings Benefits All Year
You may be wondering what happens to the value of your panels when the sun goes down. Solar energy isn’t just available to you during daylight hours. If you are generating more electricity than you can use during sunny days, it’s possible to use net metering to “bank” your unused energy as it’s generated and draw on the balance later as needed. In states like North Carolina there’s also the option of selling Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) back to the utility, turning your steel roofs into money-making machines that bring in revenue every time the sun shines.
Whether you have a new construction project in mind or want to retrofit a building with a steel roof and solar panels, give our team a call today. Let’s look at your options and find the one with the sunniest outcome for your budget!