The metal roofing industry offers warranties that meet or beat the warranties of the solar energy module manufacturers. Although the solar energy module manufacturers have warranties of 25 years, the service life is closer to 35 years. Metal roofing has a service life of 40+ years.
Why install solar on a roofing membrane with a service life of 15-20 years? The solar energy system at some point will have to be disconnected, removed; the roof replaced, then solar rebuilt and reconnected- adding a hefty price to the system owner down the road. Installing solar on a non metal roof involves either penetration or adding weight for a self- ballasted system. Both increase the possibility of roofing failures and can be expensive. Solar energy can be installed on metal with simple attachment solutions that do not penetrate the roof or add ballast, reducing the labor and cost of the system. Since the service life of the metal outlasts the service life of the solar energy system, installations can occur on metal roofs 8-10 years old.
Crystalline silicon modules (poly, mono or multi) are typically glass panels with a 13-18% efficiency rating that are a wonderful fit for metal roofs. Crystalline silicon modules (cSi) can maximize the energy output on a metal roof as the mounting hardware allows for these type of panels to cover more square feet of roof space. System owners typically like the fact that crystalline modules can be a mobile asset during roofing maintenance or upgrades. Crystalline modules have been manufactured in some form or another for over 50 years. Many of the crystalline manufacturers are large international companies with great financial stability and can truly stand behind a 25 year warranty.
Thin film technologies such as amorphous silicon (aSi), CIGS (copper, indium, galium, (di)selenide) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) typically have efficiencies of 5 - 10% that produce energy in low light conditions.
These modules can come in a flexible form and can be applied to curved metal panels. Thin film modules can weigh as light as 0 .7/lbs per square foot installed and can be a great solution when building structures that cannot handle additional weight.
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