Everyone wants to “have it all”. It is in our nature to want the best of all worlds. Unfortunately, we usually have “pick or choose” options. Such is not the case when it comes to generating electricity via solar power while increasing energy savings.
While neither solar power nor roof coatings are new to the market, we have not seen much activity or marketing of combining the two together. How would that work out? Let’s look at what we know.
Solar power panels have come a long way over the years. From the initial heavy clunky panels to the development of solar roofs, where the photovoltaic cells are built directly into roofing materials, solar keeps getting better.
In 1954, solar power efficiency was around 6%. New technology has increased efficiency near 40% in some of the highest-efficient designs!
Cost is dropping phenomenally as well. In fact, the price of solar has dropped 70% just since 2010! For the first time, solar power is reasonably priced for many residential or commercial buyers.
The U.S. has enough solar power installed to meet the electricity needs for over 12.3 million homes, yet solar energy only accounts for 1.6% of the electricity generated annually. There is HUGE potential in this market, and the demand is there.
Residential roofing not your focus? Then you might be interested in knowing that the SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) recently reported U.S. corporate solar investment increased more than 20-fold since 2010. Corporate giants like Apple and Amazon are leading the charge, but good marketing, with sound data supporting it, can make a strong argument that solar is a good investment even for the smaller mom-and-pop owned commercial building.
Roof Coatings or Membranes
We all know (or should know) about the heat-reflecting properties of bright-white roof coatings. Just in case there are a few out there that don’t, here are a few statistics that should interest you.
- Reflective roof coatings or membranes can reflect up to 85% of the heat from solar rays away from the roof of the building. Traditional roofing materials reflect 5% to 15%.
- Reflective roofing material can reduce the cost of cooling a building by 30% to 50%, depending on location.
- Depending on the system, these coatings or membranes may last 20 years or longer and can easily be renewed with another coating application to avoid tear off.
- Cool roof installation is anticipated to grow at over 5.7% annually over the next 5 years.
- Single-ply membranes and coatings account for almost 25% of the cool roof market.
Roof coatings/membranes are best installed on low-slope or flat roofing structures, as are solar power systems.
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Some industry leaders who have tried the cool roof/solar power combination report that the presence of a reflective roof coating increased the output of a solar power system as much as 10%! As solar power systems work optimally at temperatures below 90°F, reducing the temperature of the roofing structure improves the overall efficiency of the solar panels and the entire system benefits.
Another benefit of this combination is that the interior of the building is kept cooler by the reflective coating. This reduces the power load necessary to run the air conditioning, again increasing the efficiency of the combination overall.
Plus, maintenance couldn’t be easier if you go with a roof coating / solar panel combination. Essentially, you will never have to remove the racks that hold the solar panels since you can renew the roof repeatedly by putting on another coat. As long as maintenance is held up and nothing unexpected happens, you will never have to dismantle and reinstall the structure supporting your solar panels.
Consider offering your environmentally focused customers a truly climate-conscious option, by combining the thermal efficiency of a reflective coated structure with the energy producing power of a solar power system.
For more information, feel free to reach out to our team. Call the Choice Roof Contractor Group at (800) 670-5583.