As detailed in our earlier blog, The Re-Roof Conundrum, companies who are exploring solar are often faced with a decision to install solar on a rooftop that has ten years or less of roof life left. Developers recommend that if your roof has ten plus years of roof life left, going solar is a good financial investment, but are they considering the challenges that arise with a solar decommissioning and reinstallation project?
It is important that future building and tenant needs are understood prior to designing a solar array. While this can be difficult to predict, any future changes to a solar array layout can be complicated. Often, the equipment that will be used for your solar installation may not be able to be redesigned or reinstalled due to code requirements or lack of support from equipment vendors. We run into these issues regularly when working with racking manufacturers.
Racking manufacturers are constantly required to update their equipment to comply with new code requirements and technology advancements. As a result, they will do away with older equipment manufacturing lines or engineering functions to support their current offerings. In cases where an older array needs to be removed and reinstalled this can be problematic. If you are unable to obtain new ballast layouts or spare parts for your project, you may be in a position where your functioning warrantied equipment cannot be reinstalled. The problem will be compounded if the local code enforcement office requires updated designs to comply with updated ASCE wind and structural requirements.
If you know that a re-roof or array adjustments will be needed before your solar array reaches its true end-of-life, there are a few key steps you should take with your solar developer:
- Request that your developer provide stamped racking and electrical plans to support the future project.
- Discuss the future changes or re-roof needs with the local permitting office at the time of the original installation and get an approval in writing that your system will be grandfathered into the current code requirements.
- Purchase spare racking equipment that is needed at the time of your initial solar project so that you have the equipment needed on hand. You can request that this spare equipment be packaged separately so that it is palletized and easily storable on-site.
If your company is looking at a rooftop solar project or has an operating system that will need to be decommissioned and reinstalled Decom Solar can help get ahead of these challenges so that you are not caught in a lurch. We will work with you and your developer to determine the best course of action to ensure your future building and tenant needs are addressed and alleviated.
Decom Solar specializes in solar decommissioning and reinstallation solutions for asset owners and developers. Visit www.decomsolar.com for more information.