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Harnessing the sun while controlling the costs.

Harnessing the sun while controlling the costs.

The Cost Savings of Simultaneously Installing Solar Panels and Roofing

For businesses up and down the country, the spike in energy costs have been a struggle. No matter what industry you are in, the rise in utility rates has caused businesses to re-evaluate their outgoings while looking at alternatives that will help them to either keep costs under control or provide them more control over their energy needs for the future.

These rises in energy prices helped to accelerate the growth of the green energy market in the UK and create new opportunities in the energy sector as many of these businesses struggling to control their spiraling energy costs began looking at solar power as a real world option. As the UK embraces renewable energy sources and strives to reduce its carbon footprint, solar power has emerged as a popular and sustainable choice. Solar panels provide an eco-friendly alternative to conventional electricity sources that can lead to significant cost savings over time and with a very small Return on Investment period. 

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The rise in energy costs has seen inquiries and sales of solar panels increase dramatically both last year and well into 2023 with no sign of the demand slowing. Demand has been so high in fact that many of the leading solar installers in Scotland have been struggling to meet the demand. Just like the domestic market craze for air fryers over the last year where suppliers were frequently out of stock, so to, solar installers have been struggling to get hold of new panels.

While this increased interest of solar power is welcomed, for many businesses, they have been missing a trick when switching over to green energy.  While solar power will lower your energy costs in the long run, there is still the initial financial investment required for businesses.

One aspect of solar installation and the investment costs in the work that is overlooked is the cost of required access to a commercial properties roofing for the installation to be complete. To install solar paneling, an installation company such as ourselves require scaffolding for safe and easy access while working at height.  Anyone who has had their roof fitted or repaired in recent times will quickly tell you – scaffolding is not cheap. It never has been and it never will be.  So while some projects can use access platforms and others can rely on rope access solutions, the vast majority of solar panel installations require scaffolding.

What if you can use the scaffolding for other purposes?  What if you can kill two birds with one stone?  One smart strategy that many businesses have been overlooking but should be adopting in the UK is to combe roofing work with solar panel installations. Yes there is the obvious cost requirements of completing two substantial projects in the one go but the combination of efficiency, reduced labor costs, economies of scale, potential government incentives, and extended system lifespan all contribute to making this a financially savvy option for businesses to truly consider. 

With decades of architectural and construction styles in the UK, the building landscape of our cities is varied both in terms of design and age.  This means that a lot of commercial properties in Scotland and England have roofs that are way past their life expectancy with many properties having roofing that is 50+ years old and has gone year in year out on life support, surviving on regular roofing maintenance work. They are fighting a loosing battle against having to re-roof their property. So why not do them both at the same time?  

One of the primary advantages of coordinating roofing work with solar panel installation is the efficiency it offers. By undertaking both projects simultaneously, you can optimise the installation process. Roofing contractors can easily prepare the structure to accommodate solar panels, ensuring that the roof is strong, stable, and leak-free. This synergy streamlines the installation timeline, reducing overall labour costs and minimising any disruption to your daily life.

Roofing and solar installation teams often share some overlapping tasks, such as site assessments and mounting preparations. By having both teams work together, you can avoid redundant labor efforts, thus lowering the total labor costs. Additionally, when contractors can complete the projects in one go, you save on mobilisation and demobilisation costs, which can add up when done separately.

If a business opts for integrated solar panels, they can also benefit from the reduced cost of materials as integrated solar panels can be fitted directly into the roof rather than on top of slate or tiled areas.  Roof integrated solar panels replace the tiles or slates on a roof so that the solar panels sit lower down in the roofline. Integrated solar panels therefore better fit the style of the roof and will look more like they are an intended part of the building in comparison to solar panels that are fitted with a roof rack-mounted systems.

At Low Energy Services, on a recent integrated solar panel installation we competed for a Swimming pool facility in Peebles, Scotland; the integrated system cut the required tile coverage of the roof by 220m2.  This massive saving in roofing material would not have been possible had the solar panel installation been completed outwith the roofing installation. By going with this system, the client was able to save more money on the two jobs overall.

Integrated solar panels can easily be installed by solar panel installers before the roofing contractor fixes the roof covering around them.

When solar panels are installed on a newly replaced or fortified roof, it enhances the longevity and performance of both systems. A well-maintained roof ensures that the solar panels are securely anchored and protected from water damage. Conversely, solar panels can also provide protection to the underlying roof by shielding it from the elements, such as UV radiation and hail. This symbiotic relationship translates to fewer maintenance expenses and a prolonged lifespan for both your roof and solar panels. While the main focus of this article is on the cost benefits of having both installations completed at the time, it would be remise of us to over look the energy efficiency benefits of having a new roof installed.  A reduction in gaps and drafts will help to increase a buildings energy efficiency meaning it requires less energy to heat and and retain that heat energy. Another contributing benefit to having both completed at the same time.

Once your solar panels are operational, they generate clean energy that significantly reduces your reliance on grid electricity. This leads to substantial savings on your energy bills. By generating your electricity, you become less susceptible to fluctuations in utility rates, which is what so many businesses are looking for when they begin the process of looking into solar panel installations - that added layer of financial security.

Energy Grants and Incentives

Governments around the world are promoting renewable energy adoption through various incentives, including tax credits, rebates, and grants. When you combine roofing work with solar panel installation, you may be eligible for these incentives on both projects. This can significantly reduce the overall cost of transitioning to solar energy, making it an even more attractive proposition for businesses considering making the switch to green energy.

Another financial option for businesses considering solar panel installations is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).  A PPA is a financial agreement which allows companies to purchase solar energy generated electricity with NO UPFRONT COSTS. A business can make an immediate switch to green energy without having to invest in the initial cost of purchasing or fitting solar pv systems. Instead, they commit, through a PPA, to buying discounted electricity directly from the installer at an agreed upon rate for a fixed length of time. 

This allows businesses to take advantage of the many benefits of solar energy without having to invest in the initial purchasing and installation costs. It also means that they do not have to worry about the maintenance of the solar panel system as that is taken care of as part of the PPA as well.

However a new solar panel installation is financed, investing in solar panels while undertaking roofing work is a forward-thinking decision that brings numerous cost-saving benefits. 

As renewable energy continues to shape the future of power generation, the smart integration of solar panels and roofing will undoubtedly lead to a greener, more sustainable, and economically efficient future for businesses up and down the country who want to do their part towards net-zero by reducing their carbon footprint while lowering 

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The Renewable Energy Hub

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