Project1_Layout 1 07/05/2013 PITCHED ROOFING
An estimated one million UK homes
are driven by a form of solar power,
a figure that will increase as the
century marches on. Photovoltaic (PV)
panels, for example, the most common
form of domestic solar installation, not only
helps properties meet sustainability standards
– such as the Code for Sustainable Homes –
they significantly reduce long-term energy
requirements and household electricity bills.
PV solar panels are growing in popularity,
especially as they are easy to install and provide
clean, green energy which lowers your carbon
footprint. The panels also have low operational
costs compared to other renewable energy
systems. During operation, they keep noise
pollution to a minimum, which is a great benefit
in residential areas.
Although there are many benefits, their
installation is often a sticking point; where it
isn’t always as straightforward and successful as
it ought to be. Issues with PV panels are more
likely to occur when their fitting and the roof’s
installation is carried out by different contractors.
If problems with leaks subsequently occur, a
long, drawn-out ‘blame game’ can occur between
the companies, leaving the client with a poorlyperforming
roof and an unprotected building.
It is unreasonable and unfair for the client
to be involved in this tense ‘blame game’
between contractors. These companies should
be maintaining a positive and productive
relationship in order to deliver a seamless,
professional installation for the client, in which
the client’s wishes take priority.
Contractual simplicity is crucial to a
successful product delivery, meaning it is
important for roofing specialists to engage
or collaborate with solar panel PV experts.
Working in partnership ensures that the quality
of the product is not compromised by strained
relationships between one contractor and
another. Partnerships often guarantee a one-stopshop
solution without causing any headaches for
all those involved in the process.
Failure to engage solar PV experts at the earliest
stage of a new or retrofit installation could lead
to a number of common solar design mistakes.
• Laying panels flat on the roof. On a flat roof,
solar panels need to be mounted on a pitched
frame in order to allow dirt and debris to be
• Different modules are different
sizes. Although the majority of modules on
the market are 1.6m x 1m, not all of them are.
098 JUNE 2018 RCIMAG.COM
are they efficient and effective?
Dean Grady, product manager at Sika, reveals how working in partnership with solar panel PV experts, roofing specialists can achieve a
seamless, professional installation when it comes to a new or retrofit application
“Working in partnership ensures that the quality of the product is not
compromised by strained relationships between one contractor and another”
It’s important not to base system specification
on assumptions about module size, or with
modules of non-standard dimensions
• Obstructing man-safe systems. Mansafe
systems are often included in the design to
allow for the future maintenance of solar
PV, yet are often areas which prevent panel
• Electrical design. Inverters can only accept
some combinations of panels as their input,
and this is an aspect of solar design not
considered by non-solar professionals. A roof
may be able to accommodate 37 panels; a
36-panel system will be a lot easier to deal
with from an electrical design perspective. It
will also look neater
• Timescale. Good planning leads to a quality
solar PV installation. When architects, solar
designers, roof suppliers and contractors
consult at a project’s earliest stage, it’s easier
to prevent minor issues mutating into major
ones. The availability of time is as precious as
the availability of materials and labour when it
comes to successful roof/solar PV installation.
Although PV panels offer a multitude of
benefits, it is worth considering these pointers to
minimise error. PV solar panels are an efficient
and effective renewable source of energy, yet
their installation can come with a lot of grey,
misty areas which might be off-putting for
clients. That is why it is fundamental to select
companies which work collaboratively in order
to ensure the design and quality of the products
are not jeopardised by poor installation.