Everyone likes to have the best of all worlds, but in life, we are often faced with “either-or” decisions. Luckily, in the case of increasing your energy savings through solar power generation, this is not the case. You can have it all.
Even though neither roof coatings nor solar energy are new to the roofing market, we have yet to see how these two energy-saving methods combine together. Can they be used together and how would that work? Here’s what we know.
Since they first appeared on the market, solar panels have significantly developed. From those big, bulky panels to the small and subtle photovoltaic cells that we know today, which are built into the roof material itself, solar energy only keeps improving.
In some of its most efficient designs, solar power has the energy efficiency of nearly 40%! As a comparison, in 1954, in its very beginnings, the efficiency was only around 6%.
The costs are also falling heavily. As a matter of fact, since 2010, the price of solar energy has decreased by 70%! And now it is finally and for the first time available to both residential and commercial buyers at reasonable prices.
The United States has installed enough solar energy to meet the electricity needs of more than 12.3 million households. However, solar power still accounts for merely 1.6% of the annual energy consumption. The solar market still has enormous potential and equally big demand.
Are you focused more on commercial solar power? Then you might want to know that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently reported that since 2010, US companies’ investment in solar energy has increased more than 20 times. Big corporations such as Amazon and Apple are leading the way, but reliable marketing and the supporting data can strongly argue that solar energy is a good investment even for smaller commercial buildings owned locally.
We are all probably aware, to a certain extent at least, of the heat-reflective features of cool, white roof coatings. And for all those that are not fully familiar with them, here are some statistics that may be of interest.
- White or cool roof coatings are able to reflect up to 85% of the UV rays and sun’s heat off of the roof. With traditional roof materials, it is only about 5% to 15%.
- Reflective coatings and materials can decrease buildings’ cooling costs by 30 to 50%, depending on the area.
- Reflective coatings and materials can last for 20+ years and can be updated or restored easily with another roof coat, which saves you the costs of a complete tear-off.
- It is estimated that the installation of cool roofs will grow at an annual rate of 5.7% in the next five years.
- Installation of single-ply coatings accounts for nearly 25% of all cool roof installations.
Both the roof coatings and solar systems are best installed on flat or low-slope roofing systems.
Solar Power & Roof Coatings Combined
This is where it gets really good. A recent study that was conducted in Ghana combined the use of reflective roof coatings and solar energy generation and concluded that roofs remained cooler, with the electricity production being unaffected. The total power consumption of all researched buildings had, in fact, been reduced.
Industry leaders that have tested this solar/cool roof coating combination report that their solar system’s output jumped by 10% in the presence of a reflective coating. Since a solar system can work best at temperatures under 90°F, lowering the roof’s temperature with the help of this coating enhances the solar panels’ overall efficiency and brings benefits to the entire roof system.
Another advantage of this combination is that it also keeps the building’s interior cooler. This, in turn, decreases the need for air conditioning, minimizing its power load and adding to the overall energy efficiency of the combination.
In addition, if you are using a solar panel/roof coating combination, maintenance will become much easier. You basically won’t need to move the racks that hold the solar panels because you can update and restore the roof simply by applying another roof coat. As long as all parts of the roof are properly maintained and no accidents occur, you won’t need to disassemble and reinstall the supporting structure of your solar panels.
Combining these two options, the thermal efficacy of the reflective roof coatings and the great power-generating capacity of solar systems will be a very environmentally friendly and conscious choice. It will also bring your property numerous financial and energy-saving benefits, so make sure to consider it for your building as well.
For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team anytime. Call White Roofing Systems at (309) 303-3128.