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Benefits and Risks of Rooftop Solar Panels for Commercial Properties

Benefits and Risks of Rooftop Solar Panels for Commercial Properties

Although solar panels can provide significant financial, environmental and reputational benefits, they can present various risks and be susceptible to damage from several sources. Therefore, as the popularity of solar panels increases, commerical property owners need to be aware of their benefits and disadvantages to make the best decision for their buildings.

Solar Panels’ Benefits for Commercial Properties

Installing solar panels on commercial rooftops offers several benefits for commercial properties, including:

  • Cost savings on electric bills
  • Tax incentives
  • Reduced carbon emissions
  • Improved reputation by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability
  • Alternative solution during power grid outages
  • Increased property value

The Risks of Rooftop Solar Panels

Although solar panels offer several benefits, there are risks for businesses to consider:

  • Fire hazards and the risk of fires that produce toxins
  • Susceptibility to weather- and animal-related damage
  • Added weight that can have structural implications
  • Decreased rooftop walking space, creating fall risks
  • Attractive target for theft and vandalism

Mitigating the Risks of Rooftop Solar Panels

As property owners weigh the pros and cons of rooftop solar panels, they should also consider the following measures to mitigate risks associated with them:

  • Choose quality materials while considering their combustibility and toxicity.
  • Have a professional evaluate the rooftop to ensure it can handle the weight of solar panels.
  • Examine insulation materials to determine if they present additional fire risks.
  • Hire certified installers to help make certain the systems are installed following the manufacturer’s instructions and any applicable codes or regulations.
  • Ensure the solar panels’ inverter is properly placed in a structurally sound, dry area away from combustible materials.
  • Have certified technicians conduct regular inspections and maintenance to help identify and remediate issues before they evolve into larger problems.
  • Take protective measures, including removing overhanging trees; installing animal guards, an arc fault detection device and security systems, ensuring enough space is available to walk around them and informing technicians about their presence; and selecting solar panels rated to withstand the severe weather or seismic risks common to the area.
  • Utilize fire alarms and suppression systems that can provide alerts for fires and extinguish or slow them if they emerge. There should also be sufficient roof access for firefighters, a fire risk assessment should be conducted, and an emergency action plan should be in place to swiftly respond to fires and toxic fumes.

Additionally, businesses should work with a licensed insurance professional to review their insurance coverage and ensure their policies cover solar panels and their associated risks

Contact us today for more risk management information.

This document is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should consult legal counsel or a licensed insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2024 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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