Solar Panels | Is My Commercial Building’s Roof Suitable?

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Due to geopolitical turmoil, as well as the spotlight on sustainability, there is an ever-increasing need to generate affordable energy, and solar panels present an opportunity to do just this. As a commercial roofing contractor, we’re often asked about the feasibility of installing solar panels on commercial properties.

Generally speaking, commercial properties of all types can take advantage of the environmental and cost-saving benefits of solar panels; we’ve seen demand from all sectors and property types, from village halls to churches.

The environmental benefits of solar panels on commercial roofs have been much discussed, so we’ll focus on discussing on the practicalities of installing solar panels.

What roof types are suitable for solar panels?

Working in commercial roofing means we deal with a variety of properties and roof types, which we can categorise into flat and pitched. Solar panels can be affixed to most roofs, enabling nearly all commercial properties to benefit.

It is rare that we come across a roof unsuitable for installing solar panels – most roof sizes, however seemingly awkward, can benefit.

Can you install solar panels on a flat roof?

Flat roofs, such as those on warehouses and factories, present an excellent opportunity for the installation of solar panels, often due to the sheer amount of available roof space. With regards to mounting the solar panels on a flat roof, ballasted racking is used, which anchors the panels in place with weights.

Can you install solar panels on a pitched roof?

Installing solar panels on a pitched roof is common. Due to the pitch of the roof (whatever that may be for your building) the panels would need to be mounted using associated frames and fixings, as opposed to ballasted racking used on a flat roof.

My commercial property is in a shaded area – are solar panels feasible?

As one would expect, as solar power relies on the sun to generate and store electricity, you should consider the level of shading for your building. Generally, commercial properties have ample roof space to accommodate solar panels on an elevation where there is sufficient sunlight. Advances in technology also means that areas with relatively low exposure to sunlight can benefit, however, the more sunlight, the better!

My commercial property has an asbestos roof – Can I install solar panels?

A common question, and one we’ve recently addressed. To surmise, we recommend against the installation of solar panels on an asbestos roof and recommend a full roof reinstatement. However, if required, we can ‘over-sheet’ your existing asbestos roof. As commercial roofing contractors, we are happy to offer advice and address your concerns. Generally, all roofing types, such as slates, tiles, metals, and flat roofing systems are suitable for solar panels.

My commercial property is a listed building and/or in a conservation area. Can I still install solar panels?

The installation of solar panels in commercial buildings is generally hassle-free, as such works fall under permitted development. However, as you would expect, installing solar panels in a conservation area requires extra attention. While it is certainly possible, you would need to seek advice and consent from your local authority in order to install solar panels on your commercial property.

Does the condition of my roof matter?

The condition of your roof certainly impacts the feasibility of installing solar panels. Many clients approach us to re-roof their commercial property prior to installing solar panels, such as St Albans Church.

To surmise, most roofs are suitable for solar panels, but the feasibility and specification should be discussed with a competent commercial roofing contractor to ensure your building takes full advantage of solar panels. With 40+ years’ experience, and working throughout LondonSurrey and the South East, Maguire Brothers are well placed to discuss your commercial roofing project and would be delighted to assist.


This article, as with all other articles we produce, is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute formal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For bespoke, unbiased advice relating to your commercial roofing project please contact us and we would be pleased to assist.

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