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Commercial Solar Panels: A Highlight of the Rewards and Risks

Photovoltaic cells, or solar panels, certainly have their benefits

Solar energy is a hot topic with a fascinating history. It was an American inventor, Charles Fritts, who described the first solar cell. Since then, America has made great contributions to the development, application, and acceptance of this technology. Today, Tesla innovation and tax-subsidized solar shingles are turning Earth’s oldest energy source into futuristic power.

More businesses are turning to solar as their own energy solution but wonder about the effect it would have on their roof. Here’s what you need to know if you’re on the fence.

The benefits of installing solar panels

Solar panels are better for the environment since they produce energy with zero emissions, pollutants, or waste products of any kind. Solar power can be a big money saver if optimal conditions apply. Some commercial customers can save up to 75 percent on their electricity bills. How much an individual property ultimately saves is dependent on a few key factors.

Bigger roofs will save more money than smaller roofs. The number of daily hours of sunlight your building receives also impacts savings (an unobstructed southern exposure is ideal). Local electricity rates are another factor in how much you can lower utility costs. New Jersey is currently 27th highest in the nation for utility rates, which puts us in a good position for significant savings.

The physical impact of solar panels on a roof

A good roofing firm will ensure that solar doesn’t damage your roof in any way. Impact factors to consider include:

  • The age of your roof. Solar is a significant upgrade for many businesses who may have had a traditional roof for a long time. This is an important factor since, the older your roof, the more delicate the solar panel installation process will be. A repair before adding panels may be necessary if your roof is in poor condition. Skipping a repair means paying extra later when the roof needs to be replaced, and the solar panels need to be removed and reattached along with it.
  • Solar panels add extra weight. Solar panels are getting lighter as time goes by, but they still add extra mass to your rooftop. Again, this shouldn’t be a problem if a thorough roof inspection gives the green light.
  • Rooftop fires. Polystyrene, plastic, and circuitry are shared components of many solar systems. All are subject to combustion if they become too hot or suffer a power surge. A smaller fire may only take out a panel or two; a larger one could ruin an entire roof. Businesses need to know it’s a possibility, but it’s an incredibly slim one. European studies highlighted that there is only a 0.006 percent chance of a rooftop fire as a result of a faulty solar system. That study is from 2013, and things have only improved since then.

What’s the financial impact of solar for my roof?

Contact a professional to get an estimate so you can get an idea of the cost. A final price is dependent on several factors, just like your long-term utility savings. The good news is that New Jersey’s solar incentives are some of the best in the U.S.

For a 5 kilowatt-hour (kWh) system with an out-of-pocket cost of around $13,000 to $18,000, the 20-year savings could exceed $40,000. The payback period would be around 4 to 6 years and could offset electricity bills by as much as 80 to 112 percent.

As we mentioned above, the location of your building plays a role in how much you’ll pay for solar over time. Solar paneling does offer further savings. The current federal income tax code allows a 30 percent tax credit for purchased solar systems. Solar Renewable Energy Certificates are another way to maximize your investment thanks to New Jersey’s encouragement of clean energy.

The big question, if you decide to go with solar power, is who will you hire to make it happen?

Call us if you’re considering a solar roof

Peck Brothers Roofing offers a wide range of roofing services, and solar roofing is just one of them. A safe and durable installation are our priorities. You can count on the highest standard of work. We fully inspect your property to see how suitable it is for solar, and we’ll be available every day after that for maintenance and advice.

We take a creative approach to roofing solutions. From repair and replacement to maintenance and disaster response, you can count on us to literally keep you covered. Give us a call at 201 791 3235 or email

Corporate Headquarters

101 Van Riper Ave. Elmwood Park, NJ, 07407

Phone: 201-791-3235