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Metal Roofs and Solar, a Match Made in Roofing Heaven

Rob Haddock S-5!
May 11, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.  

Rob Haddock discusses why metal roofs are the more resourceful, greener and longer lasting roof pairing that a PV system deserves. 

The solar revolution has already begun and is on the rise, and according to S-5!® CEO Rob Haddock, the amount of solar deployed in the U.S. could triple in the next five years. As he states in an interview with Energy Capital Media, “The interest in solar continues to increase primarily because it makes good financial sense, with the cost of solar significantly decreasing over the last decade improving return-on-investment and internal rate of return (IRR) metrics.”

As a metal roof attachment solutions manufacturer, the rise of solar is particularly promising for S-5! Metal roofs are notoriously durable and are among the few roof materials that can outlast the lifespan of a solar panel. “Metal roofing provides an ideal platform for mounting rooftop solar because it is the only roof type with a service life exceeding that of the solar (in the range of 50-70 years),” confirms Rob. “Alternative roofing types will expire long before the life of the PV system, leading to costly disassembly of the PV array, re-roofing and re-assembly.” Thus, metal allows for the attractive financial metrics of PV to actually take effect, without reroofing and re-assembly eroding away at the ROI. 

“In my decades-long career of rooftop solar, roof replacement is rarely, if EVER considered in the ROI analysis presented to the buyer. Inverter replacement is factored in at 10 to 15 years, but not the roof itself,” says Rob. “In cases of non-metal roofs, roof replacement is inevitable. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’” 

While each project must be considered individually, metal is an excellent choice for solar since it is the only roof material that consistently outlives solar.  

Due to its long life cycle, metal is one of the most sustainable roofing types. Recyclable coated steel roofs last for over 60 years and are highly recycled so that they don’t contribute to landfills. “We manufacture the PVKIT from highly recyclable material using energy-efficient processes, resulting in a demonstrably smaller carbon footprint,” says Rob. “We recycle all scrap from manufacturing. Roof-mounted solar PV powers 36% of the S-5! factory, producing 400,000 kWh annually with plans to double solar production to 70% of consumption by 2024.” 

Rob, with his son, has co-invented a rail-less direct-attach solar solution. With an easy, smooth and efficient installation of a product that promises to safeguard durability and aesthetic of the roof, more and more homeowners and contractors are turning to rail-less solar mounting on a metal roof. In Rob’s opinion, “The ‘standing seam’ metal roof is the only roof type really worthy of consideration for solar PV” since standing seam roofs enable solar mounting completely free of roof penetrations, preserving all roof warranties. 

According to S-5!, rail-less solutions save both the homeowner and contractor the unnecessary redundancy and cost of rails by leveraging the roof's existing construction. Plus, rail-less installation means fewer parts to assemble and no more logistical nightmares that can come with railed systems. Shipping, storage and transport alone become far more simple and less expensive when a rail-less system is chosen. Because rail-less attachments are 15 percent of the weight of solar racking systems, you save more than 60 percent on shipping costs. 

By installing solar on metal roofs with lower transport, equipment and labor costs, the PVKIT is proving to be a green innovation in the solar and roofing industries. Production of this system saves an estimated 90% of the energy used to produce rail mountings and saves 85% of carbon emissions in transportation. 

Conclusion 

Solar is a huge investment. And selecting the right roof type is undeniably more important given it determines the integrity of the two assets as a whole; one depends upon the other. However, roofing attachments are equally crucial to this decision.  

“The assumptions made in the evaluation of the hardware that marries one to the other is equally flawed in terms of life-cycle performance, warranties, testing and engineering, evidence of certifications and so forth,” says Rob. “For heaven’s sake, this hardware investment which is only about 2-3% of the finished cost is responsible to hold the whole system onto the roof for 30-plus years!” 

While no roof can last forever, contractors and homeowners alike can appreciate that solar and metal roofs have a promising future together. The right combination of roofing material to PV is truly a match made in roofing heaven! 

Learn more about S-5! in their directory or visit www.S-5.com



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