Designing and Building "Solar Ready"

Solar installed on Solar Ready buildings maximizes financial returns and can cover 100% of energy needs including electric loads, vehicle charging, heating, and cooling of the entire building. Solar is the fastest growing new energy source. Its impact is magnified when a building is designed properly from the beginning. With a range of transit-oriented developments and projects underway during the last decade, it is important to bring solar energy technology to these buildings. As sustainability is becoming a concern, contractors who are equipped to meet the demands of building solar ready will have better success in the industry.

Long Island is well on the path to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and rooftop solar power is one key ingredient in this critical transition. The more accessible solar power is to property owners, the faster Long Island will move into the 21st century of clean energy. These changes in design to accommodate solar arrays are simple to include during the building process, but could be difficult and costly to change after construction.

Solar Ready principles help guide architects, engineers, and builders on how to design a building's roof in a way that would allow for maximum energy production either from initial solar panel installation or future adoption. Some municipalities including the Town of Brookhaven, N.Y., have already adopted Solar Ready building requirements.

There is compliance with building codes and regulations, orientation, and design of roof structures, using roof anchors, laying electrical equipment, solar panel layout, and optimal roofing materials to consider. Structures also need to be built "Battery Ready,” which will play a large part in making solar accessible during times when the panels may not be producing energy; during night time and bad weather.

A few reasons for growth include:

  • Affordability of installation
  • Incentives
  • Electric bill savings

There are also environmental initiatives to comply with in the coming years. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar ranked as the number one source of new electric generating capacity. As more and more buildings are outfitted to use solar energy, contractors will learn what solar ready means.

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