Thousands of buildings in the UK have asbestos roofs, with many worrying this may slow down or inhibit the installation of a solar system. So what can you do if your business has an asbestos roof?
Unfortunately, from the 1930s through to the 1980s the use of asbestos was abundant in construction, especially in roofing. It then became apparent that asbestos fibres are a severe health hazard, leading to the banning of future use of asbestos and interaction with the substance being significantly more consequential.
What are the options for solar PV with asbestos?
The first and most obvious solution is to hire a specialist to remove the asbestos and replace it with a new modern roof. This new roof would provide a stable base for solar installation as well as the longevity of a new roof.
This option may not be attainable for all businesses, so here are a few more accessible options you can consider:
- You can utilise a steel over-clad system to provide a stable load-bearing base for solar installation. This installation is cheaper and provides an extra layer of insulation on the roof, with the downside that asbestos is still present in the property.
- You can consider utilising ground-mounted solar instead of working on the roof. When asbestos roofs pose too much of a challenge, a ground mount system could provide an option if you have the space available.
- A newer consideration is to utilise solar mounted upon carports – this is currently in an early adoption stage in the UK. Carports can provide a valuable location to install solar, living on top of an already existing space without impacting its function as a car park.
Is there a legal requirement for me to replace the asbestos?
There is no current legal requirement to replace asbestos-containing materials. Any structural work done on the premises should be approached carefully, as asbestos can release dangerous fibres if not handled correctly.
Is installing solar over asbestos more expensive?
If you choose to replace the roof with a modern alternative, the size of the roof will have significant financial implications. An over-clad system can be a much cheaper alternative. An over-clad system will have an increased cost implication over a standard installation when purchased as a system outright. This financial impact will need to be taken into account when calculating return on investment numbers.
These steel and remediation works can, however, be included in our funded installations.
Therefore, additional work such as an over-clad roof system can be installed without incurring capital costs. Power Purchase Agreements including additional works typically have a slightly higher initial rate. This increase is generally insignificant compared to the financial savings made from the self-generation that becomes possible.
If you’d like to know more about an installation with an asbestos roof, our team can help with a design and installation proposal tailored to your requirements. Contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01254 786 071 for more information.