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CROSS Safety Report

Wind damage to roof with PV panels

Report ID: 590 Published: 1 October 2016 Region: CROSS-UK

This report is over 2 years old

Please be aware that it might contain information that is no longer up to date. We keep all reports available for historic reference and as learning aids.

Overview

A reporter describes how during a heavy storm a big area of roof tiles that were adjacent to PV panels blew down.

The reporter suspects that the PV panels have caused local wind turbulence and caused loads in excess of the roof design load.

Key Learning Outcomes

For PV panel suppliers, installers and homeowners:

  • All roofs should be appraised for the suitability of accommodating PV panels

  • Evidence of structural competence should be provided prior to installation

  • Inspection by a competent person should be carried out to ensure the works are installed in accordance with the design intent

Full Report

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A reporter has a house which was built in 2011 and had solar panels installed on the roof flush with the tiling. Later the same year she had external PV panels fitted. During a heavy storm a big area of roof tiles blew down (Figure 1). A neighbour who has an identical house, but did not have the solar panels installed, had no damage to their roof during the storm.

Image
Figure 1: PV panels on roof

The reporter therefore suspects that it is the solar panels that have caused local wind turbulence and caused loads in excess of the roof design load. They do not think this was taken into consideration when the solar panels were installed but has no knowledge of either the design or construction. An insurance company report says that the wind speed on the night in question was around 52m/s.

Expert Panel Comments

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Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

CROSS has concerns about some structural aspects of roof mounted PV and solar thermal panels. CROSS reports have been received about problems with installations including:

  • Lack of guidance on structural aspects

  • Excessive load on existing structure

  • Number and quality of fixings

  • Quality of workmanship

  • Damage to roof trusses and timbers

  • Damage to waterproofing

  • Wind damage to completed installations

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