Green Roofs and Solar Energy: Pure Synergy
A flat roof is one of the best locations for a solar energy system, given that the solar modules can be adjusted to the correct angle and the most appropriate orientation. It is a mistaken belief that one has to decide between a green roof and a solar system. On the contrary with the right system, significant synergy effects are achieved when combining both.
With its Solar Base, ZinCo incorporates solar energy into green roofs and creates synergies, whether it is for generating electricity (photovoltaic) or for heating and hot water applications (solar thermal).
The height of the Solar Base Frames creates enough distance between the substrate layer and the solar panels, providing the plants with enough sunlight and rainwater and enabling appropriate maintenance.
Ballast Provided by the Green Roof Build-up
One important synergy effect shows at the construction stage. The ZinCo solar build-up consists of a protection and drainage layer, Solar Base panels and Solar Base Frames. The panels are covered with a prescribed amount of growing medium and the desired vegetation is then planted. The combined weight of the growing media and plants provides the ballast required by the solar energy system to deal with wind loads. Thanks to this ballast principle, roof membrane penetrations that would normally be necessary for anchoring standard solar energy systems are not required.
Enhanced Performance of Photovoltaic Modules
The performance of photovoltaic modules depends on the temperature of the modules and the surrounding ambient air temperature. The rule of thumb is: “the warmer the module, the lesser the performance”. In fact, modules heat up considerably as a result of solar radiation. This is impaired by a hot roof surface such as a bare waterproofing membrane or a gravel roof. However, if combined with a green roof, solar modules will perform better. Through the cooling effect caused by evaporation at plant level, the ambient air temperature is cooler and photovoltaic cells improve their performance.