ZinCo field tests show 4% increase in yield with green roof / solar energy combo

by Brianna Crandall — September 2, 2016 — The combination of green roof and solar energy is not in trend for no reason, according to Germany-based green roof provider ZinCo. It is already well known that this combination can produce significant synergy effects: the green roof provides the superimposed load required to protect the system against wind uplift; therefore, there is no need for roof penetration or heavy individual point loads. In addition, green roofs provide for a lower ambient temperature compared with bare or graveled roofs and as a result they help to increase the yield from a solar energy system.

Solar panels on green roof can bring 4% increase in yield

The green roof provides for a cooler ambient temperature while providing a superimposed load.

Using testing equipment, ZinCo has provided the figures to prove precisely this effect over the past three years. The measured values from the test setup confirm that the temperature of the solar module was on average about 8 Kelvin lower above the green roof compared with the module over the bitumen waterproofing membrane.

The efficiency of most solar modules depends on their ambient temperature. A rule of thumb says that for every degree of heat above 25°C efficiency drops by up to 0.5%. Applying this to the temperature difference of 8 Kelvin demonstrated in the ZinCo test, the solar module produces a greater yield across the entire green roof of 0.5%/K x 8K = 4% compared with a solar module over a bitumen waterproofing membrane. And a 4% increase in yield with large-scale solar energy systems means a significant increase in profit.

The system build-up “SolarVert”

ZinCo supplies the system build-up “SolarVert” for the combination of green roof and solar energy. It consists of the drainage and water storage channel Fixodrain XD 20 together with the Solar Base SB 200 and the Solar Base Frame 35/90 for mounting the module. This is followed by the system substrate and the plant community “Sedum Carpet,” which weighs down the solar base with its load.

ZinCo solar mounts

The solar base plates SB 200, each of which has a solar base frame SGR 35/90 for mounting the modules, are installed over the drainage channels

Suitable for new buildings, renovations and for installation in existing green roofs

The winning combination of green roof and solar energy is not only of interest for new buildings but also for roof renovations.  A retrofitted solar energy system in an existing extensive green roof will also pay off for the client, says ZinCo.

ZinCo has over fifteen years of experience in the sector in addition to approximately 950,000 m² of installed “solar energy roofing” combined with green roofing. For more information visit the company’s Web site.