A new report has been published that offers guidance to building officials and solar installers regarding the need for structural review of planned residential solar installations. The report (.pdf), issued by the Minnesota Department of Commerce in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Industry, developed standard load tables that outline limitations for placement of residential rooftop solar electric and solar thermal systems on existing single and multifamily dwellings. The tables encourage safe and structurally reliable systems while reducing costs associated with unnecessary structural review for many residential applications.
The cost to have a structural review of existing conditions for proposed solar installations can be a real barrier to adoption, according to the report. By generating standardized load tables to identify common building and roof construction types, structural considerations can be addressed in a prescriptive method without need for a full structural engineering analysis in many cases. Reducing the costs of an engineering analysis and adding certainty to a planned solar system will lead to greater adoption of solar projects. Read the full report here (.pdf).