How Solar Subsidizes the Cost of Your Roof

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The Roof Conundrum

From individual homeowners to large-scale industrial property owners, the impact of solar installations on their existing roofing structures is a common thread of inquiry. Solar developers, too, are deeply invested in this dialogue. The makeup and lifespan of a roof are critical factors in their site evaluation process for a solar lease. During the initial assessment phase, New Columbia walks the roof to assess life, condition, and materials to make sure the roof meets the criteria for housing a solar facility. While most roofs are issue free, the age and condition of a roof can sometimes pose formidable challenges. In these cases, a comprehensive roof reconditioning or replacement is needed. However, this seemingly overwhelming obstacle unfolds into a roof opportunity for owners of mid to late life roofs.

The Solar Roof Lease Opportunity

New Columbia enters into many projects intending to subsidize the upfront cost associated with roof work, including reconditioning or full replacement. We have a vested interest in ensuring the quality of the roofs is suitable for solar prior to commencing and installation. While some solar developers shy away from mid to late life roofs, New Columbia views it as an opportunity to assist CRE owners to subsidize the capital improvements need for their roofs. Specifically New Columbia has the ability to subsidize the cost of roof replacements, reconditionings, and warranties. This allows property owners to sidestep the costly capital roofing related capital expenditures.

New Columbia Solar typically offers two different roofing solutions depending on the state of the roof and its expected life:

  • Full tear off and replacement: In the case of roofing emergencies, where the roof is leaking or experience some other dire issue, New Columbia works with roofing partners to subsidize a complete roof replacement before construction of the system begins.
  • Roof reconditioning: For mid-life roofs without major issues, New Columbia works with roofing partners to recondition the roof and provide ongoing maintenance.
  • Warranty: Under both above arrangements, New Columbia’s roofing partners are able to apply warranties to their work.

Moreover, we have strategic alliances with roofing partners who are able to provide us with volume discounts when roofing services are procured under New Columbia’s umbrella. This symbiotic relationship between solar installation and roofing amplifies both functional and financial benefits for all stakeholders involved.

Common Roof Questions:

Q: How much of my roof will be taken up by the solar facility? How much will it weigh?

A: We use as much space as we can while leaving walkways to access key rooftop equipment. Our designs always include setbacks from the top edges and pathways to equipment, like HVAC, to ensure the safety and access of any of your workers. A typical solar system adds about 3-5 pounds per square foot to the roof – within the structural capacity of most commercial buildings.

Q: How will solar impact my roof and its existing warranty?

A: New Columbia Solar has installed solar on rooftops ranging from new construction to roofs on historic buildings that require repairs and preservation to the greatest extent possible. To ensure the buildings we work on remain in top condition, we always work with roof manufacturers to ensure we keep the existing warranties intact. Additionally, by shielding the roof from UV rays and adding extra weight to the roof, the solar facility can actually extend the roof’s lifespan.

Q: How does New Columbia pay for the roof subsidy?
The money for roofing subsidies must come from somewhere. In order to provide the subsidy, New Columbia structures its deals to pull forward economic value so that it can be provided in an upfront lump sum form. This results in more value upfront with less in the latter years of the deal.

A Solar Lease Lifeline

Ultimately, the intersection of a solar lease and roof health presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. While the initial hurdles may seem daunting, the long-term benefits for property owners are substantial. Not only do they receive a new or reconditioned roof at no additional cost, but they are also receiving a long-term partner with a vested interest in roof condition. The ability to subsidize a roof replacement or reconditioning underscores the roof opportunity in a solar lease, turning a roofing crisis into a generator of revenue with no capital expenditure. As we continue to explore and innovate in this space, the symbiotic relationship between solar installations and roofing will undoubtedly continue to evolve, offering even greater benefits to all stakeholders involved.

Ava Duane

Sales Operations

Ava joined NCS in 2023 after serving in the position of Channel Manager at Prism Group, a residential solar company out of Melbourne, Australia. She has a proven track record of increasing sales performance and efficiency, having more than tripled Prism’s average weekly sales during her tenure. At NCS, Ava oversees Sales Operations where she provides market research analysis, underwriting and administrative support to the Sales Team.

About New Columbia Solar

New Columbia Solar is a Washington, DC-based solar energy company, financier, owner, and operator of commercial and industrial solar energy facilities. Founded in 2016, the company y has grown to be the largest and most comprehensive solar energy company in the District of Columbia. Our mission is to help landlord’s and their surrounding communities take advantage of renewable energy and the profits and energy resiliency it provides. For more information, visit:

Email: [email protected]

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