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RE: LL on roof with solar panels.

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The definition for Live Load for the I-codes would be the same.  Fixed equipment is a dead load.
You would still need to apply the live load to even the area covered by the panels as there may be people on the roof at times maintaining the panels. 
-Bill King, PE, MCP

From: Mark E. Deardorff [mailto:mdeardorff(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 12:39 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: LL on roof with solar panels.

You can't take it as live load, at least not under the 1997 UBC. Table 16-B lists mechanical and electrical equipment with the parenthetical "(dead load)". You still end up with the 0.9 load duration factor though.
Mark E. Deardorff, S.E.
Structural Engineer
Burkett & Wong Engineers
3434 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
P 619.299.5550
F 619.299.9934

From: Bill Cain [mailto:bcainse(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 9:27 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: LL on roof with solar panels.

Assuming your roof is wood frame, if you treat solar panels as the Live Load, you should increase the Solar panel load by a duration factor of 1/0.9 to account for the fact the load is likely longer duration than the 10 years assumed for LL per Nds. Most, including mine, are warranted for about 25 years. 

It is not likely to be a problem with the usual weight of the panels in the 3-4 psf range. Normal Code Live load (without solar load) should also be checked without the solar panel load (with a duration factor for wood construction of 1.25) to allow for installation loads similar to the way roofing loads are treated. 
Bill Cain SE
Berkeley CA

-----Original Message-----
From: garyg(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Sent: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 8:34 am
Subject: LL on roof with solar panels.

When you have flat panel solar panels on a roof, is there still a need to apply the roof live load to the supporting members?  I've always been taught that yes it would still be required but common sense says that since the solar panels are glass, it is unlikely that there will be any live load while the panels are in place.
All opinions are welcome.
Gary Grinstead, SE
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