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Structural Engineer PV Calculations and Design: Case Study

Structural Engineer PV Calculations and Design for a network of schools

Works: PV calculations by a structural engineer for retro-installation of solar panels.

Property: 12 schools across in southern England.

Instructed by: PV panel company.

Roof loading calculations

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Project considerations

A key consideration when conducting works in schools is getting appropriate access.

  • To minimise any disruption to teaching we arranged to carry out the inspection during lunch hours and outside of term time.
  • we therefore arranged for the school caretakers or other senior members or staff to take us round the buildings and make sure we could access the roof spaces.
  • We also obtained appropriate clearance and permissions for the photos taken, making sure that pupils and sensitive information were not photographed.


  • Roofs were assessed inside and out for structural integrity, deformations and distortions. Suspended ceiling tiles were removed as applicable.
  • Roofs were inspected for over-boarding of an additional layer of insulation or other structural material; comments and advice reported as necessary.
  • Snow loads calculated to BS6399
  • We carried out measurements and calculations of roof timbers to check that the solar panels fitted within the acceptable loading tolerance for the roofs.
  • In most cases the solar panels did not cover the entire area; consequently, corrected cumulative load was calculated.
  • The photovoltaic panel calculations were submitted for appraisal to the senior council engineer.
  • Our structural engineers were available for any clarifications that were required; however, by working closely with our client and ensuring that the brief was clear and fully understood, these were rarely needed.

Read another case study on PV panel installation here.

Read more about our structural roof calculations here.

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