Roofing firm’s heaven-sent energy solution

The first solar panels to be fitted on lead supports, which were installed by Martin-Brooks at a church near Chesterfield.

The first solar panels to be fitted on lead supports, which were installed by Martin-Brooks at a church near Chesterfield.

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HISTORIC roofing restoration specialist Martin-Brooks is pioneering an innovation that allows solar panels to be installed on lead roofs.

The Sheffield firm was called in by solar panel installers C-Changes on the advice of architects Smith and Roper, to help with a project involving a Grade I listed church near Chesterfield. The Bakewell architects recommended Martin-Brooks after working with the roofers on other sensitive heritage projects.

Martin-Brooks' Contracts director Dale Wright Dale Wright

Martin-Brooks' Contracts director Dale Wright Dale Wright

This time, the project posed a new challenge – how to prevent the solar panels from being damaged when the lead expanded and contracted as the temperature changed.

The answer turned out to be a system, developed by the Lead Sheet Association, which uses special lead “pods” with expansion gaps to overcome the problem.

Martin-Brooks’ contracts director Dale Wright said: “To date, only a few churches have been granted permission to install solar panels due to concerns over structural suitability and aesthetic impact.

“Being involved in the first application of this groundbreaking pod support system has been extremely interesting and our work in Chesterfield will undoubtedly open up the solar market to a wider range of properties, particularly those with lead roofs.”

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