Framingham, Massachusetts

Sika SolaRoof Helps Republic Plumbing's Cash Flow

If anyone knows anything about avoiding leaks, it’s a plumbing company. So when Republic Plumbing, a 75-year-old, family-owned plumbing, heating, and industrial supply company was looking for a solar solution for the roof of its distribution facility in Framingham, Massachusetts, it wanted a system that would not only deliver energy savings but also could be attached without any roof penetrations that could cause leaks. “We are committed to sustainability and have recycling programs in all of our nine branches for recycling paper and cardboard products,” said Bill Duggan, president of Republic Plumbing. “We wanted a 56-kW solar system that would save energy and that we could trust to perform well.”

Republic Plumbing Distribution Building
Framingham, Massachusetts

Republic Plumbing

Solar Contractor
Centroplan USA LLC
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Roofing System
Sika SolaRoof system

Project Size
15,000 square feet

That’s why Republic Plumbing chose the Sika SolaRoof system. The Sika SolaRoof system is a non-penetrating, integrated solar solution for Sarnafil PVC systems that offers many advantages over a traditional solar system. SolaRoof incorporates the proven performance of a Sarnafil Roof System with the Sika SolarMount 1 – an innovative, non-penetrating, engineering solution for long-term securement of solar rooftop photovoltaic. The system is lightweight because it requires no ballast and is hot-air welded to the Sarnafil roofing membrane with the Sika SolarClick welding flange, which is made with the same formulation as the membrane to avoid compatibility issues. And since both the PVC roofing membrane and solar mounting system are from Sika, they are covered up to 20 years by a single-source warranty.

Solar panels on the top of a roof
A Proven Performer

“We have a long history with Sika Sarnafil, and trust their products,” remarked Duggan. “The roof we had on this building before was a Sika Sarnafil roof that lasted 35 years!”

When Republic Plumbing decided to replace that roof in 2016, it decided to go with the Sarnafil RhinoBond system. The Sarnafil RhinoBond system uses Sarnafil’s proven PVC roof membrane, which is attached using RhinoBond’s advanced induction welding technology. RhinoBond secures the membrane directly to specially coated plates that are used to secure the insulation to the deck, all without penetrating the roofing membrane. The result is a roofing system with improved wind performance that requires 25 to 50 percent fewer fasteners and plates.

Ariel view of a white roof with solar panels
Going With the Flow

Six months after the RhinoBond system was installed, Centroplan of Cambridge, Massachusetts got to work installing the Sika SolarMount 1 racking system. Sika partnered with Centroplan to provide an “all-inclusive” solar system package, and to use the expertise of both companies to develop a solar roof tailored to the customer’s needs.

Ariel view of the Republic Plumbing Supply building with solar panels

“A partnership between a solar company and a roofing company is very rare, but by working together to design the right solar system for the customer, we can eliminate the worry that the solar rack installer might void the warranty of the roofing membrane manufacturer,” said Rocco Gerhardt, CEO of Centroplan. “Sika backs this up by including the solar racking system in its roofing warranty coverage. This is a good value for the building owner and is just one-way Sika is committed to making the world a better place by going ‘green.”

The SolaRoof installation took place in December, so the installers had to deal with snowstorms and freezing temperatures. “The SolarMount is very easy and fast to install,” Gerhardt stated. “It took our crew of four workers less than a week to install.”

“Centroplan did a terrific job and were always in contact with me to keep me updated,” Duggan said. “Despite having to work around some snowstorms the SolaRoof installation went smoothly, and everything came out great.”

No Money Down the Drain

Republic Plumbing is incredibly pleased with the energy savings offered by the SolaRoof. “Every quarter we receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SREC) from Massachusetts, and we are now at the point where the system has actually paid for itself,” Duggan commented. “The roof is performing great, and we are going to be putting another SolaRoof on another branch soon. In fact, I wish we could put them on all our locations.”

He added, “We are thrilled with how everything turned out and feel that not only have we made a smart ‘green’ decision, but we have also increased the value of our building a great deal.”

And that’s no pipe dream.