Unlocking the solar energy potential of all roofs

In late 2021, TKI Urban Energy presented the results of a study on the potential of solar-on-roof in commercial construction. The researchers concluded that about 40 percent of the roofs had “no structural limitations,” and thus could support solar panels right away. The remaining 60 percent had slight or severe structural limitations and were not immediately suitable for installing panels. This means that (sometimes expensive) modifications must be made to buildings, or this potential area for solar-on-roof remains unused.

Combining all solar panels into a single lattice structure 

The Dutch tech startup RABLE started developing a solution to this problem. They developed and patented a prefabricated, folding mounting mechanism for solar panels enabling “weak roofs” which cannot handle the extra weight of the traditional solar systems to be covered with solar panels. The system carries its own weight and that of the panels. It can therefore be applied directly to these weak roofs, without requiring structural renovation and investment.

RABLE’s system uses a so-called “truss construction”. This is a construction that lends its stability to triangles, and is used, among other things, on bridges and the scaffolding above highways on which traffic signs are placed. Thanks to this construction, the system can handle a span of up to 25 meters, and supports the weight evenly on the areas of the building that can handle. Because the system carries its own weight and that of the panels it can therefore be applied directly to weak roofs, without structural renovation and investment on buildings with roof construction limitations.

Together with regional investment Energietransitiefonds Rotterdam (through Innovation Quarter)) we are investing in RABLE to set up their production and enter the market with their system and by doing so unlocking the solar energy potential of all roofs.

Helmer Schukken, Managing Partner Rubio: “Half of the commercial and industrial roofs in the Netherlands are too weak for solar panels; that is tens of thousands of soccer fields of surface area that remain unused for solar energy. With RABLE, we can provide those tens of thousandsoccer fields with solar panels; that is a huge amount of additional solar energy in places where the electricity can also be used directly.”

Want to find out more about RABLE? Watch the video above or visit their website.

Impact Theme

  • Circular Solutions

SDG Alignment

  • #7 Affordable clean energy