GAF Energy Honored with Renewable Energy Leaders Award by Los Angeles Business Council

GAF Energy was presented with the prestigious “Renewable Energy Leaders Award” by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) for the company’s contributions towards innovative financing solutions and progressive support for rooftop PV solar projects in the Los Angeles region. The LABC also recognized the GAF Energy team for bringing financing opportunities within the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Feed-in Tariff, a renewable energy program that allows property owners and developers to generate and sell clean energy to help achieve the city’s renewable energy goals. 

“We are honored to receive this award from one of California’s most influential economic and environmental leaders,” said Jason Barrett, Vice President of Residential & Commercial Sales for GAF Energy. “LABC has been a critical partner for GAF Energy in the Los Angeles area, helping advocate for innovative public-private partnerships that lead to greater clean energy deployment across the state.” 

“The LABC applauds GAF Energy for their ongoing commitment to deliver renewable energy projects to California,” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. “Thanks to GAF Energy’s contributions to innovative financing solutions, the Los Angeles area is now experiencing greater solar adoption that supports a healthy economy and a cleaner environment.”

The award was presented to GAF Energy at the 2020 LABC Sustainability Summit, an annual convening of business, government and nonprofit leaders. The summit seeks to address critical topics like international climate policy, regionalization of the energy grid, and California’s resilience strategy in the face of growing natural disasters. 

For more information on financing opportunities, please contact Charles Yawson, Director Renewable Energy Investments at GAF Energy:

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Improved PV Kit Offers Easier Installation

S-5! releases PV Kit 2.0 EdgeGrab and PV Kit 2.0 MidGrab, offering solar panel installers significant improvements and easier installation.

Among the improvements to the new PV Kit 2.0:

  • Only one tool needed for installation
  • Preassembled components save time and money
  • Installs with module, reducing lay-out time
  • Single-piece EdgeGrab installs with ease
  • Versatile: same kit for most modules
  • Creates a 1-inch gap between modules, allowing load reduction per ASCE-7
  • Improved disk design works with all S-5! clamps and exposed-fastened brackets
  • UL 2703 Listed (Pending)

S-5! introduced the original direct-attachment solar panel system 11 years ago. By listening to customer feedback, S-5! has created PV Kit 2.0 to solve installer bottlenecks, while improving installation time. These enhancements make the PV Kit 2.0 the most cost-effective PV mounting solution for installers, design professionals and building owners.

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3-D Modeling Tool Aids in Solar Design Projects

SmartRoofAurora Solar Inc., a solar design software company, offers SmartRoof, a tool that allows anyone to accurately and easily model residential and commercial sites for solar projects. According to the company, SmartRoof intelligently infers the internal structure of a roof after a few clicks, reducing solar design time and difficulty.

According to the company, SmartRoof requires just an outline of the perimeter of the roof to automatically infer its internal structure. It allows solar designers to drag and drop dormers into the model, integrating them into their respective roof planes seamlessly. The remote site modeling tool enables designers to insert folds and intersect multiple roof structures, making modeling of complex roof structures significantly easier. The resulting 3-D model has clean edges, right-angled corners, and evenly tilted roof planes, giving designers and solar salespeople alike the ability to easily create permit-ready models.

Christopher Hopper, CEO of Aurora Solar, said, “We started Aurora with the goal of developing technology that would enable anyone to design solar easily and quickly, without sacrificing quality. An accurate roof model is foundational to the residential solar design process, so we set out to rethink the modeling process from the ground up. After over a year of development, we’re proud to introduce SmartRoof: a novel way to model roofs that has the potential to revolutionize solar design.”

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CertainTeed Building Products Receive Top Ratings

Just in time for spring home improvement projects, CertainTeed building products are receiving a definitive thumbs up from building professionals through Builder magazine’s 2016 Brand Use Study. Based on input from more than 1,300 builders and general contractors, CertainTeed insulated and vinyl siding products were overall brand leaders for the 20th consecutive year. CertainTeed’s exterior mouldings and columns, synthetic and asphalt roofing shingles and photovoltaic roofing systems enjoyed a near-sweep of their respective categories. And CertainTeed insulation products received top ranking in brand familiarity among the building community.

“Builder magazine’s annual study represents the voice of building professionals and value they place on the various key products. We have a long-standing track record as a brand that building professionals trust for beautiful, innovative and sustainable materials,” says Mara Villanueva-Heras, vice president of Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corp. “We value their confidence and loyalty and appreciate their continued support. As a benchmark for the industry, it confirms that CertainTeed offers a credible, one-stop resource for builders looking to boost the curb appeal, energy efficiency and value to the homes they build.”

Each year, Builder magazine publishes its Brand Use Study to provide an in-depth look at the brands that builders, developers, and general contractors recognize and use most. Conducted by The Farnsworth Group, products were ranked by ‘Brand Familiarity,’ ‘Brand Used in Past Two Years,’ ‘Brand Used Most’ and ‘Quality Rating.’

For the 20th year in a row, CertainTeed vinyl siding and CedarBoards insulated siding were selected as the No. 1 choices across the board. A highly engineered alternative to wood siding, vinyl siding offered in more than 40 different colors and the widest selection of lap and vertical siding options. Molded from real cedar boards and backed with polystyrene insulation, CedarBoards insulated vinyl siding can increase overall thermal performance, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs. All CertainTeed siding products offer durability, ease-of-maintenance, and are backed by a lifetime, limited warranty.

In addition, this year CertainTeed exterior mouldings and columns were recognized as No. 1 in familiarity, brands used in the past two years and the brand used most. The product category includes low-maintenance EverNew vinyl porch post columns and Certa-Snap vinyl post wraps; as well as Restoration Millwork cellular PVC post wraps for easy, accurate installation around existing wood load bearing posts and long lasting curb appeal.

For the fifth year running, CertainTeed’s solar systems have been selected as industry leaders in the photovoltaic roofing system category. And in 2015 and 2016, the panels ranked No. 1 in all classifications. Apollo II features 60-watt monocrystalline PV panels that fully integrate with asphalt roofing shingles for a clean, seamless appearance. Apollo Tile II is also available for integration with flat, concrete tile roofs. Solstice, CertainTeed’s rack-mounted solar solution, utilizes 60-cell monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels with power ratings from 260 to 285 watts. All modules are made in the U.S. and backed by the industry’s most comprehensive roof and solar warranty.

CertainTeed offers a wide array of designer, luxury and traditional roofing shingle options with a variety of durable profiles, textures, colors and styles. For two consecutive years, the manufacturer ranked number one across the board in the Synthetic/Concrete/Clay Tile category for Symphony, a specially-engineered composite shingle manufactured to mimic the look and feel of natural slate—but in a lighter and more durable form that is a fraction of the price. And in the highly competitive asphalt shingle category, CertainTeed proudly ranked No. 1 in quality, brand familiarity, and as the brand used most in the past two years.

The company’s interior products also got a big nod this year, with insulation ranking No. 1 in brand familiarity. The comprehensive line of CertainTeed insulation products and equipment include time-tested and trusted fiberglass insulation batts and rolls, fiberglass blow-in insulation, polyurethane spray foam, innovative vapor retarder technology, and highly regarded HVAC products, as well as insulation blowing and foam application equipment. The high-performance product line helps contribute to a family’s complete indoor comfort through advanced thermal performance, moisture management to help prevent mold and mildew growth; air tightness to help reduce energy demand and costs; and acoustics by reducing sound transmission between rooms.

Converting Existing Carports to Solar Carports with Flexible PV Modules

Rooftop solar has become commonplace on commercial buildings and homes. Although a residential home often has sufficient rooftop area to power the home 100 percent with solar, this is not always true with multi-story commercial buildings, apartments and condominiums. The properties often do not have the necessary roof space to offset their energy needs with solar. This situation can also apply to low-rise buildings with high electrical usage, such as factories, big-box stores and warehouses.

The Miasole FLEX Series PV Modules

The Miasole FLEX Series PV Modules

Carports have become a standard feature on many commercial and multifamily properties. Even buildings without carports have parking lots with space for them. Carports provide users the benefit of shading cars and protecting cars and people from rain and snow. Carports keep cars cool, reducing the power required to air condition them when they’re started and reducing sun damage to the car finish. From an environmental standpoint, carports help migrate the heat island effect in which large concrete and asphalt parking lots absorb heat during the day and release the heat at night. This additional heat can drastically change local weather patterns, especially in metropolitan areas.

In recent years, building owners have been installing new carports with solar PV modules. These solar carports have all the benefits of traditional carports with the added advantage of producing clean renewable solar energy while reducing the need to add rooftop solar to buildings.

In many places, existing carports were designed and built with minimal steel support structures and the metal roof and deck panels are already spanning the maximum distance between supports to keep costs down. Most were built to meet the minimum local wind and live-load code requirements. With the cost of solar installations falling, utility energy costs rising and increased interest in improving the environment while reducing a building’s carbon footprint, building owners are interested in retrofitting their existing carports with solar modules. Unfortunately, many of these existing carport structures cannot support the additional 4- to 6-pounds-per-square-foot weight of standard crystalline PV modules and associated racking and rails. The only solution available to the owner is to structurally upgrade the carport or tear it down and replace it with a carport designed for the extra weight of solar. Even if the existing carport structure can support the weight, retrofitting the carport with solar can be technically challenging and expensive.

MiaSolé has developed two solar application solutions to solve the live-load limitations of many existing carports. MiaSolé manufactures a flexible lightweight high-efficiency (16 percent plus) CIGS-based flexible PV module weighing less than 9 ounces per square foot in two format sizes: the narrow-format FLEX-N series designed for traditional architectural standing-seam metal roof panels and the wide-format FLEX-W series. Both can be applied to the carport roof with a simple peel-n-stick adhesive.

Standing-seam Panel

Miasole FLEX-N on standing-seam metal panels.

Miasole FLEX-N on standing-seam metal panels.

Two roofers can easily apply the FLEX-N series to the existing carport metal panels:

  • Power wash the roof.
  • Wipe down the areas where the FLEX-N modules will be applied with rubbing alcohol.
  • On the standing-seam metal panel (16- to 18-inches wide) lay down the module.
  • One roofer lifts up the module at the j-box end, removes the release film from the adhesive and sets the module down.
  • The second roofer at the other end lifts up and supports the module.
  • The first roofer continues to remove the release film and lays down the module, rubbing the module with his hand to ensure full contact.
  • Once the module is fully adhered, both roofers use a silicone roller to bond the module to the metal pan surface.

Trapezoidal Rib Panel

Although architectural standing-seam panels are frequently used on carports, the 7.2 trapezoidal rib panel is the metal roof industry’s most commonly used corrugated roof panel for carports. Nearly every major metal roof and steel building manufacturer offers a 7.2 rib panel type profile.

The 7.2 corrugated rib panel is economical, strong and aesthetically pleasing while offering excellent spanning and cantilever capabilities, making it an excellent choice for carports and walkway canopies. The 7.2 rib panel with its long-spanning performance helps lower costs by reducing the number of purlins and structural steel needed. The ability to use long metal panels and fastening with exposed fasteners on slopes as low as 1:12 greatly reduces labor costs.

Installing the Miasole FLEX W on a 7.2 Metal panel

Installing the Miasole FLEX-W on a 7.2 metal panel.

Working with several major metal roof manufacturers such as McElroy Metal and one of the solar carport leading builders, Baja Construction, MiaSolé modified the adhesive patterns on the MiaSolé FLEX-W, the large-format PV module originally designed for low-slope single-ply roofs. The new adhesive pattern makes it simple to bond the MiaSolé Flex-W module directly across the standard 7.2 corrugated rib profile. By eliminating the need for racks and rails, the powerful 360-watt FLEX-W PV module can be rapidly installed by just two roofers over any existing carport or walkway. With a low-slope roof canopy, solar orientation—the direction the carport is facing—is less critical.

Two roofers can easier apply the FLEX-W series to the existing carport metal panels:

  • The existing carport is power washed to remove any dirt and debris from the metal roof surface.
  • Any loose panel fasteners are tightened and missing fasteners replaced.
  • The areas where the FLEX modules are to be installed are cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
  • The FLEX modules are laid down across the corrugated ribs, and the adhesive strips are aligned with the ribs.
  • On one end, the roofer lifts up the module, peels back the adhesive release film, lays the module back down on the 7.2 panel ribs and presses down to bond the module to the ribs.
  • The second roofer on the other end repeats the same process.
  • Both roofers finish bonding the module by rolling the adhesive areas with a silicone roller to ensure complete adhesion to the metal panel.

MiaSolé FLEX series PV modules make it possible to economically convert existing carports with live-load limitations into new solar carports without having to make any major structural modifications. Even on new solar carports, the MiaSolé FLEX series modules can reduce labor and construction cost by reducing the need for heavy steel support structures and allowing longer metal panels with fewer support purlins.

The peel-and-stick adhesive system reduces labor costs while speeding up installation time. Unlike conventional rigid crystalline panels, the flexible MiaSolé FLEX modules work over curved roof structures for solar carports, solar walkways and solar awnings.

Solar PV Tiles Fit Alongside Standard Roof Tiles

The Intecto integrated solar PV tile from Romag is specially designed to fit seamlessly alongside standard residential and commercial roof tiles and is available in a range of colours to match existing roof coverings.

The Intecto integrated solar PV tile from Romag is specially designed to fit seamlessly alongside standard residential and commercial roof tiles and is available in a range of colours to match existing roof coverings.

A new concept in building integrated PV products from solar manufacturer Romag means property aesthetics, building design and visual appearance need not be compromised by rooftop solar Installations.

The Intecto integrated solar PV tile is specially designed to fit seamlessly alongside standard residential and commercial roof tiles and is available in a range of colours to match existing roof coverings.

The system has been specifically developed to enable architects, house builders and roofing contractors to provide an effective rooftop PV solution with a conventional appearance and without any compromise in solar power production.

Installed directly and securely onto wood roofing battens using a guaranteed fixing system, the frameless Intecto units sit flush with conventional interlocking concrete, clay and terracotta tiles and can be used to provide a whole roof PV solution if required.

The lightweight tiles reduce roof loading, eliminating the need for any roof reinforcement, and contribute to higher Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM ratings.

The special roof integrated tiles have been developed to meet design and aesthetic considerations, and can be used to meet specific planning conditions. They are also appropriate for use in heritage and green-belt areas, where the requirement is for rooftop solar PV systems that maintain the integrity of individual buildings and their local environment.

The Intecto roof tiles incorporate the same high-quality PV cells used in Romag’s existing range of PV products, enabling the system to provide the same weatherproofing and protection measures provided by traditional tiles, but with the added benefit of renewable energy generation.

Available in black, grey and terracotta colours, the new range is fully IEC and MCS certified and complies with other international and European building industry regulations and roofing performance standards.

Flisom Receives Investment from Tata Group for Thin-film Solar Module Production Plant

Flisom, a Swiss company developing innovative technologies for manufacturing of flexible thin-film CIGS solar modules (copper-indium-gallium-(di)selenide), has received an additional investment of CHF 10 million following an earlier investment of CHF 42.5 million in 2013 for the pilot production plant with an annual capacity of 15MW in Niederhasli-Zurich in Switzerland. During the last years, Flisom improved the design of roll-to-roll manufacturing machines for processing and scaled them up from 50-centimeter-wide to 1-meter-wide rolls—an unprecedented scale of manufacturing capability for continuous processing of cost-efficient, high-performance monolithically interconnected flexible CIGS solar modules on plastic foil.

This fourth round of funding comes from Flisom’s existing strategic investor, the Tata group, a global enterprise headquartered in India. “We are very pleased with this further investment from the Tata group coming on the eve of the inauguration of Flisom’s 15 MW capacity pilot production plant, and we thank the Tata group and existing investors for their continued support,” says Ayodhya Nath Tiwari, chairman of Flisom Co.

“We appreciate the systematic approach towards innovation and the continuous hard work of Flisom’s team in developing a unique manufacturing plant, while partnering with Empa with several efficiency-related records for flexible solar cells,” says K.R.S. Jamwal, executive director, Tata Industries. He adds, “This investment marks Tata group’s interest in next-generation technology for the solar photovoltaic industry.”

“With the investment received in 2013, Flisom refurbished an old manufacturing building of 4,500-square-meter ground area in Niederhasli, in the outskirts of Zurich, to install all the needed machines for solar module manufacturing on 1-meter-wide rolls. At the same time, Flisom continued technology development on 50-centimeter-wide rolls at its Dübendorf plant, located on the campus of Empa,” says Flisom’s COO, Sudheer Kumar.

The CEO of Flisom, Ulfert Rühle says: “After the successful installation of machines and other factory infrastructure in Niederhasli, the next step is to transfer the process know-how on these high-tech machines using specifically customized designs. Some of the machines are based on many years of development by experts, innovative proprietary designs and complex engineering making Flisom’s machines unique for achieving cost and performance efficiency targets for a breakthrough manufacturing”.

“The 15MW plant will serve as a proven blueprint for establishing larger production plants having a production capacity greater than 100 MW as well as low capital and operating expenditures. Flisom has been working steadily towards lowering the costs of manufacturing of flexible solar modules,” adds CEO Rühle.

Flisom’s high-performance, lightweight, and robust products and systems could lower the price of solar electricity thanks to low material usage, economic production technology, and reduced storage, transportation and installation costs. Markets addressable by Flisom’s flexible solar module manufacturing technology include utility scale solar farms, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), building applied photovoltaics (BAPV), transportation and portable power.

Ayodhya N. Tiwari, founder of the ETHZ spin-off company Flisom and the head of the Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics, Empa-Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technologies, believes that the high-efficiency flexible and lightweight CIGS thin-film solar cells have great potential to provide low-cost installed solar systems, bringing many beneficial features together in a very unique manner. In addition to the economic benefits, CIGS thin-film solar modules, known for faster energy payback than the mainstream Si wafer technology, will significantly contribute to CO2 reduction. Future norms and regulations are expected to enforce application of carbon footprint reducing technologies. Therefore, the broad range of applications of flexible lightweight CIGS modules, especially in buildings, will open up untapped markets worth several billion euros while advantageously reducing carbon footprint. This goal is achievable with highly efficient, long-term performance stable, low-cost solar modules produced in a low-capex production plant.

Empa and Flisom have been cooperating for a number of years to develop a unique industrial-scale production platform for CIGS thin-film solar modules. “Scale-up for large-area solar modules and adapting these complex innovative processes for industrial manufacturability is quite a challenge and requires close collaboration between research labs and industrial partners for transferring research excellence to industrial usability,” says Pierangelo Groening, head of the Department of Advanced Materials and Surfaces and member of Empa’s Board of Directors. ”For industrial partners such as Flisom, we provide support on different topics to enable industrial development of novel and innovative concepts, which often require sophisticated analytical tools and skilled experts.” Empa CEO Gian-Luca Bona adds: “We are pleased that Empa’s innovations in the field of renewable energy, especially in photovoltaics, are being transferred to industry for the benefits of a more sustainable society with a growing energy demand. This example perfectly illustrates Empa’s role as a bridge between research and practical applications.”

“Flisom is thankful to Empa for very valuable and sustained research and development support over several years. Flisom also thanks Swiss federal and European funding agencies for their continuous support. Besides the technological progress, the number of employees during the last two years have gone up to more than 55 now, and of course more employment opportunities for technically skilled persons are open for the production plant in Niederhasli,” says Flisom CEO Ulfert Rühle.

Thin-film PV Provides Greater than 16 Percent Cell Efficiency

MiaSolé has made available its second-generation FLEX Series Modules.

MiaSolé has made available its second-generation FLEX Series Modules.

MiaSolé has made available its second-generation FLEX Series Modules. The CIGS-based flexible thin-film PV modules provide greater than 16 percent cell efficiency for many types of roof applications. FLEX-02W module is 39 by 102 inches, rated at 360 watts and designed for low-slope commercial single-ply roof systems. FLEX-02N module is 14.6 by 102 inches, rated at 120W and designed for standing-seam metal roofs. Both modules bond to the roof surface with a simple peel-and-stick adhesive, which eliminates the need for racking and reduces labor and logistics costs. The FLEX-02 Series modules are IEC 61646, IEC 61730 and UL 1703 certified.

The Growing Solar Industry Demands Certified Solar Roofing Professionals Complete Installations

During my 35 years in the roofing industry and seven years as a solar photovoltaic (PV) professional, I have noticed several issues that often arise during rooftop PV installations.

  • It is important to spend time with customers, ensuring they are educated and informed prior to choosing a PV system for their project.
  • Installers must understand and implement proper safety practices for rooftop work. Often, roof-mounted PV installations are best completed by individuals who have experience with the hazard exposures of roofing environments.
  • Quality products that fulfill the applications’ needs and specifications must be installed.
  • Attention to installation details is often overlooked, yet is a fundamental aspect of successful solar installations.
  • Customer satisfaction is best achieved with frequent communication, like regular progress reports and follow-ups.
  • The dynamics of today’s solar market require diversification, qualification and excellent service to meet PV project demands.

The Certified Solar Roofing Professional (CSRP) credential is overseen by Rosemont, Ill.-based Roof Integrated Solar Energy, or RISE. RISE evaluates and certifies solar roofing professionals for knowledge about critical roof system construction and maintenance practices necessary to support successful rooftop solar-energy installations. Achieving the CSRP credential matched our company philosophy of ensuring a roof-mounted PV installation will not adversely affect a roof system’s performance.

As a member of the first group who earned the CSRP credential, I clearly understood the potential benefits to my company and, more importantly, what this would mean to my customers. I believe becoming a RISE CSRP, and being recognized by an independent organization, provides credibility and a competitive advantage in the growing and demanding PV marketplace. The additional training and education needed to achieve and maintain the CSRP credential is specific to the related tasks involved in rooftop solar installation.

The CSRP credential helps assure homeowners, business owners, architects and developers that their new PV project is up to the task. These owners expect and deserve to know that all aspects of the project (solar, roofing, electrical, design and several other important factors) are being addressed to achieve a successful integration of their PV and roofing systems. By choosing a CSRP, they are assured their projects will be handled by the most capable professionals.

Once earned, there are several requirements to maintain the CSRP credential. These include continuing education to keep up with the latest in PV and roofing technologies, as well as engaging in other professional activities, such as presenting at industry trade shows or other public forums.

Meeting these requirements continues to enhance my career. It also affirms to our customers that I am well-informed about the fast changing solar industry, including best business practices, application methods and technologies. Therefore, I’m very capable of meeting their expectations and demands. Maintaining my CSRP credential also helps me contribute more directly to my company’s success by keeping other employees informed.

There are a lot of so-called solar professionals out there who do not have the proper credentials, experience or knowledge to properly install a PV system. They may inadvertently negatively affect a customer’s roof performance and service life, as well as the performance of the PV system.

We recently have experienced an increase in calls for roof repair services. When we first visit these projects, it is immediately evident an installer failed to properly integrate the roof, waterproofing and electrical details when installing the solar PV system. Unfortunately, I have seen leaks, fires and inoperable systems—all of which harm the roofing and solar industry’s reputation. A CSRP could have helped address these issues for the customer upfront and thus avoided incurring additional expenses above the original installation, as well as other economic losses from an inoperable PV system.

Calling a CSRP puts you on the right path to a quality installation. Often, it is said good business practices go a long way, and I have found this to be spot on. I have always been proud of the work my company provides its customers. And earning my CSRP credential fostered a stronger desire to reach for higher standards in the roofing and solar industry. I am looking forward to providing rooftop PV services and representing the CSRP program for many years to come. I know that by being a CSRP, I am ensuring my customer’s roof installations will continue doing their primary job: protecting buildings from the elements.

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Become a Certified Solar Roofing Professional today!

Solar Roofing System Delivers More Wattage

CertainTeed Corp.’s Apollo II solar roofing system has been upgraded to 60-watt monocrystalline integrated photovoltaic panels.

CertainTeed Corp.’s Apollo II solar roofing system has been upgraded to 60-watt monocrystalline integrated photovoltaic panels.

CertainTeed Corp.’s Apollo II solar roofing system has been upgraded to 60-watt monocrystalline integrated photovoltaic panels. The lightweight, durable panels are resistant to wind uplift and can be integrated into an existing roof or installed as a new roof that combines solar panels and asphalt shingles or flat concrete tiles. Each 12-pound module features 14 high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells. Its low-profile design does not require structural reinforcement or evaluation. The product also features an open space under the modules to allow for easy electrical wiring. Water channels and raised fastener locations further improve waterproofing of the roof system.