GAF Energy Announces Head of Research and Development

GAF Energy, a Standard Industries company focused on transforming solar roofing, announced that Gabriela Bunea has joined the company as Head of Research and Development. In her new role based in the Bay Area, Dr. Bunea will lead development and innovation of solar technology at GAF Energy.

“Gabi is a world class leader in solar technology, and we are thrilled for her to direct our R&D efforts at GAF Energy,” said David Winter, co-CEO of Standard Industries. “Her technical expertise and creative approach to energy-efficient solutions will be central in driving innovation and helping us achieve our mission to generate energy from every roof.”

Led by Martin DeBono, GAF Energy is driving the next frontier of integrated solar technology directly into rooftop materials. Given the scale of investment and GAF’s broad customer base, GAF Energy is in a prime position to accelerate the adoption of affordable residential rooftop solar, delivering high quality products at scale. With Dr. Bunea at the helm, GAF Energy’s research and development team will design the solar roof of the future.

“Gabi has a proven track record in the solar industry, and she brings unparalleled technical expertise to GAF Energy,” added David Millstone, co-CEO of Standard Industries. “Combining our strategic focus and the scale of our roofing businesses with Gabi’s innovative leadership will pioneer new and affordable solar solutions for our customers around the world.”

Dr. Bunea brings 20 years of extensive technical experience and leadership in the solar and microelectronics industries to GAF Energy, most recently as Vice President of Research, Development and Deployment at SunPower Corporation. Prior to that, she held multiple roles managing Module Research, Development, Deployment and Product Design at SunPower, and previously worked as a Member of the Technical Staff in the Microelectronics Division at Lucent Technology. She holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Boston University and is an active member in IEEE Women in Engineering.

For more information, visit www.gaf.energy.

Standard Industries Launches GAF Energy to Focus on Rooftop Solar Industry

Standard Industries announced the launch of GAF Energy, a new company that aims to revolutionize the adoption of rooftop solar for everyday consumers.Working in partnership with GAF, a Standard Industries company and the largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer in North America, GAF Energy will drive scalable adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. Customers will benefit from a streamlined, turnkey approach to going solar when selecting GAF Energy, from planning and financing, to installation and permitting with utilities.

“As the largest global player in roofing and waterproofing, we will reshape the way clean solar energy becomes a reality for everyone,” said David Millstone, co-CEO of Standard Industries. “We believe that roofing is real estate and we see a future with energy from every roof. GAF Energy’s offerings will empower people to put their roofs to work with technology that is attractive, accessible and affordable.”

GAF Energy empowers roofing contractors across the United States with a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installations, bypassing the high-cost of customer acquisition most pure solar technology companies face today. With dedicated support teams and training for project management, design, permitting and installation of GAF Energy’s integrated solar roofs, local and regional contractors can effectively grow their businesses while meeting demand for more clean and sustainable sources of energy.

“We are best positioned to accelerate the growth of residential solar with over a century of waterproofing experience and the largest network of roofing distributors and contractors in the world.  Our team is in the kitchen with the homeowner at the moment a new roof is required: the most perfect time to provide the opportunity to go green. We couldn’t be more excited to have Martin DeBono and a world class team lead the evolution of rooftop solar for years to come,” said David Winter, co-CEO of Standard Industries.

“GAF Energy capitalizes on the historic challenges facing the rooftop solar industry — acquisition and installation costs — and turns them into demonstrable strengths, making it easy for customers to say ‘yes’ to solar rooftops,” said Martin DeBono, President of GAF Energy. “Our product is smart, integrated and economical, and we hope it will mark a fundamental shift in rooftop solar adoption around the world.”

With offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York Metro Area, GAF Energy is building a world-class team to generate Energy From Every Roof. Learn more about some of the new opportunities at GAF Energy by visiting our careers page, and join us in forging the future of rooftop solar.

For more information, visit www.gaf.energy, www.standardindustries.com and www.gaf.com.

California’s Alternative-Energy Paradigm Could Mean Opportunities for Roofing Contractors

Photos: PetersenDean Roofing & Solar

The importance of solar energy to provide renewable energy options and protect the health of our environment is a national movement that got a big boost in California recently. The state government adopted new policies to establish a more progressive foundation for the use of solar power in residential buildings as part and parcel of its pioneering “net-zero” mission.

While California is at the leading edge of solar energy production, other states such as Colorado, New Jersey and Virginia are not far behind. So, whether roofing companies are working in California or somewhere else in the country — especially the so-called “sunshine states” — it would be smart for them to better understand the state-of-the-art technologies as well as nuts-and-bolts mechanics of high-performance solar energy systems.

Solar Energy Systems on Every New Home

Of most interest to roofers in California is a far-reaching energy policy adopted earlier this year by the California Energy Commission requiring that solar photovoltaic (PV) electric systems be installed on virtually every new residential dwelling built in the state starting in 2020. “California is about to take a quantum leap in energy standards,” stated Robert Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association. “No other state in the nation mandates solar, and we are about to take that leap.”

For California’s roofing industry, this pro-solar policy could open the door for significant new business opportunities as home builders prepare for the 2020 implementation.

California’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards requires that all residential structures install solar energy systems beginning in 2020. Photos: PetersenDean Roofing & Solar

California has been a leading proponent of solar power for the past decade with its goal of reaching net-zero energy usage by 2045. Committed to the long-term use of solar power, the California Energy Commission took a major step toward achieving that goal, and beyond, by adopting a policy in May of this year that will make solar energy systems standard on virtually every new home built in California starting in 2020.

California’s net-zero mission dates to 2007 when the Energy Commission adopted the goal aimed at making homebuilding so efficient “newly constructed buildings can be net zero energy by 2020 for residences and by 2030 for commercial buildings.” Under this policy, solar energy was considered one component of building more energy efficient homes — but was not required.

Now, the new solar mandate, officially called the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, requires that all houses, condos and apartment buildings up to three stories which secure building permits after January 1, 2020, install solar energy systems. The new CEC policy focuses on four key areas: smart residential photovoltaic systems; updated thermal envelope standards (preventing heat transfer from the interior to exterior and vice versa); residential and nonresidential ventilation requirements; and nonresidential lighting requirements. The standards also encourage demand-responsive technologies such as heat pump water heaters, improvements to a building’s thermal envelope to enhance comfort and energy savings by inclusion of high-performance insulation and windows.

“Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever, and at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid,” explains CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the commission’s lead on energy efficiency. “The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy. They will cost less to operate, have healthy indoor air and provide a platform for ‘smart’ technologies that will propel the state even further down the road to a low emissions future.”

A grid-connected residential energy storage system that synergistically combines solar and energy storage can greatly reduce a homeowner’s operational reliance on the local electric utility. Photos: PetersenDean Roofing & Solar

With the new standards in place, more advanced solar products and roofing systems will become the norm as consumers expect optimum performance and maximum savings from their solar investments. Based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that although the new standards could add about $40 to a residential homeowner’s average monthly payment, they will save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills.

“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” explains California Building Industry Association CEO and President Dan Dunmoyer. “This set of cost-effective standards ensures homebuyers will recoup their money over the life of the dwelling.”

SB 700 Boosts Storage Battery Use

California’s most recent pro-solar policy, SB 700, was signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown in September and promises to give use of solar energy another big boost in the state. The new measure extends California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for an additional five years, from the current January 1, 2021 expiration date until January 1, 2026. SGIP provides substantial rebates to homeowners through the state Public Utilities Commission for the installation of energy storage systems that save solar power for use during off hours such as evenings and cloudy days, or during utility blackouts.

This extension should also add to the demand for new and retrofit solar systems — a boost that could benefit roofing companies which also install solar panels.

Understanding this potential, PetersenDean Roofing & Solar is at the forefront of storage battery technology as a key component of our solar energy systems. To this end, we have partnered with SolarEdge, a global leader in PV inverters, power optimizers, and module-level monitoring services, and LG Chem, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer. With this partnership in place, our company has made a major leap towards utilizing state-of-the-art storage battery technology as part of the solar packages we offer to our builder customers and home owners.

High-performance storage systems such as lithium ion batteries also dramatically increase the homeowner’s independence from utilities and the associated challenges related to stability and rate increases with lower energy costs. A grid-connected residential energy storage system that synergistically combines solar and energy storage can greatly reduce a homeowner’s operational reliance on the local electric utility. Simply put, modern batteries make it possible for homeowners to use stored solar energy not only during the night and possible blackouts, but during peak demand times when utility rates are at their highest, thus keeping their monthly utility bills lower.

On a macro level, storage battery technology offers electric utilities the opportunity to create a smarter power grid that, among other benefits, can give the utility better control over managing peak demand and thus reduce the need for new, extremely costly generation plants to cover that demand. Considering all the changes required by utilities and regulatory agencies as these entities respond to the new energy age, this transformational storage technology provides energy producers more creative ways to connect with home builders and home owners, giving them greater control over their efforts to save money and help our environment by using more renewable energy.

This also creates huge potential. The market research firm IHS Markit states that energy storage is considered critical to enabling power delivery systems that are heavily reliant on renewable energy, and batteries will play an important role in this transition. According to Grid-Connected Energy Storage Market Tracker by IHS Markit, 130 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery energy storage will likely be installed worldwide between 2018 and 2025.

Need For Education

Continuing education is critical. As alternative-energy policies such as those adopted by California become more prevalent in states across the country, builders and their planners/architects must be in tune with the changing demands and requirements of structural design and implementation that optimize the performance of solar as well as other non-polluting energy producing systems.

“There is a lack of awareness and technical expertise with respect to creating cost-effective net zero energy communities,” explains Judi G. Schweitzer MRED, AMDP, CALGreen CAC, founder and owner of Orange County, California-basedSchweitzer & Associates. An energy consultant for the state as well as major residential developers, Schweitzer states emphatically that one of the top priorities to achieving optimum performance is education.

Whatever aspect of solar energy production in which a roofing company or other vendor may be involved, ongoing education is key to knowledge and success. To assist roofing companies with education and information, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)hosts as part of its website The Rooftop Solar Resource (www.rooftopsolarresource.com). This site serves as a comprehensive resource for homeowners, business owners, building managers and consumers looking for information regarding solar rooftops, as well as a resource for contractors, suppliers, architects, designers and consultants seeking more information regarding the technical aspects of rooftop solar installations.

Nevertheless, while much has been written and says about solar energy and its benefits, education about system design and proper installation is at best, lagging. For example, we are still amazed as we do our on-the-ground assessments how many residential solar panel systems are improperly designed and installed, such as not orienting solar panels for maximum exposure to the sun.

Along with orientation, Schweitzer points out that the size of a solar PV system will depend on such factors as the location of a home and its relative climate zone. Obviously, solar panels will perform better on homes located in sunbelt states, but even in these regions, design and installation are critical to performance. One other point that falls under education: Something as basic as the correct color of a roof can improve the performance of a solar energy system. Combining a PV system with a so-called cool roof — usually white or light colored — can boost the performance of a solar system by as much as 10 percent. When it comes to the wise production of energy, every percentage point counts.

About the Author: Gary Liardon is president of the Consumer Group Nationwide at PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, a full-service roofing and solar company based in Fremont, California that employs 3,000 workers and operates in 11 states. For more information, visit www.petersendean.com.

MRA to Host Free Residential Rooftop Solar Webinar Nov. 7

When it comes to sustainable building practices, solar is hot. With the availability and interest in residential solar systems growing rapidly nationwide, it’s important for builders, contractors and installers to know the fundamentals and brush up on best practices to help homeowners make informed decisions.

To that end, the Metal Roofing Alliance is hosting a free webinar in partnership with Green Builder titled “Residential Solar System Installation.” The webinar covers design techniques and advanced rooftop installation considerations to help optimize the return on residential roof-mounted solar systems.

The webinar will be held on November 7 at 2 p.m. EST. Free registration sign up is available here. The webinar will feature noted author, presenter and expert Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries, who has spent his long professional career in the metal roofing industry, including providing expertise, ideas and guidance to hundreds of homeowners planning for solar installations.

“Driven by California residential solar mandates coming in 2020, residential solar systems are becoming more mainstream nationwide,” said Renee Ramey, executive director of Metal Roofing Alliance. “To capitalize on the opportunity as well as to help guide homeowners during the planning process, it’s important for the trade to understand the essentials for residential rooftop solar installation.”

Contractors and roofing installers also can find the primer for solar rooftop installation on MRA’s website at www.metalroofing.com, in addition to information about how to become a MRA member and gain access to other education and training related to a wide variety of metal roof topics.

SEIA Adds PetersenDean Roofing & Solar to Its Board of Directors

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the U.S. solar energy industry, announced today that PetersenDean Roofing & Solar has joined SEIA’s board of directors. Gary Liardon, President of Consumer Group Nationwide at PetersenDean, will serve as a director.

“We are thrilled to have the leadership of PetersenDean on our board of directors,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “The solar industry continues to grow amid intensifying competition, and PetersenDean’s guidance on our board will be critical as solar power becomes the single largest source of new electric generating capacity over the next decade.”

Based in Fremont, Calif., PetersenDean is a full-service, privately-held roofing and solar company that has offered professional roofing and solar installation services nationwide for more than 30 years. PetersenDean has been a member of SEIA since 2008, playing a key role in guiding the solar industry through a number of federal and state policy battles in the last decade.

“We are excited to take a more active role with SEIA,” said Gary Liardon. “At this critical juncture in the evolution of the space, we recognize the duty to adopt a hands-on approach that will bring decades of experience to the table and help shape policy that will ensure thoughtful and responsible growth going forward.”

For more information, visit www.seia.org and www.petersendean.com.

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.

For more information, visit www.S-5.com.

PetersenDean Roofing & Solar Acquires Haleakala Solar

PetersenDean Roofing & Solar has just acquired Hawaii-based Haleakala Solar. Founded in 1977, Haleakala Solar is Hawaii’s largest solar and battery installer.

Haleakala Solar has been installing photovoltaic (PV) solar and water heating systems as well as battery storage solutions for more than 40 years and has completed more than 15,000 projects. There are plans to add roofing installations in the first quarter of the transition. The company operates on three of the Hawaiian Islands and plans to expand into a fourth in 2018. The newly acquired company is poised to add approximately 1,000 new jobs and grow to approximately $100 million in sales over the next 24 months.

Jim Whitcomb, founder of Haleakala Solar, approached Jim Petersen, CEO and President of PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, late last year for a strategic purchase.  “It seemed like the perfect synergy between the two companies,” stated Whitcomb. “In 40 years, Haleakala has grown into the largest residential PV installer in Hawaii so it would only make sense to go straight to the largest rooftop PV installer in the United States when the time came to hand over the reins. We share a commitment to excellence and PetersenDean’s size, organization, and impeccable reputation will take the company to a new level.”

This new acquisition now positions PetersenDean as the nation’s largest publicly- and privately-held roofing and solar company.PetersenDean is a perfect fit for Hawaii given our size and product offerings, in addition, we have the finance options to truly help the island community to install a new roof, solar or a home battery at very low monthly payments,” said Petersen. “We look forward to growing our business in Hawaii and adding more American jobs in doing so.”

Gary Liardon, the President of the Consumer Division of PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, is heading up this transition as well as the additional acquisitions planned across the United States in 2018. “We are excited to add Mr. Whitcomb and the Haleakala team to the ranks. Mr. Whitcomb will stay on and take an active role in the sales development segment of the company in Hawaii as we add new verticals to the market and expand to the remaining islands.”

This planned expansion will increase employment in this Hawaiian segment of the organization to over 1,000 jobs in the next 24 months. Currently, Haleakala Solar employs about 125.

Hawaii has long been a leader in renewable energy. In 2015, it set a mandate that 100 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy by 2045. Regulators also just approved Hawaii Electric’s grid modernization plan along with a suite of demand response and solar tariff programs.

“Solar is a critical part of the state’s energy portfolio. The islands are a virtual incubator for all new technology in this space especially because of the state mandates that require all of the islands to be operating on 100 percent renewable energy by 2045,” said Liardon. “Hawaii already boasts some of the highest shares of renewable energy in the country, all on islands isolated from the stability of neighboring grids. That’s made them a natural testing ground for new technologies and regulatory models, including battery-backed solar and wind farms, aggregated demand response and energy storage, peak-shifting electric vehicle charging, and voltage-smoothing smart inverters and grid power electronics.”

PetersenDean continues to represent stability and innovation in both renewable energy and home improvement markets. The company’s solid fiscal performance and scalable systematic approach are paving the way for substantial growth over the next few years.  “With the balance sheet, leadership, and strategic growth roadmap currently in place the company is on pace to grow from $400 million to over $1 billion in revenues over the next few years,” said Petersen.

For more information, visit www.petersendean.com.

PetersenDean Roofing & Solar Names SolarEdge and LG Chem as Preferred Suppliers

PetersenDean Roofing & Solar has joined forces with SolarEdge, a global leader in PV inverters, power optimizers, and module-level monitoring services, and LG Chem, the global leader in lithium-ion batteries. By offering the combination of SolarEdge and LG Chem solutions, PetersenDean will provide homeowners an affordable path to solar ownership and energy storage.

SolarEdge will supply an intelligent inverter solution that maximizes power generation at the individual PV module level. This solution includes StorEdge technology, which manages PV production, consumption, and both on-grid and backup storage to help increase energy independence for PetersenDean’s residential installations. LG Chem will provide the Residential Energy Storage Unit (RESU) 10H 9.8 kWh battery pack, which is compatible with SolarEdge and uses the same technology that has been used in other LG Chem applications.

“Technology has significantly evolved over the years—especially with batteries and inverters. PetersenDean is proud to offer these two well-trusted brands to customers,” said Jim Petersen, president and CEO of PetersenDean Roofing & Solar. “Both of these companies’ commitment to technology, coupled with efficient and high-quality manufacturing processes produces solutions that exhibit the highest levels of safety, performance, and reliability.”

Providing PetersenDean customers with intelligently managed energy storage from reliable companies, this solution helps meet an important goal for PetersenDean, which installs about 2,000 solar and roof systems each month nationally and is the nation’s largest privately held roofing and solar company.

“During the last few years, our customers have been asking us for better home energy storage solutions. While some systems only function when the grid goes down, others only work to help limit grid use in moments when their solar system is not producing the amount of energy needed to power their home. By combining SolarEdge’s StorEdge solution with LG Chem batteries, customers can enjoy both options by managing and monitoring PV and battery status through a single platform. It provides the peace of mind that when the grid goes down, they’ll still have power backup,” said Petersen.

Petersen added that customers will save substantially in the long term. “Storage systems such as this help customers improve their system payback by increasing the amount of PV energy they consume. They can store excess solar and draw from it when needed. This avoids unnecessary fees and taxes, while giving them the flexibility in an ever-changing utility landscape.”

According to the company, LG Chem is the global leader in lithium-ion batteries in with a market-leading position in advanced batteries for grid-scale, residential storage and automotive applications. Its lithium ion battery technology is the product of 23 years of experience in the development and production of mobile batteries and large format batteries for automotive and energy storage systems. For residential storage applications, LG Chem is using the same technology that has been used in its utility-scale projects.

Linh Tran, Sales Manager of LG Chem said, “With the growth and advancement of residential storage batteries, we are pleased to team up with a leading installer, PetersenDean specializing in new residential and commercial construction in US market.”

Supporting increased PV proliferation, the SolarEdge system consists of power optimizers, inverters, smart energy management, and a cloud-based monitoring platform. SolarEdge’s solutions address a broad range of solar market segments, from residential solar installations to commercial and small utility-scale solar installations.

“At SolarEdge, our mission is to lead the way in providing smart, renewable energy for people everywhere,” stated Peter Mathews, North America General Manager for SolarEdge. “As the largest inverter company supplying the U.S. residential market, we’re pleased that our technology is part of PetersenDean Roofing & Solar’s product offering. This represents another step forward in bringing smart solar energy solutions to consumers nationwide.”

According to the company, PetersenDean is the nation’s largest privately held solar and roofing company and known for its mission to source as many tried and true Tier 1 roofing and solar products, many of which are manufactured in the United States. Along with Mission Solar Energy, PetersenDean solar system includes Buy-American-Act-compliant panels, inverters and racking installed by the construction company’s national workforce.

For more information, visit www.petersendean.com.

 

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.”

For more information, visit www.aurorasolar.com.

Solar Roof Dynamics Announces Management Additions

Solar Roof Dynamics (SRD) of Davis, Calif., has announced two new additions to their executive management team, Debbie Schrider as its new vice president of sales and Nick Lowrie as its director of operations.

Schrider joins SRD bringing with her 25 years of sales and management experience, most of which was based in residential new construction and the solar industry. With almost 10 years of experience in solar, she had held leadership positions at SolarCity and SunEdison, where she focused on customer acquisition, and One Block Off the Grid, where she helped pioneer remote-based solar sales.

Lowrie comes to SRD with solar operations and design experience and a track record of building high performance operations teams. Most notably, Lowrie spent eight years building the Northern California operations for SolarCity.

“I am elated to bring Debbie Schrider and Nick Lowrie onto our team during a time of growth,” CEO Aaron Nitzkin states. “Their wealth of experience and innovative spirit will bring great results for Solar Roof Dynamics and our Signature Dealer Network.”