OMG Roofing Products Names Solar Business Manager

OMG Roofing Products has hired Kevin Kervick as solar products business manager, reporting to Adam Cincotta, director of the company’s Adhesives/Solar Business Unit.

In his new role, Kevin is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan for the company’s solar business, as well as for managing solar sales, product development and profitability.

For the past four years, Kevin has been a sales and marketing consultant, most recently working with the Spencer Brewery, a start-up venture. Earlier he was owner and chief marketing officer for the Bassette Company, a commercial printing and marketing company based in Springfield, Mass. 

Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Babson College.

For more information, visit OMGRoofing.com.

A Talented Team and the Right Products Secure Massive 1.32 MW Solar Array

Replacements, Ltd.’s facility in in Greensboro, North Carolina, is topped by a 200,000-square-foot array of photovoltaic panels. Photos: S-5!

Replacements Ltd., based in Greensboro, North Carolina, touts itself as the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal and silver. The company specializes in locating and supplying hard-to-find and discontinued patterns. Their flagship location houses approximately 12 million items from around 450,000 patterns, and their arena-sized warehouse spans eight football fields.

Always proponents of sustainability, Replacements Ltd. is also an avid practitioner of recycling throughout the facility. The company’s very business model, after all, is predicated on locating and preserving difficult-to-procure fine china and collectibles. Taking this green approach one step further, Replacements Ltd. embraced renewable energy by embarking on a solar panel project for the facility’s rooftop.

Replacements Ltd. had long considered solar power, so when the company expanded into a larger facility, the standing seam metal roof was designed to sustain the additional weight of solar panels.

The Solar Installer and the Distributor

Hoping to offset more than 30 percent of the facility’s total energy use, Replacements Ltd. sought out a company that specialized in large-scale rooftop PV array installation. Such an undertaking meant many qualified companies would be vying for the project. Ultimately though, the competition could not match the stellar reputation, high recommendations, and overall value of Yes Solar Solutions (YSS). The company won the contract.

S-5-H clamps from S-5! were used to support the racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system. The design of the non-penetrating clamp allows it to be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.

Kathy Miller, co-founder and CEO of Yes Solar Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, was enthusiastic about Replacements Ltd.’s plans for solar expansion. To Kathy and her husband Stew, this PV project was yet another opportunity for them to achieve what led them into this business in the first place: “preparing the next generation for a sustainable future.” It was also an opportunity to work side-by-side with a company as dedicated to the environment as they are. YSS fully understands the positive impact solar add-ons can have on companies and on their bottom line.

Never having worked with Replacements Ltd. before was no barrier to efficient operations. The team at Yes Solar includes experts in logistics, industry standards, and sourcing the highest quality materials and equipment. To ensure a smooth project timeline, Yes Solar enlisted the services of a distributor the company had successfully worked with on a number of prior occasions.

Design in hand, Yes Solar Solutions went to a trusted source for material acquisition. CivicSolar, with offices in California, Massachusetts, and Texas, offers a full selection of module, inverters, racking, and storage equipment for solar installation. Having partnered on other projects since 2016, Yes Solar’s director of operations, Rob Smith, reached out to CivicSolar looking for racking solutions for an extensive 1.32 MW rooftop project they had in the works. A solar project of this magnitude would require some logistics magic. Yes Solar arranged for all materials to ship directly to the jobsite. Mary Jane Gilliland, Account Manager from CivicSolar, worked closely with Yes Solar to ensure smooth shipments and consistent timelines.

Mounting the Solar Panels

Yes Solar Solutions provided a bill of materials for the project utilizing the IronRidge rail system and S-5! clamps. In order to provide the most advantageous quote for YSS, CivicSolar cooperated with S-5! and IronRidge to produce a pricing and logistical plan that steered Yes Solar towards success.

CivicSolar supplied all necessary metal roof attachment clamps to secure all racking system components and conduit lines for the rail system. During the installation, a plywood walkway was installed to protect the metal roof.

Coordinating lead times for large material quantities, Civic and Yes Solar Solutions worked closely to ensure smooth and predictable timelines on all deliveries involved in the project. All materials were shipped and delivered according to the anticipated timeline and the project was successfully installed on time. According to Stew Miller, co-founder and president of Yes Solar Solutions, “This project was a result of industry support, as the referral came from a utility scaled solar company. When we got the contract, there was a sudden shortage of solar modules, and another solar company helped us source the materials. It was a good example of how solar companies can work together to the benefit of a customer and the industry.”

The solar array on the Replacements Ltd. building needed an attachment solution that would not only ease installation, but also be low cost and lightweight. S-5! non-penetrating clamps achieved these requirements building a strong foundation of savings across the board for the entire project.

During clamp installation, a plywood walkway was also installed to help with crew safety as well as installation efficiency. By facilitating navigation, crews could inspect the roof, perform maintenance, and protect the existing metal roof.

S-5! clamps were selected because they met the demanding specs required by installation, and they have the rigorous testing data to back them up. The racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system are supported with S-5-H clamps. The clamps accommodate metal roof panels with a horizontal seam and do not penetrate the roof. The design of the clamp features two pieces, making it a perfect choice for this project, as it can be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.

Long-Term Outlook

The final result of Replacements Ltd. rooftop solar array project is a sight to see. Spanning three-quarters of the entire surface of the arena-sized shopping facility, or 200,000 square feet, the PV system will help the company save around $100,000 per year in electricity costs. The array is divided into four separate systems, all on the same roof. It is also the largest net-metered project in North Carolina, and excess power can be returned to the grid for credit.

TEAM

Owner: Replacements Ltd., Greensboro, North Carolina, www.replacements.com

Solar Installer: Yes Solar Solutions, Cary, North Carolina, https://yessolarsolutions.com

Distributor: CivicSolar, Boston, Massachusetts, www.civicsolar.com

MATERIALS

Clamps: S-5-H clamps, S-5!, www.s-5.com

Mounting System: IronRidge rail system, IronRidge, www.ironridge.com

Kopp Electric Company Joins Ranks of CertainTeed’s Master Solar Installer Program

Kopp Electric Company has received CertainTeed’s premier solar credential – Master Solar Installer. Master Solar Installers demonstrate the highest levels of solar knowledge as well as a commitment to quality and homeowner satisfaction.

Solar installers who achieve CertainTeed’s Master Solar Installer credential are able to offer customers a 25-year installation workmanship warranty on CertainTeed solar products, including the Solstice Solar System. Backed by CertainTeed, the warranty is among the strongest of its kind in the industry and includes end-to-end coverage for both the products and their professional installation.

“Our requirements for Master Solar Installers ensure a more knowledgeable installer and provide customers with the best experience possible, so everyone wins,” said Mark Stancroff, director of solar business for CertainTeed. “Kopp Electric Company has a quality reputation with their customers and community. We’re excited to work with them and provide homeowners with peace of mind knowing that their solar system will be protected for the lifetime of the product.”

Kopp Electric Company has served the New Jersey community for more than 25 years, providing residential and commercial energy solutions, including solar system installation. According to Kopp Electric Director Josh Kopp, all of the company’s work is performed in- house by long-term, experienced employees and craftsmen who value customers and take pride in their workmanship.

“At Kopp Electric, the customer comes first and we are always looking for ways to improve our services,” said Kopp. “We take pride in utilizing the best quality products and the most up-to- date technologies and are proud to have CertainTeed Master Installer status. CertainTeed’s brand, warranties and products have a strong reputation for quality, which further demonstrates our commitment to customers and our promise to deliver excellence.”

For more information about CertainTeed’s solar installer credentialing programs, visit www.certainteed.com/pro-center/education-credentials-master-solar-installer.

Seeing the Light

Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. What hurts the most is when we miss an obvious solution to a problem — when we look back at a difficult time and realize an option we didn’t take advantage of was staring us in the face all along. Picture Homer Simpson smacking his forehead and exclaiming, “D’oh!”

When we look back at this time in history, I think that’s how we’ll feel about adopting solar power. No matter what your opinion is about other forms of energy, including fossil fuels, nuclear power plants, and wind turbines, I think you’d have to admit that we aren’t making enough use of solar. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think it’s obvious that in the rays of the sun, we have a tremendous renewable resource that is mostly going by the wayside.

I interviewed a plumbing contractor a few years ago who specialized in passive solar hot water systems. He said the inspiration came to him when he picked up a garden hose that had been out in the sun and the water nearly scalded his hand. “It was then I thought, ‘Why am I paying a utility to heat the water in my house?’” he said.

I was reminded of that conversation when I interviewed Martin DeBono of GAF Energy for this issue. Before entering the world of rooftop solar, DeBono had a background as a nuclear engineer and served as a submarine officer in the Navy. “I’ve always been fascinated by solar,” he said. “The sun provides the equivalent amount of energy in one hour as all of the world’s power plants produce in a whole year. You combine that with the fact that I am a huge outdoors person — I love the outdoors —and you can see some of the challenges the world faces by relying on fossil fuels.”

His job also allows him to tap into his love of building things. “Last week I built a mock-up roof in my driveway with a mock-up solar system to show some executives and some family and friends what we do,” DeBono said. “So, solar gives me the opportunity to build, to think, to advance technology and do something I believe in.”

DeBono believes in making the most of technology to harness the power of the sun. He also believes in another obvious point: the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor. “We firmly believe that roofers should be installing the system and ensuring the integrity of the roof,” he said. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof.”

GAF Energy Aims to Transform the Residential Solar Industry

Photo: GAF Energy

Earlier this year, Standard Industries launched GAF Energy, a new company with a lofty goal: revolutionizing residential rooftop solar. Working in tandem with GAF, GAF Energy is driving the adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. The business model is designed to tap into the strength of GAF’s network of more than 6,000 certified roofing contractors to offer homeowners a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installation.

“We’ve created GAF Energy to take on roof-integrated solar and bring it to the next level,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “By leveraging GAF’s roofing expertise with GAF Energy’s solar expertise, we’ve created a solar kit designed specifically for roofers and their customers during the re-roof and roof construction process.”

The company believes that by standardizing these integrated solar solutions, they can be more easily installed on residential roof replacements and new construction projects. “By putting everything in a kit, we really simplify the process for a roofer,” DeBono says. “In fact, our target roofing contractor is someone who has never done solar.”

Connecting With Contractors

GAF Energy is currently working with GAF sales teams to identify contractors with residential sales teams that would be good candidates for adopting solar. Initially, the company is focusing on nine states, with plans to expand nationwide. The nine states are California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. Key factors in the consideration of these markets included the climate, the price of electricity, and state and local programs for utility rebates and incentives.

The roof-integrated solar kit is designed to function as part of the roof system and be aesthetically pleasing. Photo: GAF Energy

If contractors seem like they will be a good fit, GAF Energy sets up a multi-pronged training program, which includes classroom training and training in the field for both salespeople and installers. “We have full day of classroom sales training with a professional sales trainer,” DeBono explains. “After contractors complete the sales training in the classroom, we provide field resources for in-home sales training and on-the-roof training. We have field resources that we send out with roofing contractors’ salespeople into the field. Once we have a successful sale, we also provide on-the-roof training for the first installation. All of that is done just for being part of the GAF contractor network because it is our belief that we need to enable a new generation of roofers to sell and install solar.”

According to DeBono, GAF Energy is then able to provide all of the services that roofers typically do not have, including electrical services, design services, and connection services. “If the roofing contractors have the wherewithal to continue the project with the electrical and the design, we’re happy to enable that, but what we’ve found is that roofing contractors like GAF Energy to do that. We work with the roofing contractors and their customers to determine which services we provide and which services the roofer provides. It really lowers the barrier for adoption for both the roofing contractor and the homeowner.”

Contractors are already selling and installing the system. “We launched the company in January, we conducted our first sales training sessions in February, and we’ve already received our first purchase orders,” DeBono notes.

The Solar Kit

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation, including the integrated photovoltaics (PV), flashings, all of the power and electronics that are necessary, along with the hardware.

The system itself screws into the deck and is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Power electronics plug into each other below the system and out of sight, and leads are connected to the inverter, which can be installed by the roofing contractor or GAF Energy.

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation. It is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Photo: GAF Energy

The kit — and the business model — are designed to provide synergy with the roofing contractor. “It is our firm belief that the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor,” says DeBono. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof. As part of the Standard Industries family, we were founded to tap into this market, but we have a strong heritage from GAF, so we completely subscribe to that. We built a solar offering explicitly for roofers. First and foremost, if the roof is not a waterproof barrier for your home, it’s a failure, and we would never allow that to happen.”

The kit is also designed to be aesthetically appealing. “It is a truly roof-integrated solar system — the solar becomes the roof,” DeBono says. “It’s lower profile to the roof, and it simply looks better. The roof being one of the largest influencers on the physical appearance of one’s house, and the house being one of the largest assets a homeowner owns, homeowners don’t want to put anything ugly on their roof. By making it beautiful, we immediately eliminate the objections of those folks who say ‘I don’t want solar on my roof because it’s ugly.’”

Value for Homeowners

The relationship with GAF Energy is designed to benefit the homeowner as well as the contractor. “The value for the homeowners is they have a local contact who sells and installs our system and will be there if there is ever an issue, and they are working hand-in-hand with a manufacturer to provide an unparalleled level of support,” DeBono says. “The solar kit is covered by the same warranty as the roof. It’s backed by a waterproof guarantee from Standard Industries, which has been around for over 130 years.”

Photo: GAF Energy

DeBono believes that for most customers, the decision to add solar comes down to the bottom line. “The primary reason people go solar is to save money,” says DeBono. “There is this vision that people go solar because they are green. But the tipping point to go solar is really about saving money. As we roll this program out, we’ve been focusing on the nine states that offer the best savings.”

DeBono notes the sales cycle for his company’s solar system is about the same as that for a re-roof. “It’s definitely not longer,” he says. “The reason for that is it’s a very simple sale. With our system, we are turning your roof from a static asset into an energy-generating asset that saves you money every month. The only increase in the sales cycle may be the matter of 15 minutes or 20 minutes in the home where we explain it to the customer. What’s critical about our model — remember we have our heritage as a roofing company — is our approach is perfectly compatible with the way roofing contractors sell and do business today.”

Customers calling for a new roof might be good candidates for solar, whether they know it or not. According to DeBono, contractors handling calls about a roofing estimate first check Google maps to determine if the location will be compatible with a solar application. If so, the discussion could lead to adding the solar kit: “The contractor might say, ‘In the same time frame it will take us to put in your new roof, we can make it a solar roof. Instead of this great asset that lasts for 25 years and keeps you warm and dry, you can have a great asset that lasts for 25 years, keeps you warm and dry — and oh, by the way, it generates electricity every day and saves you money every month.’ We’re seeing that people are really interested in that value proposition.”

With a background as a nuclear engineer, submarine officer in the Navy, and six years in the solar industry, DeBono believes the roofing industry is the key to expanding the rooftop solar market. “We at GAF Energy have this mission: energy from every roof,” he says. “And when you look at the size of the roofing industry compared to the size of the solar industry, if you really want to accomplish energy from every roof, it has to be done from a roofing platform.”

For more information about GAF Energy, visit www.gaf.energy.

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.