Solar Gets Simpler,
Smarter, Better Looking
If there's one “secret” to success in photovoltaic solar, it's probably this: keep it simple.This is the year that theory will be put to the test, as roofing supplier Certainteed rolls out a new PV solar product line-up complete with extensive training and extensive support.
In a perfect world, solar panels would look like an organic part of any home, much like the chimney or the roof tiles themselves. According to Mark Stancroff of Certainteed Solar, that's a goal his company has enthusiastically adopted. “Our approach from the beginning was to develop the most aesthetically pleasing solar products available,” he said. That design concern is most evident in Certainteed's Apollo line of integrated solar roofing, which sits flush with the roof and weighs about the same as a shingle, so the roof won't require any additional structural support.
Their Avancis modular solution is a little more visible. From the ground, it looks like a flat black panel that adds a sleek design element to a roof, and it will soon look even more so when that product line converts to frameless later this year.
Both systems come supplied with a monitoring solution so homeowners can check the panels' performance via their smart phone and see what output they're receiving at any time. Optimally, most systems are designed to reduce the typical electric bill by 40 to 60 percent.
The Real Trick to solar, however, is to plug photovoltaic sales and installation into the same market channels that homeowners already look to for their building and remodeling needs. “That's the core of Certainteed's strategy,” said Stancroff. “We want to have the roofing contractors serve as the primary movers and promoters and salespersons for solar products. Our system was designed with roofing contractors in mind.”
Before that can happen, a little educa-tion might be appropriate. “From an installation perspective, it's an easy adjustment for most roofing contractors.” Stancroft observed. “We spend an afternoon showing them how to install it and everybody seems to get it. The more challenging aspect is to educate them on the benefits of solar and how they can explain it to the homeowner,” he said. “It's different; it's not simply a shingle. It takes some additional training for a contractor to be effective at selling solar.”
But in today's competitive market, the payoff is definitely worth it. It's a very effective way for a roofing contractor to differentiate himself from the rest of the contractors in their community, and it's also another source of revenue. That gives roofers more than just the standard re-roof or new construction roofing to sell; they would now be able to upsell solar to their existing customer base.
Certainteed decided to make that upsell a simple process. “The roofing contractor can go out to the site and take pictures they can upload to us so we can see what the roof looks like, and we'll design a package for them,” said Stancroff. “The products go through existing distribution, so their distributor can bring in the pre-designed kit complete with the inverters and any ordinary shingles that might be needed.”
Apollo modules are Class A fire rated and meet UL 1703 requirements. Roofers can sell the system with a 15 year workmanship warranty which covers all labor and parts replacement, and a 25 year product warranty. In addition, both product lines qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit and may be eligible for state rebates and incentives.
www.certainteedsolar.com • 877-596-0471