The power of PV

Next month, Solar Power International 2011 will take place in Dallas. Now in its sixth year, the show is expected to draw 24,000 attendees, a testament to the fact that the photovoltaic (PV) market continues to grow.

For the roofing industry, the growth in these segments offers unprecedented opportunity. But that opportunity is saddled with challenges. Roofing contractors entering the PV market will face competition from electricians and solar and PV providers claiming they should be the ones installing solar and PV systems on rooftops.

NRCA's position is that rooftop PV system installations only can be undertaken with the involvement of professional roofing contractors employing skilled roofing workers and involving licensed electricians when necessary. Only a roofing contractor can properly assess a roof system's condition, and installing an expensive PV system over an aged or faulty roof system will lead to unintended results. A new, unified position paper endorsed by NRCA; the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers; Roof Integrated Solar Energy™ (RISE™) Inc. and the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing addresses rooftop PV installations and is expected to be released soon.

This month's issue is dedicated to PV-related topics. "New technology, new safety issues," on page 30 discusses safety issues unique to PV roof systems, and "A better choice," page 40, stresses the importance of installing PV systems over new roof systems. In addition, information is provided about the Certified Solar Roofing Professional™ (CSRP™) certification offered by RISE. The designation will prove to consumers that a roofing contractor with a CSRP certification possesses the necessary knowledge to install rooftop PV systems.