Mainstream in the marketplace

As solar rooftops become more common, roofing professionals engaged in PV can greatly expand their local markets

The construction and roofing industries were among the hardest hit business segments during the most recent U.S. economic recession. As reported by respondents to NRCA's annual market surveys, the roofing market declined about 12 percent in sales volume during 2007, another 14 percent in 2009 and hit bottom in 2012 at 40 percent below 2007. NRCA's 2012-13 Market Survey indicates in 2013 the roofing market rebounded to 2009 levels and projects a more robust 9 percent gain this year. Indeed, this is good news for the roofing industry.

However, one construction industry segment grew exponentially during this time period. According to research conducted by GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media Inc., Boston, on behalf of the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA), the photovoltaic (PV) industry grew 37 percent during 2009; 67 percent during 2010; a whopping 109 percent during 2011; and another 76 percent during 2012. By the end of 2013, the U.S. PV market grew another 41 percent in sales volume, and the market projections for this year forecast yet another 26 percent increase. A comparison of sales volumes for the roofing and PV industries during the past five years can be seen in Figure 1.

The rooftop PV business opportunities presented during this growth period went widely unnoticed by the roofing industry. For roofing professionals who become more engaged in the rooftop PV market, there is great opportunity to significantly grow their businesses.

A brief history of PV