Seizing an opportunity

A new program certifies professionals involved with installing roof-mounted PV systems

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the solar industry's national trade association, the U.S. solar energy industry and its supply chain support about 46,000 jobs in the U.S. Also, despite the overall economic downturn, particularly in the housing and construction sectors, employment in the solar industry increased by 10,000 jobs from 2008-09 and by 17,000 jobs in 2009.

And there is equal opportunity for growth in the form of billions of square feet of rooftop surface area available for installing photovoltaic (PV) systems, which means roofing professionals can capitalize on this potential new revenue stream. However, there is little regulation within the PV industry regarding rooftop installation.

As Jeff Henegar, general manager of Firestone Energy Solutions, a division of Firestone Building Products Co. LLC, Indianapolis, puts it: "The PV market is like the wild, wild west where the rule of law was not ­­always in force."

A growing industry