I recently joined a work group formed as part of the U.S.
Department of Energy's Solar America Initiative. The initiative's
goal is to have the U.S. generating 15 gigawatts of solar power by
2015. (OK, I didn't know what that means, either. It turns out
that's roughly enough energy to power 3 million homes.) And
throughout the initiative is an assumption—a correct
one—that roofs will play a critical role in this
A Californian who is part of the work group reported his state
alone is expecting to be producing 3 gigawatts by 2015,
conservatively speaking, so he thought the national target was
awfully low. Other group members talked about the variety of issues
that will evolve as solar power becomes more commonly used. What
will the materials look like? Who will install them? Will
certification and licensure be required? Will building codes and
standards need to change? Can the marketplace adapt quickly enough
to accommodate technological changes?
Good questions, all of them. And their answers will directly
involve the roofing industry. There are a number of
roofing-specific issues we'd better begin thinking about soon. For
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