The market for residential solar power is skyrocketing. In the past year alone, the U.S. solar market grew by 95 percent, with over 1 million homes now wired to receive energy from the sun. Meanwhile, industry heavyweights like Tesla are betting big on new residential solar products. These include such innovations as solar panels that look like shingles and high-capacity batteries that make it possible for homeowners to disconnect from the grid entirely.
If you own a roofing company, you may want to consider becoming a solar roofing company within the next few years. And we’ll show you how to do it.
While roofers and solar panel installers both work on the roof, they require different levels of training and licensure. In some states, anyone is allowed to wire up the panels, but an electrician’s license is needed to install the inverter. Still in other states, you need both an electrician’s license, a roofer’s license and a construction permit before you can install solar panels commercially. Doing this research now will pay dividends down the road when you start advertising yourself as a solar roofing company. Not to mention saving yourself some regulatory headaches.
The most widely recognized certification in the solar industry is provided by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). This trade organization provides training and certification programs for both industry professionals and solar companies, filling much the same role as the National Roofing Contractors Association does in the roofing industry. With NABCEP training, you’ll be able to present your company as a fully certified installer of solar panels. Follow this link to learn more and begin the certification process.
There is a 30 percent federal investment tax credit available to both residential and commercial solar customers until at least 2020. Beyond that, there are also several state tax incentives available for residential solar installations. Use DSIRE’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency to see what incentives your state offers that might entice customers to go solar, as well as lower your company’s operating costs.
Connect with wholesale suppliers to purchase panels, batteries, wiring and other equipment in bulk. Some of the most well-known suppliers include Wholesale Solar and AEE Solar. Though many more local supplies can be found in cities and regions across the U.S.
Solar roofing companies advertise in all the same channels as roofing companies, including TV, print and social media. But for solar installers especially, the internet is the place to be. If you aren’t doing so already, make sure your social media accounts are managed effectively and that someone is there to respond to customer queries.
As for your marketing materials, the most effective message you can deliver to prospective customers is the amount of money they can save over the long term. Testimonials are a great way to show how much your customers shave off the electric bill, alongside your customer service chops. Here are a few more examples of effective solar marketing tactics from Clean Technica.
The last step you need to take when breaking into the solar business is to keep on top of it. In just a few years’ time, the underlying technology of the units you install may change dramatically, requiring new training and re-education for you and your employees.
As challenging as that may seem, offering solar panel installation now will help your company remain competitive in an industry that will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.