During my 35 years in the roofing industry and seven years as a solar photovoltaic (PV) professional, I have noticed several issues that often arise during rooftop PV installations.
- It is important to spend time with customers, ensuring they are educated and informed prior to choosing a PV system for their project.
- Installers must understand and implement proper safety practices for rooftop work. Often, roof-mounted PV installations are best completed by individuals who have experience with the hazard exposures of roofing environments.
- Quality products that fulfill the applications’ needs and specifications must be installed.
- Attention to installation details is often overlooked, yet is a fundamental aspect of successful solar installations.
- Customer satisfaction is best achieved with frequent communication, like regular progress reports and follow-ups.
- The dynamics of today’s solar market require diversification, qualification and excellent service to meet PV project demands.
The Certified Solar Roofing Professional (CSRP) credential is overseen by Rosemont, Ill.-based Roof Integrated Solar Energy, or RISE. RISE evaluates and certifies solar roofing professionals for knowledge about critical roof system construction and maintenance practices necessary to support successful rooftop solar-energy installations. Achieving the CSRP credential matched our company philosophy of ensuring a roof-mounted PV installation will not adversely affect a roof system’s performance.
As a member of the first group who earned the CSRP credential, I clearly understood the potential benefits to my company and, more importantly, what this would mean to my customers. I believe becoming a RISE CSRP, and being recognized by an independent organization, provides credibility and a competitive advantage in the growing and demanding PV marketplace. The additional training and education needed to achieve and maintain the CSRP credential is specific to the related tasks involved in rooftop solar installation.
The CSRP credential helps assure homeowners, business owners, architects and developers that their new PV project is up to the task. These owners expect and deserve to know that all aspects of the project (solar, roofing, electrical, design and several other important factors) are being addressed to achieve a successful integration of their PV and roofing systems. By choosing a CSRP, they are assured their projects will be handled by the most capable professionals.
Once earned, there are several requirements to maintain the CSRP credential. These include continuing education to keep up with the latest in PV and roofing technologies, as well as engaging in other professional activities, such as presenting at industry trade shows or other public forums.
Meeting these requirements continues to enhance my career. It also affirms to our customers that I am well-informed about the fast changing solar industry, including best business practices, application methods and technologies. Therefore, I’m very capable of meeting their expectations and demands. Maintaining my CSRP credential also helps me contribute more directly to my company’s success by keeping other employees informed.
There are a lot of so-called solar professionals out there who do not have the proper credentials, experience or knowledge to properly install a PV system. They may inadvertently negatively affect a customer’s roof performance and service life, as well as the performance of the PV system.
We recently have experienced an increase in calls for roof repair services. When we first visit these projects, it is immediately evident an installer failed to properly integrate the roof, waterproofing and electrical details when installing the solar PV system. Unfortunately, I have seen leaks, fires and inoperable systems—all of which harm the roofing and solar industry’s reputation. A CSRP could have helped address these issues for the customer upfront and thus avoided incurring additional expenses above the original installation, as well as other economic losses from an inoperable PV system.
Calling a CSRP puts you on the right path to a quality installation. Often, it is said good business practices go a long way, and I have found this to be spot on. I have always been proud of the work my company provides its customers. And earning my CSRP credential fostered a stronger desire to reach for higher standards in the roofing and solar industry. I am looking forward to providing rooftop PV services and representing the CSRP program for many years to come. I know that by being a CSRP, I am ensuring my customer’s roof installations will continue doing their primary job: protecting buildings from the elements.