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Solar plus roofing: A step-by-step guide

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Solar power’s growing impact in the US is undeniable, even if you don’t work on roofs all day. However, for professionals in the industry, there are lucrative opportunities to combine professional solar installations with their existing roofing services.

As residential solar adoption climbs, your roofing customers are likely already inquiring about recommendations for and assistance with adding photovoltaic (PV) systems. While incorporating solar offerings may seem challenging initially, the reasons to do so are numerous and compelling – chief among them being the potential to significantly boost your company’s revenues.

Roofers are uniquely positioned to expand into the solar installation market. This guide outlines straightforward steps to efficiently integrate PV products and services into your existing roofing business operations. Doing so transforms every roofing job into a chance to increase profits while contributing to a more sustainable future.

How to add solar services to your roofing business

While there is no single solution that works perfectly for every business, adding solar services to a roofing company involves many considerations to effectively launch, market, and grow in the renewable energy space. 

Assessing your roofing business

First things first, start by evaluating your current resources and capabilities. What equipment and personnel do you have on hand? Which PV services do you plan to provide in-house? Conduct an internal audit to identify your strengths and areas needing improvement.

Next, assess demand for solar services in your area. Are there many companies already excelling in this space? What about your competitors? Are there nearby solar and roofing companies you could potentially partner with? Understanding the local market landscape will help you identify opportunities and potential challenges.

For roofing companies or contractors new to PV installations, there’s a lot to learn. Continuously evaluate and refine your processes to enhance your organization’s efficiency and provide greater value to your customers.

Researching solar service providers

Starting a PV business involves understanding the entire solar installation process from start to finish. To begin, create a roadmap for scaling your solar and roofing services within your organization. 

Consider the following steps:

  • Evaluate providers: Check customer reviews, certifications, and service agreements of potential solar partners. Look for providers with a proven track record and solid industry experience.
  • Outsource when necessary: Initially, outsourcing tasks can help deliver the best customer experience. For instance, you might outsource solar system design, permitting, and installation while you focus on sales and customer relations.
  • Quality matters: Prioritize high-quality PV equipment and reliable services. While low-priced equipment can save money upfront, poor quality can harm your reputation. Ensure that all solar products come with strong warranties.

Partnering with solar service providers

The solar industry offers numerous partnership opportunities that can help you scale your PV installation services efficiently:

  • Explore partnership programs: Many solar providers offer dealer programs and other types of partner agreements. Evaluate these options based on experience, certifications, and success rates.
  • Negotiate terms: Remember, partnerships are a two-way street. Don’t hesitate to negotiate contract terms to fit your business model. Discuss pricing, support, and service expectations to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Customize service packages: Find a service package that integrates seamlessly with your existing operations. Whether you need just the equipment or a sub-contracted team for installations, tailor the partnership to meet your needs.
Learn all the basics about solar dealer networks and how they can benefit you.

Key considerations

To ensure successful integration of PV services, keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay informed: Continuously educate yourself about the solar market and emerging trends. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and stay competitive.
  • Focus on customer experience: Providing excellent customer service is crucial. Ensure timely and effective solutions for each new solar customer, from design to after-installation maintenance.
  • Play to your strengths: Use your roofing expertise to assure customers about the quality of your combined roofing and solar services. Highlight the benefits of having a single provider for both services.

By carefully researching providers and forming strategic partnerships, you can effectively integrate PV services into your roofing business, boosting your revenue and contributing to a sustainable future.

Training and certification

Before installing a single PV panel, significant training and certification are necessary to ensure your installations are both safe and legal. In the US, certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the most widely recognized seal of approval for solar professionals.

Importance and benefits of certification

Obtaining NABCEP certification is crucial for several reasons:

  • Credibility: certification enhances your credibility and assures customers of your expertise
  • Legal compliance: ensures compliance with state regulations, which may require NABCEP certification
  • Financial incentives: certification may qualify your customers for rebates and other financial benefits

Steps to certification

  1. Understand the requirements: Most NABCEP certifications require testing and/or prior experience. Some states may require NABCEP certification to obtain a solar business license or to help customers apply for rebates.
  2. Choose the right certification: NABCEP offers several levels of certification and accreditation, each with different timelines, training courses, and benefits. Determine which certification aligns best with your business goals.
  3. Complete the training: Enroll in NABCEP-approved training programs. These programs provide the necessary knowledge and skills for safe and effective PV installations.
  4. Pass the exam: Prepare thoroughly and pass the required exam to obtain your certification.

For more detailed information on certifications, visit the NABCEP FAQs.

Building a solar services team

Whether you plan to hire skilled solar technicians or train your existing roofing staff for PV installations, building a solar services team is essential for fulfilling new business orders. A successful solar services team must prioritize attention to detail, safety protocols, and best practices at every step. This team should guide customers seamlessly through the sales, design, and installation processes, ensuring a high level of satisfaction and quality.

Hiring and training

  • Hire skilled professionals: Consider hiring experienced solar technicians who can lead your team and provide valuable on-the-job training.
  • Train existing staff: Invest in training programs for your current employees to equip them with the necessary skills for PV installations. Online courses and workshops can be highly effective.

Outsourcing for efficiency

If you choose to outsource any functions — such as using expert solar design services — you can focus your energy on fulfillment. This allows you to spend more time in the field installing systems, engaging with new customers, and scaling your roofing and solar business.

By assembling a dedicated solar services team, you can ensure your business is well-equipped to handle the demands of the growing renewable energy market. 

Deciding what services to offer

In addition to installations, whether done in-house or outsourced, you also need to decide what range of services you might offer. These services can significantly enhance your value proposition and help you stand out in the competitive solar market.

Fortunately, tools like Aurora Solar can help streamline these tasks, even for complete newbies. For example, your installation teams can render hyper-accurate 3D PV system schematics using Aurora’s Design Mode, ensuring precise planning and execution.

Below are some additional solar services worth adding to your roofing business.

Offering solar financing options

Although you may already offer financing, scaling a roofing business with solar services requires exploring other options that may be helpful for your customers. For example, you need to become an expert in your customers’ financing options and understand the differences between PV system ownership, solar loans, power purchase agreements (PPAs), and solar leasing.

Tools like Aurora’s Sales Mode can help you walk your clients through all their financing options, comparing total costs and value in interactive presentations. This ensures your customers make informed decisions that best suit their financial situations.

Learn more about the different type of financing you can offer customers.

Obtaining necessary permits and approvals

For each new solar installation, you must know the local regulations and permit requirements for every project. Compliance with building codes, electrical codes, and utility regulations is necessary for grid-tied PV systems, involving applications and approvals both before and after an installation.

Getting started with solar permitting can be challenging if you serve a wide range of cities and counties, as each locale may have its own guidelines for setbacks, aesthetic requirements, and engineering specifications. Using Aurora’s Plan Sets Service, your roofing and solar teams can generate permit-ready solar designs with just a few clicks, simplifying the process significantly.

See how Simply Solar reduced their plan sets turnaround time to under 24 hours.

Providing ongoing maintenance and support

Much like roofs, solar panels can last for 25 years or more. Knowing this, you must be prepared to address customer inquiries and resolve ongoing issues if anything goes awry post-installation. By developing a dedicated solar customer support program and scheduling regular maintenance inspections, you can establish long-term partnerships with your customers. This solidifies your status as a reputable roofing and solar business and ensures the longevity and efficiency of the installed PV systems.

Marketing and promoting solar services

Once you have the right team in place and have an idea of the services you want to start with, it’s time to promote your solar offerings. There are many strategies to effectively market your new services: 

Reach out to past clients

Start by leveraging your history of satisfied customers. Reach out to past clients and let them know you now offer solar services. Personalized emails or calls can be very effective.

Create a dedicated web presence

Regardless of the marketing mix you choose — whether it’s online advertising, social media, home shows, canvassing, etc. — make sure you have a dedicated web page or section on your website where prospects can learn more about your solar services. This should include detailed information, FAQs, and contact options.

Crafting your sales pitch

While the idea of saving money and adding home value can entice leads, your solar sales pitch needs to address specific questions to capture interest and convert prospects into customers. 

Make sure to clearly communicate:

  • Why solar makes sense for them: Highlight the financial savings, environmental benefits, and potential increase in property value.
  • Why your company is the best fit: Emphasize your experience in roofing, the advantage of having both roofing and solar services under one roof, and your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
  • Why now is the time to go solar: Point out current incentives, rebates, and the long-term benefits of installing solar panels sooner rather than later. 

Software that can help

Aurora can help ease your transition into solar, and set you up for success once you’re rolling. Our tools increase solar design accuracy and enhance the customer experience, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates. With features that streamline the sales process and provide precise, visually compelling proposals, Aurora Solar can help you stand out in a competitive market.

Want to see how? Schedule a quick, no-pressure demo to learn more.

Recap and next steps

Adding solar PV services to your roofing business can be a complex process, but it is well worth the effort for the potential increase in sales, revenue, and business growth. By assembling the right team, forming strategic partnerships, leveraging effective tools, undergoing thorough training, and providing comprehensive services, you can scale your roofing business with high-quality, sustainable solutions for new and existing customers.  

Leverage advanced tools like Aurora Solar to streamline your operations and enhance your customer offerings. Our software can significantly ease your transition into the solar PV market, even if you are a complete beginner.

Dipping your toes into the solar pool as a roofing company? Let’s chat. Schedule a quick, personalized conversation to get your questions answered.

Ready to learn more?