January 11, 2021

5 Reasons Why Roofing Contractors Are Moving into Solar Now


The opportunities to diversify your business and bring in tons of new solar revenue are there for the taking

By Pete Cleveland,  VP of Solar

Demand for home solar soared in 2020, according to recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BloombergNEF) research, with US residential solar installations jumping 21% in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period in 2019. And in its Q3 2020 Solar Market Insight™ report, Wood Mackenzie and SEIA project the U.S. solar market will install 100 GW of solar over the next five years. That’s 42% more than was installed over the last five years.

Much has been said about the potential for roofing contractors to make the leap into diversifying their business through residential PV system installation. However, we’ve yet to see adoption on a wide scale.

Download our Inform Essentials+ sample report to see the natural transition from roofing to solar

In the coming years, we expect that to change. And with all the money being left on the table by contractors with an allergic reaction to solar, there are plenty of reasons why now is the time to get ahead.

Depending on how old the roof is when beginning a solar install, it may need to be completely re-done before putting on solar panels. It may surprise you how often jobs don’t go through because the underlying roof needs a complete makeover… 

1. 75 percent of roofs in the US are made of asphalt shingles, and the average life of an asphalt shingle roof is 15-20 years. 

2. In fact, 20% of residential solar system jobs don’t go through because they need a new roof at the time of install. 

Companies that only specialize in residential solar don’t want to undertake this tedious and time-consuming process. That’s why it only makes sense for the roofing contractor and the solar installer to be the same company – one job for double profit

3. Our reports support the transition from roofing to solar, so you only need to order one 

The EagleView Inform™ Essentials+ report provides data required for solar designs, such as azimuth, pitch and location of roof obstructions. However, it also includes suggested waste factor (SWF) calculations and complexity rating for creating roofing production estimates. 

One report, two jobs, and less time spent on the roof. 

4. There are several ways for roofers to enter the solar market, meaning you can start small and work your way up 

In order from easiest/least profitable to the biggest overhaul (and thus most profitable), these are: 

  • Selling the lead to a partner. You can simply ask the homeowner if they’ve ever considered solar, then sell that lead to a solar installer. As a roofer, you will know the age of the roof either because you installed it, or you can simply tell it is getting old. This makes the lead more valuable than one from another lead source. By selling these simple leads (roof age plus customer contact information), you can generate additional revenue and create tons of new leads.  
  • Selling a convinced homeowner to a partner. In this instance, the contractor can complete a more thorough qualification process to ensure the homeowner is in a good position to go solar, then sell that qualified lead to a solar installer. Since the homeowner has expressed interest, this qualified lead would include information such as qualification for solar federal tax credit, buying motivation, electric utility name and some amount of usage info, and the age of the roof. Since this step includes weeding out the ‘bad’ leads, it provides a smaller number than step A but also brings in more revenue per lead. 
  • Actually selling a PV system and giving it to a third party to install, especially if your company sells more than it can install. This is where your company really starts to make money, and in turn, a close partnership with a solar installer can begin to develop. 
  • Selling and installing the system yourself. While this requires the most effort for your company, it is almost pure profit. This is how you can create a solar company with baby steps, and as you learn more and become more experienced in the industry, you’ll be well on your way to full maturation. 

Another benefit of bringing solar leads to solar installers is that, in turn, they will bring roofing leads to you. This doubles the benefit for both companies and can improve the relationship even further. 

5. When you go to the site of a potential roofing project, you’re not able to get the age of the roof, so selling and installing yourself is a much more effective solution 

If you’ve done thousands of installs, you know how to determine the age of the roof, which makes the process much simpler. For example, if a contractor knows the roof is 15 years old, they can offer the homeowner a new roof plus a PV system and offer a financing plan that covers both. 

We’d love to help your construction business make this happen. As solar installations take off, in addition to storage (or batteries) – which provides another source of leads you can sell to the solar installer – securing this additional stream of revenue will be crucial to growing your customer base and building your bottom line.

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