Solar has been one of America’s great success stories of the last decade, growing more than 1600%. Including all solar segments – residential, utility-scale and commercial industrial – there is now enough solar capacity to power 13.5 million homes, up from just 777,000 homes at the beginning of the decade.
Most of that growth can be attributed to dropping solar costs, almost about 70% down since 2010. Additionally, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) estimates that by 2024, 2.5% of all U.S. homes will have a solar installation. It’s impressive but, the fact is, the opportunity is much larger than 2.5%.
In a recent Pew Survey, 46% of homeowners say they have given serious thought to adding solar panels in the past year. The question is: How do we move from 2.5% to 46%?
The biggest opportunity to take residential solar to scale is to finally connect solar and roofing, as nearly all residential solar is rooftop solar. Despite the obvious interrelated nature of the two industries, until now, most roofing manufacturers and roofing contractors haven’t been involved in the solar world at all.
Making that connection is critical if residential solar is going to reach its potential because of scale, trust and simplicity.
First, the scale of the roofing industry is massive. There are more than 100,000 roofing contractors in the United States with 47 billion in revenue. Millions of new roofs are installed annually and about 7% of homeowners replace their roofs each year. The roofing industry is 20 to 30 times the size of the residential solar industry. Scale reduces costs, reach new consumers and allows companies to enter new markets.
Connecting the roof to solar also simplifies the process. The best and most cost-effective time to go solar is during the installation of a new roof, which provides a great opportunity for homeowners and solar contractors alike.
Solar had a lot of success in the 2010’s – setting records and growing at an unprecedented pace- but how do we grow from here? Installing millions of residential rooftop systems will require new innovations and new businesses. The connection of residential solar and roofing industries offers the best opportunity to reach our potential. By utilizing the scale and trust of the roofing industry, while simplifying residential solar for homeowners, we can reach our sky-high potential.
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