Roof Connections Podcast: Episode 7 – RoofConnect Solar Services

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Listen to the podcast here!

Joe DiSanto, RoofConnect’s Director of Solar Services

Joe is here to talk about solar services through RoofConnect. 

JD: I cut my teeth in 1986 when I went to work for Olympic Fasteners, now known as OMG Roofing Products. About 9 years ago, OMG introduced a roof attachment (Power Grip, Power Grip Plus, etc.) that I quickly realized would work fantastically for solar. In selling these attachments for OMG, I found that the biggest need was commercial roofers nationwide to install the attachments, so that’s where we are today. 

DH: Solar is becoming more and more popular, especially on commercial rooftops, and the market is getting stronger. Can you speak on that?

JD: Solar is a very inexpensive way to get your energy. We know there are a lot of carbon challenges, climate changes, people are thinking about ways they can do their part to help the world pollution problem. Clean energy is one of those ways. One of the main reasons for adding solar to commercial rooftops is the landscape. There’s a wide-open area where we can add solar. Along with ground mounts, it is helping businesses and homeowners reduce their energy costs and be part of the dynamic future of solar energy.

DH: When it comes to solar installation, what are some of the biggest challenges to installers, and why is it so important to hire a qualified contractor?

JD: A lot of people don’t understand, when they are dealing with a commercial rooftop, the warranty is what it is all about. Commercial buildings have a unique roof warranty, that really protects the interior of the building. If a solar installer were to just go up and install solar, the warranty would be null and void, causing the building owner to assume all the risks associated with the roof. That is why it is important to have a certified professional roofing contractor go onto the roof prior to the install to inspect the roof, making repairs needed. These solar systems are designed to last 20-30+ years. You want to make sure you are installing them on a roof system that will last the same amount of time. We want to make sure the roof is solar ready before installation.

DH: Say someone didn’t want to worry about replacing their roof right now, so they go ahead and install the solar, not realizing the costs they could incur when they have to remove the solar to install a new roof.

JD: We are seeing that now from many early installs. The roof was maybe 10 years old when solar was installed, now the solar system has been on for 10 years and the roof needs to be replaced. There are some unique companies out there that decommission and remove the solar system. The challenge with that is the electrical, connections, etc. will need to be replaced. The best bet is to replace the roof first, then install the solar.

DH: How can working with a company like RoofConnect help a qualified local contractor, say if they have a customer interested in solar.

JD: The benefit of dealing with RoofConnect is that we are nationwide and are approved by all the major roof system manufacturers. So no matter the roof system, we will be able to maintain that warranty. The reason we are involved is to maintain the roof warranty. We do the inspection prior to installation, make sure any repairs are completed so that the roof is solar ready. On top of that, we also supply the materials that will be needed for the job. We can provide and install mechanical attachments. There is another product people may not be aware of, called a slip sheet. The racking systems that hold the panels in place are made of metal a lot of times, some are plastic, and you want to separate those from the roof system, to keep the racking system from wearing a hole in the roof. So we also manufacture and supply slip sheets, made from the same material as the roof system, along with ballast blocks. We want to make this process as easy as possible for the installing contractor, providing them with the supplies and materials they need, along with the roofing services.

We have a great website setup that details our solar services, and you can order inspections and services directly from the website, and click on our solar services page. 

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