As if the solar energy industry was not already booming, add the world’s richest man and largest electric vehicle manufacturer to the mix, and things may truly be on the verge of taking off like a Space-X rocket. Tesla’s long-awaited and somewhat delayed Solar Roof has finally arrived, and it is about to set the home improvement and solar energy industries on their ears. Installers for this system stand to benefit.
Tesla has put out the call for new installers nationwide, making it known that it will provide full training and no prior experience is necessary to apply. The best-positioned candidates will be well-versed in roofing and photovoltaic (PV) systems, given this technology’s hybrid nature.
Unlike traditional roof-mounted solar panels, which are installed on top of an existing roof, Tesla’s Solar Roof system is comprised of tiles that are in and of themselves mini solar panels linked together to power an entire household. Certified Solar Roof installers may soon be in white-hot demand if Tesla’s robust sales projections are to be believed, but not everyone may be cut out for this growing field.
Tesla Roof Installer Training – Ultimate Secrets
With its acquisition of industry leader SolarCity (owned by Elon Musk’s cousins no less) in 2016, Tesla signaled its intentions to become a major player in the solar energy industry. Just a few years prior (2013 to be exact) to becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesla, SolarCity assumed the mantle as the leading installer of residential solar energy systems in the United States. (Source: EnergySage)
As so succinctly described by CEO Elon Musk when comparing Tesla’s Solar Roof to traditional roof-mounted solar panels, “[i]t’s not a thing on a roof. It is the roof.” This aspect not only differentiates Tesla’s Solar Roof technology from other home solar panel arrays but also necessitates a new approach toward installation with a wider range of skill sets required for Solar Roof contractors. (Source: International Business Times)
After several years of stalled development, it appears that the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York, is finally geared up for full production of what is now the 3rd generation of Tesla’s Solar Roof tile (affectionately referred to as Solarglass). Tesla’s official recruitment of contractors on its website states the need for “roofers, installers, and electricians who will work together to deploy Solar Roof” in 17 named states across the country. (Source: Tesla)
While Tesla’s sales projections for its Solar Roof are ambitious, to say the least, competition figures to be stiff from the outset for contractors eager to get in before things get hot. With proper planning and a willingness to invest in the future, there is a sure-fire way for would-be Solar Roof installers to hit the ground running.
National Standards for Installation of PV Systems
With anticipated throngs of Tesla Solar Roof contractors poised to enter the marketplace, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that these are no ordinary roofing tiles and not every roofer is qualified to install them. Not only are Tesla Solar Roof tiles mini PV panels that need to be connected to each other as part of a solar array, but they also have to be wired to the structure’s electrical system to deliver power.
Even though Tesla is inviting would-be installers to apply for Solar Roof opportunities through its website, savvy parties can get a leg up on their competition by investing in training and education in electrical systems and undergoing voluntary specialized training and certification in the field of photovoltaic installations. (Source: iRoofing)
One such program is offered by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), a non-profit organization whose stated goal is to develop voluntary certification and credentialing programs in the renewable energy industry. With specific regard to Tesla’s Solar Roof, the NABCEP’s PV certification program stands to benefit both installers and customers in the following ways:
- Protect and assure the public that NABCEP-certified PV installers (who would likely be certified or trained by Tesla as well) can be held to a specific standard of competency
- Enable installers to differentiate themselves from their competitors by touting their unique credentials
- Enhance the public’s perception of the particular industry (in this case Tesla’s Solar Roof technology) and the professionals who provide support for it
When it comes to national standards by which contractors in the photovoltaic technology field can be held accountable, the NABCEP certification is widely considered the gold standard. It is a good indicator of a PV contractor’s familiarity with photovoltaic systems and their trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers. (Source: Intermountain Wind & Solar)
National Roofing Certification
According to recent Tesla projections, its Solar Roof Gigafactory is targeting the production of enough solar tiles to install 1,000 roofs per week. Even with its bolstered in-house installation teams, contractor-partners will almost certainly be needed to keep pace with anticipated demand.
Aside from PV installation certification, specialized roofing credentials will give installers a leg up on their competition and help them stand out from among a crowd of contractors in the eyes of customers.
One such certifying body is the NRCA (National Roofing Contractor’s Association), which bestows credentials to roofers through its PROCertification programs. With a range of roofing courses addressing specific installation types, NRCA certification provides credibility and visibility to installers who make the commitment.
What is so Unique about Tesla’s Solar Roof?
Although Tesla’s Solar Roofing system is designed to cover a structure’s entire roof, not all of the tiles will have PV technology built into them. In fact, depending on location and site-specific factors like shade from surrounding trees and other conditions, the actual number of PV-enabled tiles will vary from buyer to buyer.
The Solar Roof tiles are constructed from tempered glass and, according to Tesla, are up to three times stronger and more durable than traditional roofing tiles. One of the primary selling points is that in the long run, the roof will pay for itself through the power it generates, which results in less reliance on utility-provided power. (Source: Tesla – Installation Overview; Tesla – About Solar Roof)
Tesla is currently producing its third generation of Solar Roof (aka Solar Roof V3, or Solarglass), and this iteration is far larger than the original version, measuring 45″ long by 15″ wide (the original Solar roof tiles were 14″ x 9″). It is said that this larger tile is easier to install (resulting in shorter installations), more efficient, and easier to maintain in the long run.
Even Tesla’s Solar Business Model is Innovative
Not only is Tesla looking to revolutionize renewable energy and how it is harnessed and utilized, but its business model for Solar Roof could also possibly transform the way that residential solar systems are purchased and sold. The conventional stream of commerce for roof-mounted solar panels moves something like this:
Supplier outreach to potential buyers through advertising and promotion (it is estimated that solar companies invest thousands of dollars for each realized sale)
- A solar representative meets with the customer to design a customized system from scratch
- Payment of a sales commission to the representative or middle-man
In a novel approach (which is nothing new for Tesla) to connecting with potential buyers and converting sales, Tesla will be relying almost exclusively on its website to:
- Draw interest to its Solar Roof division, relying in large part on its built-in electric vehicle audience
- Customer questionnaire on Tesla’s website not only gauges interest level but also provides the basis for a Solar Roof quotation (eliminates the sales representative)
- Sales contracts are executed digitally, and installation appointments are scheduled through the website
If Tesla’s track record in not just the electric vehicle segment but the entire automobile manufacturing industry is any indication, its Solar Roof V3 will revolutionize residential solar power generation and how it is sold and delivered to customers. And leading the charge will be highly specialized, thoroughly trained, and properly certified installers.