The premier of Solar Bay at the 19th annual METALCON International started a significant education process. This unique highlight in the exhibit hall devoted to the latest solar technologies raised awareness among the 5,600 visitors about the value that metal roofs and walls add to renewable energy systems.
“This year we had a great line up of 32 companies and organizations in Solar Bay who did a fantastic job of sharing their expertise on renewable energy," says Claire Kilcoyne, show director. "But our feedback shows we’ve only begun to educate the industry about the value of metal roofs and walls to this growing market. The 2010 Solar Bay will have a track of new programs and more system displays, including more interactive opportunities.”
Solar Bay 2009 presentations provided an overview of the industry and metal’s role in it and captured feedback about where more knowledge is needed.
Roof Hugger, Inc., Odessa, Fla., was one of the participating companies. Mark James, vice president of sales & marketing for the company noted: “The greatest interest seemed to be on solar thermal systems and thin film PV, which currently are not as common in the marketplace as the crystalline PV.”
Tony Deloach, owner of WES Industries, Sarasota, Fla., says more people need to recognize the value metal roofs have for renewable energy. “We’re glad METALCON had Solar Bay. It raised awareness of the benefits of using metal roofing with renewable energy systems. Although many manufacturers and installers understand the concept, it appears a lot more education is needed. The interesting thing is that most people don’t recognize how valuable the warranty on metal roofing is. It makes complete sense for solar because of the long life of the metal roof at 40, 60 or more years.” WES Industries is a developer and installer of large renewable energy systems.
Tom Price, executive director of Black Rock Solar, based in San Francisco, agrees. “The industry is actually very young. Most of the questions from the audience related to the basics. It was obvious that how to integrate metal and solar systems remains unanswered for a lot of people, in part because the technology is evolving. For instance, non-penetrating clamps did not exist a couple of years ago, and those have greatly simplified the process.”
“The exciting thing about renewable energy systems is that it’s not complicated; right now it’s just unfamiliar. Any confident roofer can learn the basics in a day. The hard part is where to learn it and that’s why Solar Bay was a good start in the process,” Price says. Black Rock Solar is the nation’s largest non-profit installer of renewable energy.
Watch this space for more news on Solar Bay and the 20th METALCON International, which takes place October 20-22, 2010 in at the Las Vegas Convention Center.