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Press Release 2011

FM Home Improvement is featured in a Construction Magnet article "Warm up to Solar" (February 08, 2011)

Trying to keep up

No one likes to get left behind. Victor Bolkhovskiy, estimating manager at FM Home Improvements in Denville, N.J., started attending classes and seminars on solar about three years ago. FM has owned and operated its own multiple-profile roll former for almost a decade and Bolkhovzkiy was witnessing the growing numbers of opportunities for solar projects and metal roofing. FM recently completed a standing seam roof project for Englert. “They came to us because we’re a good customer,” Bolkhovskiy says. The New Shrewsbury Racquet Club project in Tinton Falls, N.J., was a combination metal roofing retrofit project and a 281 Kw roof mounted solar project. The project was developed by CSS Energy Services of Matawan, N.J., while Pro-Tech Energy Solutions of Branchburg, N.J., was the design / build integrator. Pro-Tech is a turnkey solar developer in New Jersey that provides more than just installation services. Paul Shust, CFO at Pro-Tech, has personally filed nine ITC grant applications for various Pro-Tech clients and supervised receipt of payment from the U.S. Treasury. This ability is a real benefit for Pro-Tech clients not to have to hire a financial person or accountant and have to pay to provide this service.

Colin Chernowetz, Senior Project Manager for Pro-Tech, supervised the installation of Kyocera crystalline panels on the Shrewsbury project. Chernowetz says Pro-Tech works frequently with Englert roofing as well as other metal roofing installers. The key to making any solar-metal roofing project work is planning … and more planning. “That partnership is very important,” he says. “Communication on every detail ahead of time is important. I’ve always said the most important thing when two trades are working together like this is a mutual respect. Without it, all jobs are doomed to fail or at least be very difficult.” Tony Newman of Englert supervised the project for Englert. Chernowetz says details like panel width, seam height and type of seam are only some of the considerations during the planning process. It’s important the panel seams accommodate the clamps employed by the solar installer. Clamp spacing is affected directly by the panel width — trust the solar installer to know what panel width will make for the most efficient solar layout. In other words, the solar installer wants to use as few clamps as possible because it’s economical and labor efficient. In a large-scale commercial project, the costs could add up fast if you end up using and installing hundreds of extra clamps.

There will always be a learning curve — Chernowetz says one project he worked on resulted in extra work for the roofer because of a problem created by the roofer. The metal roofing contractor installed a standing seam roof that had a 90-degree seam, making it impossible to attach a clamp that attaches the racking system that supports the crystalline solar panels. The roofer had to come back and fold the seam over 180 degrees. “The roofer wasn’t too happy, but it had to be done,” Chernowetz says. It seems like a minor detail, but it resulted in callback time for the roofer.” Solar projects don’t just happen — you have to educate yourself and seek them out. If it isn’t already happening, a competitor is likely a step ahead of you. Pro-Tech understands that as the solar industry grows it has an obligation to educate people the metal roofing industry who will help grow the solar industry larger purely based on their comfort level with solar installations on metal roof buildings.

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