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Are Solar Panels Worth It. Solar roof savings

Are Solar Panels Worth It. Solar roof savings

    Should you replace your roof with solar shingles?

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    Arrow Right Senior editor, Home Lending

    Troy Segal is a senior editor for Bankrate. She edits stories about Homeownership in addition to stories about the finer points of mortgages and home equity loans.

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    Any homeowner who’s concerned about carbon footprints and energy costs has considered solar power — usually, in the shape of solar panels. But now there’s another option: an entire solar roof.

    Solar roofs are composed of solar shingles, aka solar tiles, that can fit over existing shingles or be installed on their own. So the energy-harvesting ability is baked into the roof itself. The shingles do everything regular shingles do, roof-wise (protect your house from the elements), are fire-resistant, and are quite durable. Plus, they look a lot more sleek and seamless than solar panels.

    If you’re considering replacing your roof (or are building a new one for a new home), solar shingles may be a particularly timely choice. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, offers enhanced tax credits of up to 30 percent of the cost of installations, increasing the incentive to go solar.

    Let’s shed more light on the subject.

    What are solar shingles?

    Solar shingles or tiles are like regular roof shingles. But instead of being made of asphalt, clay or slate, they are made of glass that contain photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells act as semiconductors and transfer energy collected from the sunlight into electrons, which can then become electrical current to power your home. Each shingle typically produces between 13 and 63 watts of energy, depending on the brand (one of the latest, by industry leader Tesla, claims to have a max power of 71 watts). While they both convert sunlight to energy, solar shingles are quite different from the solar panels (we’ll dig into the differences later).

    The first solar shingles were developed by DOW Chemical Company, rolling out in 2011. But the concept began to get serious traction in 2016, when Tesla purchased manufacturer Solar City and began offering what it deemed the Tesla Solar Roof. Today, there are several brands of the solar roof tiles available through manufacturers like CertainTeed, GAF Energy, Luma, SunTegra and of course Tesla. (Dow dropped out of the game.)

    The average size of a solar shingle or tile is about 12 inches wide by 86 inches long. It takes about 350 solar tiles for a standard-size roof. Tiles weigh about 13 pounds per square foot, so most roofs can handle them without additional reinforcement.

    What do solar shingles cost?

    Although the have been dropping of late, as more makers enter the market, solar roofs are expensive. On average, the cost to install solar roof shingles runs 21 to 25 per square foot or 2,100 to 2,600 per roofing square. So a total project could easily average 60,000 to 75,000 — at least. That’s considerably higher than the cost of a conventional roof (between 5,646 and 12,031. according to HomeAdvisor). Even expensive traditional materials like clay or slate (800 to 1,800 per square) cost less than solar tile.

    What solar roof tiles will cost you depends on several factors including:

    • Roof size: The bigger the roof, the more shingles needed.
    • Roof pitch/slope: As is the case with any roof, the more extreme the angling, the more difficult/risky the installation will be, which affects the overall cost.
    • Home location: Labor (installation) costs vary by city and state.
    • Energy needs of your home.
    • Particular manufacturer/brand of shingle or tile.

    Still, solar shingle have dropped since their introduction, and they may continue to do so, given the Inflation Reduction Act’s significant incentives and grants for solar implementation, for builders as well as consumers. The Solar Energy Industries Association believes that the IRA’s investment in clean energy will spur “a renaissance in American solar manufacturing,” driving down costs. as its recent “Catalyzing American Solar Manufacturing” report put it.

    What do you save in energy costs?

    While expensive to install, a solar roof can save in the long run. Depending on the number of tiles on your roof, solar shingles can reduce energy costs by anywhere from 40 to 60 percent, according to the consumer education site SolarReviews. Additionally, you may be eligible for federal and state tax incentives.

    Helping the immediate bite a bit: Per the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, eligible homeowners who install solar shingles will qualify for a 30 percent tax credit on the installation cost. Starting in tax year 2023, this credit continues through 2032 (and then at a reduced percentage through 2034). Several states offer credits, rebates and other incentives as well.

    Solar shingles vs solar panels

    Both solar shingles and solar panels can be a great option to take your home energy efficiency to the next level. But which is best for you? The advantages of each in a nutshell:

    Solar shingles Solar panels
    weather-resistant and durable Can be more energy-efficient depending on roof slope, sunlight exposure
    Greater energy-bill savings Shorter installation time
    aesthetically pleasing (fewer potential HOA issues) inexpensive to install

    What are the advantages of a solar roof?

    When compared to conventional roofs and solar panels, there are some advantages to investing in solar shingles.

    • They are projected to be long-lasting (30-40 years)
    • They reduce energy use/carbon footprint and bills
    • They blend in better and resemble traditional roof materials
    • They are more cost effective per watt of solar energy than solar panels
    • They are easier to maintain than solar panels

    What are the disadvantages of a solar roof?

    Downsides of solar shingles relate to their being such a new technology.

    • Availability is more limited
    • They are more expensive than conventional roofs and solar panels
    • They have fewer style and color options
    • Since part of the roof itself, they cannot be installed at an angle like solar panels can, to produce maximum energy
    • They are not conducive to a DIY installation

    The final word on solar shingles

    Solar shingles are still pretty new, which means experienced installers and contractors may be limited in your area. And their exact lifespan and durability is still something of a question mark, of course: None have been around long enough to prove the current projections. Nor is there much sense, as yet, as to how they’d affect a house’s resale value (though eco-friendly features, in general, are getting more popular with homebuyers).

    Still, if you’re an environmentally-conscious homeowner in need of a full roof replacement or a roof for a new build, solar shingles are worth considering. With some states now requiring that newly built homes be solar power-equipped, and enhanced federal tax credits in effect starting in 2023, the time to go solar may be now.

    Are Solar Panels Worth It?

    Lexie came from HomeAdvisor and Angi (formerly Angie’s list) and is responsible for writing and editing articles over a wide variety of home-related topics. She has almost four years’ experience in the home improvement space.

    We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Home. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

    Table of Contents

    It seems like solar panels are popping up on everyone’s roofs these days. Even neighbors you might never expect are taking the solar plunge. With this burst of interest (and government incentives), many folks are wondering, “are solar panels worth it?”

    solar, panels, roof, savings

    That’s just what we’ll take a look at in this article. We’ll discuss some of the most important points to consider when deciding if solar is the right choice for your home, or if it’s just an expensive trend. Keep reading to find out if solar panels are worth it for you.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    How Do Solar Panels Work?

    Solar panels aren’t new technology, but they still have a Cloud of mystery surrounding how they work. The good news is that they aren’t all that complicated.

    Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells. When faced toward sunlight, these cells collect the sun’s energy and transform it into electrical charges. During this process, photons (the light particles) knock electrons off of atoms, creating an electric flow.

    The electricity produced by this process is direct current, or “DC.” The problem is that our electrical systems use alternating current, or “AC.” For this reason, solar systems require inverters to turn DC into usable AC electricity. This inverter is installed between the solar panels and the home’s electrical system.

    In some cases, the solar system may feed a bank of batteries, allowing the home to store electricity overnight or when cloudy conditions prevent effective electric production. In other cases, the system may wire directly into the home’s grid, allowing the user to back feed energy to the utility company, often for a profit.

    Depending on the size of the system, a solar system like the one described above can significantly lower a homeowner’s utility bill. In some cases, the system’s production may even offset the bill completely. This depends on many factors, however, and these factors may determine whether solar is worth it or not.

    Which Homes Benefit the Most From Solar Panels?

    Certain homes benefit from solar more than others. When making a large upfront investment (up to 25,000 in some cases), it’s important to know if the home in question will be able to take full advantage of solar. Much of this has to do with the alignment of their roof in relation to the southern sky.

    Speaking specifically for homes in North America, homes with a south-facing roof section are much better candidates for solar than those with east- and west-facing roofs. Also, homes without tall trees or buildings blocking the sky to their south will benefit more from solar than those next to tall buildings or butted up against forests on their southern side.

    When Are Solar Panels Worth It?

    There are certainly times when solar panels are worth it. It does depend on a few factors, however.


    The location matters. The closer a home is to the equator, the stronger the sun’s intensity will be, and the more potential energy the solar system can create. These homes will see a greater benefit in terms of energy production than homes in the more northern latitudes.

    Also, consider the utility company. Homes in states where electricity is more expensive (California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, for example) will benefit more from solar panels than those where electricity is relatively cheap (Louisiana, Washington, Oregon and North Carolina).

    solar, panels, roof, savings

    Federal, Local and State-Level Tax Incentives

    Certain incentive programs may make installing solar panels worth the investment. For instance, folks who install solar panels between 2022 and 2032 may be able to take advantage of a dollar-for-dollar solar tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s overall cost. Depending on the cost of the system and the taxpayer’s finances, this could be reason enough to consider it.

    Second, many states and counties are offering similar credits, rebates or exemptions. For instance, New York (one of the most expensive states in which to purchase electricity) offers dollar-per-watt rebates, up to 5,000 in a tax deduction, sales tax exemptions and credits back on utility bills for producing more wattage than consumed.

    Energy Bills and Consumption

    The two main points of a solar system are to reduce the homeowner’s dependence on non-renewable electricity and lower their energy bills. In most cases, a solar panel system can reduce the homeowner’s electricity usage, reducing their energy bill.

    But, in ideal conditions, the best solar panel system may actually make the homeowner money. As the system produces more electricity than the home uses, the homeowners may be able to sell the extra wattage to the utility company for a few dollars each month. While it’s unlikely to completely offset the cost of the bill and the installation, it’s money coming into the home that wasn’t before.

    Property Value

    Solar panels will make your home more affordable to maintain over time and energy efficient, and they can positively impact your property’s value. Depending on your location, the quality of the installation and local market conditions, the impact solar panels will have on property value will vary. However, you’ll also want to consider that the impact on property value may not be immediate. The long-term savings on electricity bills can offset the initial solar panel installation cost, making them a wise investment for many homeowners.

    Environmental Impact

    It’s no secret that solar panels are great for the environment. Since solar panels generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gasses or requiring the extraction, transportation or combustion of fossil fuels, solar panels have the lowest environmental impact compared to other forms of energy production. Although the production and disposal of solar panels have some environmental impact, using solar power instead of fossil fuels or other forms of energy production will certainly lessen pollution and environmental degradation.

    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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    How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

    There are a few factors that affect the cost of solar panel s, such as the type and model, the size of your installation and where you live. Therefore, the national average is around 16,000. but it can range anywhere from 3,500 to 35,000. However, it’s important to note that solar panels can save you money over time by generating your own electricity. These savings typically offset the solar panel’s initial installation costs. It’s also worth noting that there are often government incentives and tax credits available for homeowners who install solar panels.

    Potential Benefits of a Solar Panel System

    There are quite a few potential benefits of a solar panel system that may make the decision easier for some folks.

    Increased Home Value

    Solar panel systems can increase a home’s value, boosting profit during resale or allowing the homeowner to borrow a bit more in a refinance. How much the system increases the value will depend on the system’s size, but some experts believe that the home’s value increases by 20 for every 1 saved in yearly utility bills.

    Decreased Pricing Fluctuation

    Utility companies are famous for adjusting their pricing. And, since solar panel systems reduce the homeowner’s dependence on the electric company’s supply, the homeowner will be less susceptible to price fluctuations. Even if the solar panel system does take the home off the grid completely, a more predictable energy bill is a significant benefit.


    In systems designed for energy storage (such as those with battery banks), homes with solar panel systems may be better prepared for natural disasters and grid outages. For instance, if the grid’s power goes out in a storm, the residents can use the stored energy from the batteries until the supply comes back on. And, as soon as the sun comes back out, the batteries will recharge.

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    Potential Drawbacks of a Solar Panel System

    It’s not all butterflies and daisies, though. There are certain potential drawbacks that could send some homeowners running from a solar panel installation.

    Upfront Costs

    While the tax benefits abound, homeowners will still have to pay the upfront costs for installing their solar panel system. can range from just a few thousand dollars to up to 25,000 or more for a system. This obviously depends on size and complexity, but those are costs that the homeowner will have to come up with themselves.

    For those interested in leasing solar panels to lessen the upfront costs, this may be a solid plan. Just note that leasing often means not being able to take advantage of tax benefits.


    Many solar panel systems are designed to last 20 years or more without a reduction in function, but there are certain maintenance items that the homeowner will need to consider. For instance, the panels may need annual or semi-annual cleaning to preserve their efficiency. Also, if the roof underneath the panels needs care or replacement, the panels can significantly add to the cost.

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    While solar panels are becoming more popular and less noticeable, they’re still not some homeowners’ cup of tea. Many folks don’t like the way solar panels look, and for historical preservation societies, they could be against bylaws.

    There could be a solution for both of these scenarios, however. Installing an off-roof system on a set of racks or mounts away from the home is an option, just note that this will add to the cost of the project in terms of hardware, cables and design.

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    THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Can I install my own solar panels?

    Most of the components involved in installing solar panels are relatively simple. Prefabricated parts that simply need assembly make up the majority of the system, and most of the wiring on the roof is plug-and-play. However, tying the panel wiring into the home is a bit more complicated, so DIYers should do their research before attempting their installation. Alternatively the best solar companies usually offer quick, professional, fuss-free installation if you don’t want to DIY.

    Do solar panels increase property taxes?

    Solar panel systems can increase a home’s value, which would appear to increase property taxes. However, since many local lawmakers allow for tax credits or deductions, they’ll have help offsetting or reducing the tax bill.

    Can a house run on solar power alone?

    Depending on the size of your house, how much energy it consumes and how much power your solar panels can generate, you would be able to run your home on solar powers alone. However, the right battery storage system is also necessary to ensure a constant supply of electricity, especially during periods of low sunlight.

    How long do solar panels last?

    Solar panels can last for 25 to 30 years. With proper installation, maintenance and timely repairs, you can help to extend their lifespan.

    How many solar panels do I need?

    The size of your home and the amount of energy you’ll need to power your home will determine how many solar panels you’ll need to install. For example, let’s say your home is roughly 1500 square feet. You’ll probably need between 15 and 18 solar panels to cover the energy needs of that space.

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    Solar panel car roofs: are they a good idea?

    Have you ever seen a solar car? Not just a car that has solar cells on its roof, but a fully solar-powered car. It looks like this:

    Not exactly the kind of vehicle you can count on to get your family to the grocery store and back on a Saturday afternoon, is it? The car you see above is the BluePoint solar car from the Agoria Solar Team, winner of the 2019 World Solar Challenge in Australia.

    The BluePoint traveled 3,019 km (1,876 Mi) across the continent of Australia powered only by the 2.6 square meters of solar cells embedded in its surface. But despite this feat, the power generated by those cells probably couldn’t get you to work and back in a day.

    See, the BluePoint can hold a single occupant with no room for another passenger or any cargo. In fact, it’s tiny, with a total volume of something like 16 cubic feet (not counting its cutout lower section), and weighs fewer than 300 pounds. To put that in perspective, the vehicle most people in the US drive, a mid-sized SUV, takes up 36 times more space and weighs 4,336 pounds.

    Find out how much you can save by switching to solar

    Why aren’t solar-powered cars practical?

    A typical home needs a solar array covering 500 square feet to produce as much power as the people inside need in a year. Ideally, those panels are placed on a south-facing roof with an optimum tilt of about 30 degrees, give or take a few.

    A few years ago, we did the math on how many solar panels you need to charge an electric car. Looking at the Nissan Leaf, at 50 miles per day, we came up with a total of 3.44 kilowatts of solar panels. Some of the best home solar panels on the market make around 345 watts under full sun. You’d need 10 of them to make enough solar energy to power the Nissan Leaf, a small sedan, on its daily journey from work to home if you drive 25 miles each way.

    That’s 250 square feet of solar panels on IDEAL roof space in order to make that much energy.

    That’s why solar-powered cars aren’t practical. There simply isn’t enough surface area on a car to allow the solar cells to generate enough electricity for the average driver, especially considering the surfaces of a car aren’t always pointed in the right direction or not under shade.

    That impracticality isn’t stopping automakers, though. At least a few of them have added photovoltaic cells under special glass on their cars. Some manufacturers add a solar roof or hood, and at least one also puts cells into the door and quarter panels.

    Here’s a bit more about solar car manufacturers:

    Car companies that make solar-powered cars

    Two car companies will soon produce electric cars with solar panel roofs that charge the vehicle battery to run the electric motor: Sono Motors and Lightyear Automotive.

    In addition to the two companies above, Karma, Hyundai, and Toyota offer hybrid electric vehicles with embedded solar cells that make some small amount of electricity. Again, these cars aren’t what we’d call “solar-powered”. For example, the Karma Revero has 200W of solar cells on its roof, which would require full sun for 105 hours to charge the car’s 21 kWh battery and drive 50 miles.

    Most places around the country get about 5-6 hours of full sun equivalent per day, which means you could drive about 2.6 miles per day using just solar energy from the Revero’s rooftop solar cells.

    Sono Motors

    Sono Motors is currently offering its Sion electric vehicle for pre-order for 28,500 Euro (about 32,350 ) if you live in Europe. There’s no telling when it will come to America, but the company claims production will begin in 2023. The car comes with a 35 kWh battery, capable of taking passengers an estimated 158 miles (255 km) per charge.

    importantly, the Sono Sion has 248 solar cells embedded in its roof, hood, trunk, and sides. Simply put, it has more solar than any other car on the market. Each solar cell can generate an estimated 4.84 watts under full sun, and the whole surface of the car is rated to produce 1.2 kW.

    There’s just one problem, with solar cells on the roof, hood, trunk, and sides, only some of the solar cells will ever get full sun at any given time.

    Can the Sono Sion charge itself with solar power?

    Sono claims the Sion can get “up to 34 kilometers” (21.1 miles) of range per day using just the solar cells embedded in its surface. That’s a pretty sweet deal, but is it accurate?

    Based on Sono’s estimate, the Sion gets 4.53 miles for every kilowatt-hour of energy stored in its battery. We ran the numbers based on the location of the cells in the Sion’s body through NREL’s PVWatts solar estimating tool, and found out (drumroll, please), that it’s possible that Sono is right.

    If you leave the Sion parked all day, facing northward, on a perfectly flat street in Sante Fe New Mexico (one of the sunniest places in the U.S.) with no shade, and don’t move it (deep breath), our estimates show an average daily charge of 5.32 kWh. Enough to go 24 miles.

    But does anyone really use their car like that? You want to drive the thing, right? That means you’ll be driving in all different directions, and parking in places with shade, clouds, birds that poop on your car, and more. We’d say you’ll actually get maybe half that range from just solar on an average day in sunny places.

    Lightyear Automotive

    The Lightyear One is a solar-roofed challenger to Sono Motors’ Sion, but the differences between the two are pretty stark.

    For starters, the Lightyear One is currently available for reservation for 150,000 Euro (about 170,000 ), which is more than 5 times the cost of the Sion. importantly, the Lightyear One has a battery that can hold 60 kWh — a little less than twice that of the Sion — but because of the car’s sleek design, the One can get almost 3 times the range that Sono can offer.

    The roof of the Lightyear One contains 5 square meters of solar cells, packed more densely than those on the Sion. Basically, it looks like Lightyear managed to fit about the same generating power as Sono did, but only on the roof and hood.

    Lightyear claims the One can get 12 km (7.46 Mi) of range for every hour it spends in the bright sun, which would mean an average of about 30 miles per day in most places. And although we’re just as skeptical of that claim as we are of Sono’s, the increased efficiency of the Lightyear One makes it plausible that you could see that much production on a good day.

    What about Tesla?

    Tesla is notable for its cars’ lack of solar roofs, despite the fact that the company itself manufactures solar cells and panels for use on homes. The head of Tesla, Elon Musk, said in 2017 that a car is “the least efficient place to put solar,” and we tend to agree. Still, there are people who just want to see the world run on a tiny bit more solar. Aftermarket kits that convert a Tesla’s roof to solar are available now.

    The final word on solar panel car roofs

    Look, cars are just not ideal for solar panels. We need them to be mobile, go anywhere, and withstand not just outdoor weather, the wind whipping around at 60-80 mph, rocks kicked up from the road, bird poop, and whatever life throws at them.

    We all look for shady spots to put our cars when we park them, so why add a reason to find the sunniest spot? Our cars end up spending lots of time in garages and covered parking ramps, which means a lot of time out of the sun.

    You know about range anxiety? How about adding the anxiety of having to find a sunny spot just to eke out a mile or two on your commute home? How much further from your destination would you park to find that spot?

    We love solar power, but we also understand the best place for it is installed on a home.

    solar, panels, roof, savings

    ️ GAF Solar Shingles near Gainesville Lake City FL

    Homeowners are always looking for ways to save on their energy bills, and solar roofing is a great way to do just that. Not only does this save you money on your energy bills, but it’s an environmentally friendly option at an affordable price.

    Why solar roofing?

    Solar roofing is a great energy-saving, eco-friendly, economical choice for homeowners.

    A solar roof is a roof that incorporates solar panels into its design. These panels convert sunlight into energy, which can be used to power a home or business. Solar roofs are becoming more and more popular, as they offer a number of benefits over traditional rooftop solar panels.

    • Solar roofing is a renewable energy source, which means it doesn’t produce harmful emissions like other roofing systems
    • It’s easier to install and requires less maintenance than other roofing systems
    • Proven to be a cost-effective way to generate electricity without harming the environment

    Additionally, solar roofing will increase the value of your home!

    Never Been Easier!

    In partnership with North America’s leading roofing manufacturer, GAF, we offer elegant, low-profile solar panels that install like a skylight, ensuring a water-tight, beautiful roof that generates clean energy.

    To keep it simple, we offer one warranty for the roof and solar panels. Additionally, GAF-certified roofers will do all the work on the roof, guaranteeing the best standards for installation.

    It’s never been easier to turn your roof into real estate that works for you!

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    Energy-EfficienT Roof That Pays for Itself

    GAF Energy solar can produce electricity at a lower cost than your utility company. The more you produce and use your own electricity, the less you purchase from the utility company.

    Over time, GAF Energy solar can even pay for itself AND your new roof, via monthly electric bill savings and government incentives.

    You can also get credit for solar energy you send back to the grid when your panels produce more power than your home uses. This further increases your monthly savings!

    Best Solar Warranty

    The GAF Energy system makes it easy for you to go solar.

    Working with a GAF-certified roofer to go solar means your new roof and its integrated solar have the option to be covered under the same industry-leading warranty.

    This warranty is backed by our partnership with GAF, a company that has been in business for more than 100 years. direct experience and dedication you can rely on.

    Local Choice Global Impact

    When you choose to install solar roofs on your home, you are making a choice that has a positive impact on the environment both locally and globally.

    Solar roofs provide an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional roofing materials, and they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    By choosing solar roofs, you are helping to reduce the amount of pollution in the air and making a difference on the environment.

    Go Solar! Request FREE Estimate

    Designed by experts

    Solar roofing was designed by experts who know how to save you money on your energy bill while also caring for our environment.

    With GAF solar roofing, you can choose from a variety of colors and styles to match your home’s existing look. Plus, our solar roofing is backed by the strongest warranty in the industry.

    We’d love to help turn your roofing plans into reality with dedicated excellence to our craft.

    When you’re ready, we’re here for you.

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