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GAF Energy’s “Nailable” Timberline Solar Shingles. Gaf solar roof tiles

GAF Energy’s “Nailable” Timberline Solar Shingles. Gaf solar roof tiles

    GAF Energy’s “Nailable” Timberline Solar Shingles

    US company GAF Energy unveiled its Timberline Solar roof shingle product yesterday, and it’s created a fair bit of buzz.

    GAF Energy’s sister company GAF seems to know a thing or two about roofing. The company claims that of the five million new roofs installed across the USA each year, a quarter of those come from GAF – so its move into developing a Building-Integrated PV (BIPV) product isn’t suprising.

    “Solar roofs are the future of clean energy, and Timberline Solar is the game-changing innovation that will get us there,” said Martin DeBono. president of GAF Energy.

    The shingles come in long strips with connectors on the front face, which are protected by conduit when installed. All that’s needed for installation in terms of tools is a nail gun, wielded by a GAF certified installer.

    This isn’t a retrofit solution – it’s for new roofs or for full roof replacements.

    The nailable Timberline Solar shingles are warranted to withstand winds up to 130 mph (around 210 kph). Just on warranty, there’s 25 years of coverage against manufacturing defects that cause leaks, 15 years against wind damage caused by winds up to 130 mph and 25 years of coverage for performance. I didn’t see mention of a specific product warranty, but that’s assumed to be covered under performance 1. There are also extended warranties that can be purchased.

    Show Me The Money (And Specifications)

    GAF Energy did a bang-up job of getting attention for the Timberline Solar launch, but is vague in its promo on a lot of the nitty-gritty (and the not-so). This isn’t uncommon when new solar products are launched, but disappointing nonetheless.

    There wasn’t any mention of cost, but if it comes in well under the very pricey Tesla Solar Roof (not yet available in Australia) and assuming it’s a solid product; it could go gangbusters in the USA. Rumour has it Timberline will be around half the cost of Tesla Solar Roof.

    To GAF Energy’s credit, they haven’t over-hyped the potential financial benefits – stating it “may” pay for itself over time:

    You’d want it to – otherwise, there’s not a lot of point aside from the emissions reduction benefits and aesthetics – and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    I couldn’t find a spec sheet for the solar shingle product on GAF Energy’s web site, but I was able to glean specifications for Timberline Solar elsewhere:

    • Dimensions: 1,632 x 435 x 26mm
    • Weight: 4.58kg
    • Avg. ambient temperature range:.40°C – 50°C
    • Capacity: 45W
    • Cell type: Monocrystalline PERC
    • Temperature Coefficient (Voc).0.30%/°C
    • Temperature Coefficient (Pmax)-0.39%/°C

    The solar roof shingles are to be assembled at GAF Energy’s manufacturing and RD facility in San Jose, California.

    Timberline Solar certainly impressed judges at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, taking out the Best of Innovation (Smart Cities) award, and was named an honoree in Best of Innovation (Smart Home).

    Will Timberline Solar Be Available In Australia?

    GAF Energy hasn’t said. While shingle roofs aren’t all that common in Australia, I noticed a company in Victoria installing them that is the exclusive distributor of GAF roofing products locally. So, GAF gear is here, and perhaps the Timberline Solar shingle product will follow.

    “You can’t get energy from every roof unless everyone can choose a solar roof,” says GAF Energy. “With our breakthrough technology and commitment to roofing excellence, we’re working hard to make that happen, as quickly as possible.”

    But I’m not sure if they had Australians in mind as Americans can have odd interpretations of the term “everyone”.

    Footnotes

    • Solar panels usually come with two warranties – product, which warrants against defects in workmanship, and performance, which warrants power output over X years – commonly 25. The relationship between product and performance warranties is a bit fuzzy, but the product warranty is the most important one. ↩

    Roofing companies take the lead in solar shingle race

    Solar shingles, solar tiles, solar roofs — whatever you call them — are trendy once again with the announcement of a “nailable” product from GAF Energy. These products in the building-applied or building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) category of the market take solar cells and condense them into smaller panel sizes that attach to a residential roof on a lower-profile than traditional rack-mounted solar systems.

    The idea for solar-integrated roofing products has been around since the beginning of solar generation itself, but the more successful attempts have been made in the last decade. Promising lines of solar shingles (like Dow’s Powerhouse) have largely failed due to their lack of an installation network willing to get on the roof with the solar product.

    Tesla has been learning this the hard way with its whole-roof attempt at solar shingles. Solar installers aren’t always familiar with roofing needs, and traditional roofers aren’t versed in connecting glass tiles for electricity generation. This has required Tesla to learn on the fly, being responsible for managing every project instead of subbing out.

    “The solar shingle is something everyone’s interested in, but what Tesla is doing is very complicated,” said Oliver Koehler, CEO of solar shingle company SunTegra. “If you imagine replacing the whole roof, not just the solar area — it gets quite complex. It’s not something your average solar integrator even wants to be part of.”

    That’s why the more successful companies like SunTegra, which makes solar shingles that are installed in conjunction with traditional asphalt shingles or concrete tiles, have made their solar roofing products in sizes more familiar to roofers and solar installers alike, and reached out to those communities for installation expertise.

    SunTegra has been making 110-W solar shingles and 70-W solar tiles since 2014 and relies on a small group of authorized dealers to complete around 50 solar roof installs each year, mostly in the Northeast for upper-middle-class homeowners.

    “We have lots of leads doing literally nothing [other] than just having our website out there. A lot of homeowners love solar but don’t necessarily love solar panels. The issue for us is how do you satisfy that demand,” Koehler said. “Solar shingles and tiles are still a niche, but it can become a bigger part of the market. The costs have to come down and how it integrates with the standard solar installer has to become streamlined from both a sales and product perspective.”

    SunTegra may be succeeding with its modest installation record, but the real secret to growing the solar roof market is getting solar shingles on more middle-class homes through existing roofing installation channels. The two frontrunners in this race are roofing giants GAF and CertainTeed, although they’re banking on very different products.

    Focusing on roofs rather than solar

    The solar shingle with the most real-world experience is the Apollo II product from CertainTeed. On the market since 2013, Apollo can be installed on both asphalt shingle and concrete tile roofs (and slate and cedar-shake roofs). Mark Stevens, CertainTeed’s solar product manager, said the industry can expect a next-generation design within the next year, but right now the Apollo II solar shingle tops out at 77 W, using two seven-cell rows.

    CertainTeed Solar Apollo II

    Rather than covering an entire roof with solar tiles, CertainTeed keeps its solar shingle to 46- by 14-in. and allows traditionally sized CertainTeed-branded asphalt shingles to be used around the perimeter of the Apollo array. And although CertainTeed doesn’t make concrete tiles, the Apollo system can still be used on that specialty roof without custom tiles.

    “We’re a vetted solar shingle. We’ve been around almost 10 years. We know what our product is and how it performs,” Stevens said. “But right now, solar roofing is only 2% of the market.”

    That is why CertainTeed offers full-sized solar panels in addition to its solar shingle. Both products are assembled through an OEM in San Jose, California.

    “It’s important for us to have [traditional solar panels and solar shingles] to have a good presence in the industry. It gives us a good option and a better option,” Stevens said. “Apollo gets people interested because it’s low-profile [and] aesthetically pleasing. Then they see the price is slightly more.” But CertainTeed installers can offer traditional rack-and-solar-panel systems as a cheaper alternative.

    CertainTeed Solar Apollo II

    The key to CertainTeed’s success is working through its existing network of dealers. Customers may reach out for a bare reroof and then open to the idea of solar after talking to one of the thousands of certified CertainTeed roofers across the country.

    “Solar shingles have been out for a while. But having a company like GAF and CertainTeed bring that information to roofers is a big deal,” Stevens said. “It’s a struggle for those Dows and SunTegras to have those connections. They’re approaching roofers, but it’s a challenge because they’re not already associated on the asphalt shingle side.”

    Like CertainTeed, GAF and its solar division, GAF Energy, is turning to the company’s existing network of asphalt shingle roofing installers to generate buzz around GAF’s solar roofing product. Also already involved with full-sized module installations through its DecoTech offering, GAF Energy is now shifting FOCUS to its new nailable solar shingle: Timberline Solar Energy Shingle.

    Comparison of GAF Energy’s DecoTech product (full-sized solar panels) and Timberline Solar (solar shingles)

    “Our thesis from a design and development perspective was, ‘Let’s make a roof that can generate electricity vs. trying to take a solar form factor and squeeze that down to fit on a roof,’” said Reynolds Holmes, GAF Energy’s VP of services and product management. “GAF Energy is partnered with a company that has almost 10,000 certified contractors who are installing asphalt shingles. If you could take that base of an asphalt shingle, design a way to make [solar] installable just like an asphalt shingle, not change the labor force, not change the tool set but be able to provide electricity and energy through that product — I think we could knock it out of the park.”

    The Timberline Solar shingle is approximately 64- by 17-in, while the solar portion (one row of 16 half-cut cells that generates 45 W) measures 60- by 7.5-in. That extra non-solar portion is actually TPO roofing material and is nailed to a roof.

    “We designed it to be handled by one person with a nail gun. We reached that max length of anything longer than 60 in. of rigidity became unmanageable for a single installer,” Holmes said.

    GAF Energy Timberline Solar Energy Shingle

    Timberline Solar is installed alongside Timberline Solar HD shingles, which are specialty sized (40-in.) asphalt shingles for the solar roof. By having both products divisible by 10, the staggered pattern of shingles made by roofers can still easily be laid down. The whole Timberline Solar system (which is assembled in the 50-MW GAF Energy manufacturing facility in San Jose, California) was designed for ease of installation — the connectors are on top of the solar shingle and covered with a protective shield after the roof is fully installed.

    Texas roofing company Roof Fix is one of those 10,000 GAF dealers that will install the Timberline Solar product as it rolls out across the country. Shaunak Patel, home advisor at Roof Fix, said the company also previously installed the DecoTech product and was often fielding questions about other solar shingle companies, especially Tesla. Patel liked to reiterate that it’s more advantageous to work with a roofing company rather than a technology developer.

    “Tesla is effectively a rack-mount system. You have a ton of penetrations in your roof. You have all these potential failure points, especially from a company that doesn’t do roofing,” he said. “We’re a roofing company. We’re not a solar company that’s trying to do roofing.”

    GAF Energy Timberline Solar Energy Shingle

    While GAF Energy’s and CertainTeed’s solar roof products aren’t as visually cohesive as what Tesla is attempting, Holmes said realistic demands on aesthetics are not what’s impeding growth of the BIPV market — scale is.

    “You have to design and develop a great product that has an accessible price point, but you also have to build the infrastructure to scale this product,” he said. “The thing we’ve leaned heavily on and made design decisions maybe against being the highest power is making sure it’s installable by this 10,000-strong network. At the end of the day, if you have a great product that meets all needs but there’s no one who can install it, you might as well not have a great product.”

    energy, nailable, timberline, solar

    About The Author

    Kelly Pickerel

    Kelly Pickerel has over a decade of experience reporting on the U.S. solar industry and is currently editor in chief of Solar Power World.

    Комментарии и мнения владельцев

    This product looks terrible. Every photo has a home that obviously has solar, so why not just get panels if you don’t care what it looks like? Bad looking installations just ruin the marketplace for those that do good work.

    Good article and couldn’t agree more with the final paragraph. The shingles are a nice product but what about the performance? Standard modules have much more air flow around them which will have considerably lower operating temps. With voltage directly and negatively affected by high temps, how do these roof shingles perform in the real word in comparison? I can see they are less efficient /sqft, so you need a larger array area to get the same rated power, but then once installed, how do they compare with real world production to standard systems? I am not looking for sales pitches, just real data to compare. I am not finding anyone providing this which makes me question the product in general. If it was good, wouldn’t they be bragging is my argument.

    GAF Timberline Solar Shingles on Long Island

    As an environmentally conscious New Jersey homeowner, you shouldn’t have to compromise between solar energy and reliable roofing materials that stand up to the elements.

    A1 Roofing installs GAF Timberline solar shingles in Long Island and the surrounding areas, so you can enjoy a stunning solar roof that’s built to last for years to come.

    As Factory-Certified GAF Master Elite contractors, the A1 roofing team is trained to install solar shingles with the highest level of craftsmanship. You can trust in the longevity of your new solar roof because our work is 100% guaranteed.

    Why Invest in Solar Shingles?

    Replacing your roof is a significant investment in your home. Compared to other options, solar shingles offer a number of financial and environmental benefits:

    • State and federal tax credits are available to Long Island homeowners who install solar roofs.
    • Solar power protects the environment and reduces your home’s carbon footprint.
    • Switching to solar energy may lower your monthly electric bill.
    • Stylish, sturdy solar shingles may improve your home’s curb appeal and resale value.

    Tax credits for solar energy

    Some homeowners shy away from making the switch to solar energy because they expect materials and installation to be expensive, but federal and state incentives, such as tax credits and rebates, make solar roofs more affordable.

    In addition, many A1 Roofing customers qualify for 0% financing, reducing the up-front costs for your roof.

    Contact us to learn how affordable solar shingles can be. Ask us about our flexible payment options and financing.

    Environmentally friendly roofing

    Installing solar shingles on Long Island is a sustainable choice. As a trusted leader in the roofing industry, GAF is actively working to achieve several “ Planet Goals ’ by 2030:

    • Divert 1 million tons of roofing materials from landfills each year
    • Integrate recycled asphalt shingle content into all shingle GAF products by 2030
    • Recycle 100% of TPO/shingle scrap that results from the manufacturing process
    • Retain, reuse, or recycle 100% of fiberglass mat scraps and cores
    • Reduce carbon emissions across the manufacturing process
    • Reduce operational carbon in buildings and communities through GAF’s products, services, and expertise
    • Achieve Environmental Product Declarations for 100% of products
    • Generate 2.5GW of power from solar roofs

    Decreased electric bills

    The desire for a lower monthly electric bill is Long Island homeowners’ major motivator for making the switch to solar energy. With solar power, some—or even all—of the electricity you use in your home can be free. In fact, you might even discover a credit on your monthly electric bill for using less power from the grid!

    Discover our residential roofing services and start saving on your electric bill with solar power.

    Raise your home’s resale value

    Throughout Long Island, solar roofs are in high demand. Home buyers recognize the many benefits of solar energy—and are willing to pay a premium for a home with them already installed! As a result, many newly constructed homes are being built with this amenity installed by default. Aside from their practicality, solar roofs are sleek and attractive enough to suit today’s most popular curb appeal trends. Some solar roofing options look much like traditional roofing and are difficult to detect from a distance. Others feature an ultra-modern style that many homeowners find desirable. Thanks to a combination of tax credits, rebates, and 0% financing options, installing solar panels or solar shingles is a surprisingly affordable way to increase your home’s resale value.

    Solar Shingle Technology

    It’s no wonder that many homeowners don’t favor the idea of installing solar panels on their existing roofs. While solar panels have served as a cost-effective way to generate solar power since 1956, they can be bulky, fragile, and too heavy for some roofs to support safely. Solar panels may also clash with the desired look some homeowners want for their home

    If you want to switch to solar energy but you aren’t interested in installing solar panels, solar shingles are an attractive alternative.

    energy, nailable, timberline, solar

    It’s a roof. With solar energy. It’s that simple.

    They say a technology has really arrived when it becomes seamless. When its engineering and integration are so advanced, it becomes simple. Introducing Timberline Solar™. A roof designed and developed to produce clean energy, while doing all the other things that roofs do so well. It’s really that simple.

    Power and precision

    Aesthetics are a cornerstone of our products. Our roof-integrated solar products have superior water-shedding qualities. And they’re installed by those who know roofs best, the world over: GAF-certified roofing contractors.

    Sleek, low-profile, and precision-built, these are roofs neighbors will envy.

    Learn more about our solar roof offering

    Timberline Solar™ offers a solar shingle roofing system designed and assembled in the United States. Available in select markets—with Rapid expansion plans—Timberline Solar™ is changing clean energy adoption for homeowners.

    There’s no better time to go solar than when you’re getting a new roof.

    Straight from the source: roofers react to Timberline Solar™

    With a GAF Energy solar roof, you’ll not only get a roof that’s durable and has curb appeal, it’s also financially Smart, since you can save on your energy bills over time.

    “With Resnick Roofing and GAF Energy, we had a clear sense that we would be working with good teams. It made the jump to solar easy when we needed a new roof.”

    We’ve got you covered

    A GAF Energy solar roof makes it easy for you to choose a cutting-edge roofing option, one that is also reliable, certified by key testing agencies like UL to meet the highest standards.

    Working with a GAF-certified roofer, too, means you’re working with those who know roofing best–and you have the option to be covered under an industry-leading warranty.

    This warranty is backed by our partnership with GAF, a company that has been in business for more than 100 years.

    “The overall cost of my roof with the solar was surprisingly affordable and the financing they offered was very competitive. Having the same installer for both the shingles and solar simplified the installation process and eliminated the need for contacting multiple parties if any issues arise.”

    Local choice, global impact

    Clean energy is the new paradigm.

    Choosing a solar roof for your home means contributing to the acceleration of renewable energy use. And that’s a great thing, for now and for generations to come.

    Will GAF Energy beat Tesla on integrated solar roofs?

    The sister company of roofing giant GAF has sector-spanning smarts and thousands of installs to date.

    SAN JOSE. California — GAF Energy has installed several thousand integrated solar roofs. That’s more than Tesla Energy has installed despite the ambitious promises of its CEO. Elon Musk. In fact, GAF Energy President Martin DeBono believes that his company’s just-launched photovoltaic roof shingle design positions it to solarize millions of residential roofs.

    “ What we’ve built is a nailable solar shingle that goes on as fast or faster than a regular shingle, looks great and generates electricity,” said DeBono, who spoke with Canary Media during this reporter’s recent visit to the company’s new 50.megawatt-capacity, 112. 000.square-foot manufacturing facility in San Jose, California.

    energy, nailable, timberline, solar

    GAF Energy is a Standard Industries company and sister company to GAF. one of the world’s largest roofing companies. GAF manufactures asphalt shingles as well as roofing materials such as thermoplastic polyolefin ( TPO ), polyvinyl chloride ( PVC ) and underlayments.

    Standard Industries businesses include operating companies GAF. BMI. Grace, Siplast, Schiedel and SGI. as well as Standard Investments and Winter Properties. Forbes ranks Standard as No. 65 on its list of America’s largest private companies.

    Disrupting the roofing industry

    “ Technology has ripped apart every industry, and technology is going to change roofing. We’re the largest roofing manufacturer in the world; either we’re going to go disrupt the roofing industry ourselves or someone else will,” said DeBono.

    The CEO contrasted the traditional solar mounting process — solar panels installed on racking secured by drilling through the roof and ​ “ trying to hit a rafter” — with the GAF Energy product, ​ “ a shingle that is lapped, installed and booked just like any other shingle would be in order to create a waterproof barrier.”

    DeBono said GAF developed the product by thinking like a roofing company, not a solar company, building a roofing product that happens to have solar capabilities. He said the roofing industry is 20 times larger than the rooftop solar business and has an enormous advantage in scale.

    Residential solar installations exceeded 130. 000 systems in the U.S. last quarter, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, while more than 5 million new roofs are installed on U.S. homes each year, according to DeBono, who also said that GAF commands a 25 percent share of the U.S. roofing market.

    energy, nailable, timberline, solar

    For a traditional solar company, the process of customer acquisition is the most expensive part of a residential solar system, costing far more per watt than the solar panels themselves. DeBono estimates that customer-acquisition costs for roofers are ​ “ typically less than 500. compared to 3. 000 to 5. 000 for a solar roof.”

    DeBono said GAF Energy is making it easier to complete the electrical connections by placing the electronics and wiring on the top side of its shingles. ​ “ GAF Energy does all the electrical services. The roofer does the roof, and at a later date, the GAF Energy employee will come and install the inverter and finish the electrical run,” he said.

    “ As the manufacturer of both the solar and the shingle itself, we want to make sure that it’s done correctly if we’re going to be on the hook for a 25.year warranty,” he said.

    Installation time is one to three days, according to DeBono, which compares favorably to the weeks-long construction process often needed to install a Tesla solar roof (despite that company’s repeated insistence that it takes only five to seven business days).

    Get Caught Up

    Can the US manufacture enough solar panels to meet its surging demand?

    “ Because it’s built as a roofing product, it has to meet roofing standards. It has to be able to be submerged in water; it has to be able to withstand hail; it has a Class A fire rating — all standards that a solar panel does not need to meet but a roof does,” said DeBono.

    It’s a roof and it’s BIPV

    GAF Energy’s solar roofing system is a type of building-integrated photovoltaics, known as BIPV. Bunea said, ​ “ It’s a roof and it’s BIPV. so when we are certifying, we have to certify in both worlds. We have roofing industry standards as well as BIPV standards.”

    She added, ​ “ The testing agencies have become smarter about building-integrated photovoltaics.”

    In September 2021. GAF Energy’s solar shingle achieved UL ’s 7103 certification, which authorizes the company to install its system on residential roofs as a roofing product and a solar energy product — the first product to be recognized as both, according to GAF Energy.

    There’s huge potential for the product. Americans want solar on their homes. Even as the pandemic persisted, residential solar deployment in the U.S. was up 21 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, reaching a record 3. 9 gigawatts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    BIPV is a tough business

    But GAF Energy has some competition. In addition to Tesla, there are a number of BIPV designers and installers operating today, including ArteZanos, Atum, CertainTeed, Forward, Heliatek, Lumeta, SunTegra, Ubiquitous Energy and Viridian Solar.

    There is also a long list of less-than-successful BIPV efforts.

    But GAF Energy’s parent company is fully behind its lofty aims.

    “ Realizing our vision of a breakthrough mass-market solar roof has been our mission since we launched GAF Energy in 2019 ,” said David Winter and David Millstone, co-CEOs of Standard Industries, in a press release.

    DeBono notes that unlike the offerings of some other high-profile vendors, ​ “ The product is available today; it’s not vaporware.” He adds, ​ “ Our mission is energy from every roof, starting with composite shingle roofs.”

    Correction: This story initially reported that GAF Energy’s mono PERC solar cells are domestically manufactured. In fact, they are manufactured overseas, not in the U.S. (though not in China).

    Eric Wesoff is the editorial director at Canary Media.

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