By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
More Americans are installing solar energy on their roofs every year. According to a 2016 assessment from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory adding rooftop solar on small buildings could theoretically meet a quarter of electricity demand in the United States. However, installing efficient, durable and eye-pleasing solar panels on roofs at a reasonable cost hasn’t been easy.
That is until GAF Energy introduced the solar panel of the future: the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle. While solar technology is nothing new, these shingles are unique in that they act as both a roofing material and solar panel array. "This is the only product to integrate solar technology into existing roofing processes and materials to yield a full-fledged solar roof, enabling mainstream deployment of clean energy via traditional roofing channels,” President of GAF Energy Martin DeBono told Tech Crunch.
These shingles are simple to install requiring no special equipment or knowledge and making home renewable energy far more accessible. In fact, Timberline Solar shingles can be installed by any roofer with a nail gun. “No one has ever specifically tried to make a solar product that a roofer can install,” Martin tells CNBC. “It goes on twice as fast as typical solar.”
Installation is typically the largest expense for residential solar energy systems, fixing the high cost and learning curve of installing solar energy could be the key to solar energy becoming widely adopted by homeowners.
The aim of the new product is to drive the cost of installation down and encourage more solar energy on the roof. “What we’ve done is we’ve created a shingle that has solar properties,” president of GAF Energy Martin DeBono told the Washington Post. “While someone is getting a new roof, we can offer them a solar roof.”
″The natural moment to actually put solar on a roof is that moment when you’re already about to replace your roof. It makes literally no sense to put brand new PV on an old roof that’s well into its warranty,” co-CEO of Standard Industries David Winter tells CNBC.
With access to GAF’s national contractor network, GAF Energy is well-positioned to grow residential solar in the mass market, as GAF Energy is there to introduce the possibility of solar the moment the homeowner needs to repair the roof.
Timberline Solar is cost-competitive with traditional rack-mounted systems. It is estimated that a GAF Energy solar roof can save about $14,000 when it comes to solar panel installation. A $30,000 solar roof is far cheaper than anything on the market today, and this affordable option for solar makes it much more attractive than getting a new roof installed along with solar panels.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that these solar shingles are easy on the eyes. The shingles look remarkably similar to traditional shingles, with the main difference being the outward facing shingle is made of photovoltaic cells rather than asphalt. These panels collect solar energy and then transfer it through wires on the end of each shingle.
These shingles are efficient too. According to Electrek, GAF has become the first company to receive UL’s new “building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) solar roofing certification,” UL 7103 with this innovation.
Martin tells Washington Post that GAF Energy’s goals are to have 10 percent of all the roofs that GAF install have solar shingles within the next three years — which could translate to more than 100,000 new solar roofs annually.
Senior Vice President of Solar R&D at GAF Energy Gabriela Bunea told CNBC ″I hope that maybe in five, ten years when people are thinking about changing their roof, they will pick the solar roof, because it makes economic sense, because it’s attractive and because you will have the same warranty as the rest of the roof.”
These shingles are a step in making solar roofing options affordable and accessible to everyone, the future is looking solar friendly with the invention of the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle.
“It looks great, goes up fast and it’s legit,” Martin told the Washington Post. “We think that many people will choose now to go solar.”
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Photo Credit: Provided to CNBC by GAF Energy
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