The idea appears apparent: Why put solar panels on a roof when you would simply make the roof out of solar panels? But Tesla’s try to design a solar roof didn’t go properly: The solar tiles turned out to be difficult to set up, and the ultimate value for patrons has typically develop into tens of thousands of dollars higher than they had been quoted. But GAF Energy, a spinoff of the world’s largest roofing firm, launched a new solar roof at present that it believes can succeed—and that would assist radically velocity up the adoption of house solar.
“The potential for solar is enormous, but we haven’t come close to meeting it,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy, which is a part of father or mother firm Standard Industries, which additionally owns GAF. “When you have a heritage in roofing, and you see solar panels going up the same way in 2020 as they were put up in 1990, yeah, you realize there’s an opportunity for innovation.”
[Photo: GAF Energy]The new design, known as Timberline Solar, builds solar cells into a commonplace shingle. “All you need to install the solar shingle is a nail gun,” he says. “It goes up just like a regular shingle that can be nailed on the roof like any other shingle.” It required a number of rounds of innovation to work—like different shingles, it had to type a waterproof barrier to shield the house. It had to be fireproof. And it had to be one thing that employees may stroll on if they’d to entry the roof. The engineers labored to discover the right materials and type to let gentle via, so the solar cells inside may generate vitality, whereas assembly the opposite necessities.
[Photo: GAF Energy]Because it may be nailed down, the solar shingle might be put in in a short time—in two days fairly than the weeks required for different solar roofs. That signifies that it’s a lot cheaper. Other solar roofs additionally spend as a lot as $5,000 per buyer in advertising bills. GAF, which is partnering with GAF Energy on the venture, will work with its community of hundreds of roofers to share the product as an alternative. “When it rains out, that’s all the advertising a roofer needs,” DeBono says. “People call roofers.” The firm additionally used supplies which can be accessible at a a lot bigger scale than the specialty supplies in aggressive merchandise.
[Photo: GAF Energy]“We’re half the cost of a Tesla solar roof,” he says. “But we are in line with traditional solar rack mounted solar. And this really makes the decision for a homeowner who is thinking about going solar very easy to get a solar roof—it’s a superior product.” The aesthetics are higher, he says, and the financial savings from the shift to solar also can cowl the price of shopping for the new roof. The shingles can generate as a lot vitality as conventional solar panels masking the identical space.
Roofers within the community will assist householders consider whether or not their roof gets sufficient daylight to be a good candidate for solar energy, after which GAF Energy will use its personal software program to calculate the place the solar shingles shall be positioned. It can even get solar permits and ship supplies, and when the set up is full, it sends electricians to join the panels to the grid (every panel simply plugs into one another throughout set up).
The firm expects that its strategy will assist get solar on roofs rather more rapidly than it might have in any other case occurred. The roofing trade is 20 occasions bigger than solar, and round 5 million roofs are changed within the U.S. every year, versus 200,000-300,000 householders that set up solar panels, DeBono says. If solely 10% of roofing clients select solar shingles, it may eclipse the present trade.