GAF Solar Roof Shingles: Timberline Solar
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Solar shingles first came on the scene in 1970 when they received their first patent. Companies tried to disseminate this technology in the 2000s. However, because they are expensive, solar shingles haven’t gained traction. GAF feels that its approach to solar roofs is different — and that this difference will make solar shingles a common residential solar choice.
What Makes GAF’s Solar Roof Different
A Nailable Solar Roof
The main difference that GAF brings to solar shingles is that their Timberline Solar roofs are nailable. Because GAF is a roofing company, it wanted to make its solar shingle easy for a roofer to install. They claim that a solar shingle that can install with the same tools that a roofer would use for a shingle roof will cut the installation costs.
Easier Wiring Access
One of the main problems with solar roofs is the embedded wiring. Embedding the wiring into the rooftop makes the system look more streamlined. However, these hard-to-access wires also make it difficult to troubleshoot issues down the road. The solar shingles by GAF have vertical wiring channels on the left side of each shingle in the solar array providing access from outside.
Over Heating Solution
The other problem that many solar shingles and embedded solar panels have is that they don’t have as much room to breathe, which causes the system to overheat and efficiency to decrease. GAF claims that customers with their solar shingles will receive the same power output per square foot as a traditional solar array.
The Efficiency Gap Reality
GAP claims this comparable efficiency is possible because GAF uses mono PERC cells instead of traditional monocrystalline cells, which perform better in higher temperatures. However, if you look at the wattage rating for a GAF solar shingle, 45 watts for a 17″ by 64″ shingle, and compare it to Tesla shingles, 71.7 watts for a 16.9″ by 44.9″ shingle, or an average 300-watt solar panel with a 64.8″ by 39″ area, it is rated to produce less per square foot. The Timberline Solar Shingle Accessory Limited Warranty affirms that the efficiency of these shingles is less than comparable to a monocrystalline solar panel and even less than a high-efficiency module like LG.
Does a Solar Roof Make Sense for Homeowners?
Because solar shingles integrate with the roofing material, the best time to install an integrated roof is either during the building process or when a customer is reroofing their home.
New Builds and Integrated Solar
If you are building your dream home, you probably have the flexibility to add solar panels to your new build. However, not everyone building a new home has control over construction. If they are purchasing a new home built by a contractor producing large quantities of similar homes, they may not have the option to add solar during the building process.
Integrated Solar for Homes That Don’t Need Reroofing
If you are looking to reroof your home, these solar shingles may make sense for you, but not everyone that wants solar needs their roof replaced. For these customers, waiting to add a solar roof could mean missing out on decades of solar savings acquired with a traditional solar array.
The Cost of Installing Residential Solar
The last point to consider is the cost of adding residential solar. Price is the largest factor deterring customers from installing solar shingles.
GAF Solar Roof Pricing
GAF does not offer solar pricing on its website. However, they have said that a solar roof would most likely double the cost of re-roofing the home. If you were already planning on replacing the shingles, the GAF solar shingles might be cheaper than adding solar panels. However, the best way to know for sure is to compare solar and roofing quotes in your area.
Average Solar Panel Installation Price
A few determining factors of solar price include the system size needed to offset the home’s electricity consumption, product quality, the roof’s condition and type, and the available space. All of these factors make listing one price hard. However, EnergySage states that an average 10 kW system in 2022 is about $2.77/W before tax credits. After the 26 percent federal solar tax credit, customers pay between $17,538 to $23,458 for a 10 kW.
How To Look at Solar Pricing
The best way to look at solar prices is to look at the comparative price. This means looking at all the factors that determine how much you would save compared to how much you would spend.