The roofs of the future may be made entirely out of solar panels. At least that’s the goal of GAF Energy, which has recently launched a new solar roof that it believes can revolutionize the future of the roofing industry by making it an integral part of our green energy transition.
“The potential for solar is enormous, but we haven’t come close to meeting it,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy, a spinoff of the largest roof maker in North America. “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.”
The company’s new design is called Timberline Solar and consists of solar cells built into standard roof shingles. “All you need to install the solar shingle is a nail gun,” says DeBono. “It goes up just like a regular shingle that can be nailed on the roof like any other shingle.”
The shingles are both waterproof and fireproof, as well as durable enough for workers to walk on if needed. Additionally, the engineers worked to find the right material and shape to let light through, so the solar cells inside the roofing could generate green energy.
One of the main selling points of GAF Energy’s solar shingles is the fact that they can be quickly and easily installed with a nail gun. As reported by Fast Company, the installation takes about two days rather than the weeks required for other solar roofs, which means that it’s also much less expensive.
What’s more, the solar shingles are aesthetically pleasing, and the savings generated from transitioning to renewables can also cover the costs of buying the new roof. Covering the same area, the solar shingles can generate as much energy as conventional solar panels.
According to DeBono, the roofing industry is 20 times larger than solar, with about 5 million households replacing their roofs in the US each year, compared to 200,000-300,000 homeowners that install solar panels. If only 10 percent of those roofing customers opt for solar shingles, it could have a significant catalyzing effect on our green energy transition.