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New Solar Shingles Similar to Asphalt Shingles

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

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  • Jul 13, 2022
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Many experts consider solar power to be the future of clean energy. Our celestial neighbor provides an unlimited fuel supply, but it’s up to human beings to learn how to harness it for modern needs like running air conditioners and computer modems. Fortunately, this technology isn’t a futuristic dream but a present reality – but it isn’t used as widely as it could be.

Why haven’t more homeowners switched to solar, considering the multiple benefits, including money-saving tax credits and lower energy bills? Many people cite aesthetic factors when explaining their choice. They simply don’t like the appearance of bulky solar panels on their rooftop.

What if manufacturers integrated energy-capturing technology into the same materials used for standard construction? GAF Energy, the nation’s largest roofing and waterproofing company, recently decided to find out with their innovative Timberline Solar Shingle.

The Benefits of the Timberline Solar Shingle

You can always tell a home with traditional solar panels. They’re over 5 feet long and 3 feet wide, prominently extending two or three inches above the existing rooftop. Although a properly installed system will not damage the underlying shingle or tile, the bulk of solar panels can dissuade homeowners concerned about aesthetics. They simply don’t integrate seamlessly with the rest of the home’s design.

The Timberline Solar Shingle solves the unsightly problem that formerly made some homeowners resistant to adopt solar despite the multiple benefits. It weighs just over 10 pounds and has similar dimensions as a standard tile. It expands options for homeowners who formerly couldn’t go solar, thanks to the space requirements necessary for a series of 3’x5’ panels.

These models install like traditional shingles, requiring nothing more than a nail gun to install, although you’ll need a GAF Energy Certified roofer to manage your project.

GAF designed the product to fill a particular need. The obvious time for many homeowners to switch to solar was when they needed a roof replacement, anyway. They can learn about their options from the same provider, letting them make the most informed decision. Furthermore, registered installers will evaluate the property to ensure it’s a good candidate.

Other Options for Solar Shingles

GAF Energy is only the latest innovator to enter the solar shingle market. Homeowners interested in switching to solar can also investigate these options.

1. Suntegra

Suntegra is an option if you live in the Northeast. They have produced 110-watt solar shingles that integrate with your traditional asphalt roof since 2014. They’re a niche provider that completes about 50 roofs per year but also caters to business clientele.

2. CertainTeed Solar Roofing

CertainTeed takes a slightly different approach to solar shingles. They designed their Apollo 11 product to work on both asphalt and tile roofs with traditional tiles installed around the periphery. They’ve been in the solar shingle business for over 10 years. They also offer traditional panels, making them appealing to homeowners who want to explore all their options.

3. Tesla Solar Roof

The Tesla Solar Roof initially got a lot of hype but hasn’t lived up to the promise yet. It consists of two main types of textured glass shingles. The advantage of this system is that you can plug the inverter into a storage battery, making it an attractive option for off-grid builds. However, the price tag is steep, at around $75,000 for a 2,500-square-foot home.

3 Reasons Why Now Is the Time for a Solar Revolution

Roofers lead the way in residential solar innovation, and their efforts come at the best possible time. Here are three reasons why now is the ideal moment for more homeowners to switch to solar.

1. Address Climate Change

Addressing climate change is everyone’s responsibility. Homeowners can do much more than renters and those who live with others and reap perks besides environmental sustainability.

They’ll sleep better at night, knowing they’re doing everything in their power to protect the planet’s resources for their children and grandchildren. Some experts warn that we have only 11 years remaining to stop the worst of the ongoing environmental collapse. If it’s time to replace that roof anyway, why not go green?

2. Save Money

Any solar setup will save you a small bundle on your electricity bill. You might even reduce your monthly payment to zero during some months.

Most solar installations keep you connected to the grid. You essentially sell the energy your home produces back to your provider, resulting in a discount on your bill. If you make more than you use, you don’t owe on utilities.

Your other option is to go off-grid. Should you choose to do so, you won’t have an electric bill at all anymore – but you should probably invest in a backup generator in case of power shortages.

3. Take Advantage of Tax Savings

You still have time to take advantage of federal tax credits for switching to solar. However, you have to act quickly – the current incentives expire in 2024 unless Congress acts to renew them.

Furthermore, your state may offer additional incentives. Many solar providers will give you all the details you need to make an informed decision, although you can also research online to avoid sitting through the requisite pitch.

New Solar Shingles Similar to Asphalt Shingles

Solar is the future of green energy. The sun offers an unlimited supply of power if humans can find ways to harness it – and such innovations come none too soon.

GAF Energy is the latest player in the field of new solar shingles similar to asphalt shingles. Homeowners now have more aesthetically pleasing options for going green and reducing their carbon footprint.

Jane Marsh's picture
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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Jul 15, 2022

Jane - thanks for this post.  Do you know their life cycle - how long do they last?  What are the pros and cons of these versus the "traditional" panels? 

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