New solar roof emulates asphalt shingles, ideal down to the nails

New solar roof emulates asphalt shingles, ideal down to the nails

Enlarge / Installers nail GAF Energy’s new solar shingles to a demonstration property.

GAF Strength

A new solar technology introduced yesterday at CES could deliver electrical power-making roofs mainstream by relying on an aged making material—nails.

For many years, home owners who wished photo voltaic electricity have stripped their previous roofs of shingles, added new ones, and then slapped massive solar panels on top rated employing strong frames. It’s a model that performs very well, but it also makes a two-step system that engineers have been striving to simplify.

A great deal of corporations have provided their have just take on photo voltaic roofs, but so considerably, they’ve remained niche items. GAF Strength is hoping to transform that with the Timberline Photo voltaic Vitality Shingle that appears to be like strikingly like typical asphalt shingles. But their important feature isn’t so much that they emulate the glimpse of asphalt shingles, but that they’re put in in just about the exact same way. Roofers can slap the flexible sheets down and nail the top strip to the roof, just like they do for standard roofs.

By relying on the shingle installation approach, GAF Energy is counting on the scale of the roofing market to make photo voltaic much more obtainable. “The roofing ecosystem is 20–30 situations much larger than solar. In the United States, 200,000–300,000 men and women get a new solar process every calendar year. Over 5 million get a new roof,” Martin DeBono, CEO of GAF Electricity, told Ars. “Our innovation is you now have a nailable photo voltaic roof, which suits the way that the the greater part of roofs are put in.”

New spin on an old concept

The solar roof notion has been all-around for years, and so considerably the greatest regarded is Tesla’s. Their photo voltaic roofs are stylish and subtle, with electric power-producing shingles that are almost indistinguishable from frequent tiles. But inspite of quite a few revisions, they remain challenging to put in at a acceptable expense. Just this year, the company appreciably amplified the price tag of its solar roofs, including a “roof complexity” variable that has an effect on the overall rate.

How they look from the ground.
Enlarge / How they look from the floor.

GAF Power

GAF Energy’s strategy attempts to simplify numerous parts of the approach. The initial, DeBono explained, is purchaser acquisition. Photo voltaic installers devote huge sums to indicator up new shoppers, which receives extra on to the value of each set up. Past calendar year, installers spent $.75 per watt to uncover new customers, in accordance to analysts at WoodMackenzie. On a typical 7 kW method, buyer acquisition provides $5,250, or about 23 per cent of the system’s price. By comparison, DeBono stated that “roofers invest quite minimal on profits and marketing and advertising.”

The organization sought to lower the time and complexity of the installation system by making use of a structure that roofers are acquainted with. They also elevated the proportions of each and every shingle, which lowers the whole set up time for the whole roof.

Lastly, GAF Power moved a lot of the wiring on best of the roof instead than burying it beneath the shingles. Rows of solar shingles are daisy-chained collectively and related with wiring runs that look like seams on a metallic roof. Every single wiring operate supports 2 kW of solar panels. Roofers make the electrical connections amongst shingles, and an electrician inspects them all when setting up the inverter and tying the system into the grid.