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These new nailable solar shingles are installed like a traditional roof [Update]

The “world’s first” nailable solar shingle, the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle, was launched on January 3 by GAF Energy, the sister company of GAF, the largest roofing and waterproofing company in North America.

January 6: Electrek spoke with a GAF Energy representative about the cost, efficiency, and specs of its Timberline Solar Energy Shingle, and this is that they said.

On cost:

Timberline Solar is cost competitive with rack mounted systems and is more affordable than other solar roofs. It’s about half the cost of the Tesla Solar Roof.

The most affordable time to go solar is when you’re in the market for a new roof, by turning two home improvement projects into one. Plus, the solar helps pay for the roof by reducing your monthly utility bill.

GAF Energy president Martin DeBono says that replacing a $15,000 roof (not including solar) would probably cost $30,000 (before subsidies) with Timberline solar.

GAF Energy’s roofing partners do the pricing directly for the consumer and it depends a lot on the roof, shading, and a number of other factors.

On efficiency:

The mono passivated emitter and rear cells (PERC) we use are, on average, 22.6% efficient. That’s going to be the most reliable number if you’re looking for a number, given that our shingle technology is ahead of the curve on standardized efficiency testing (geared toward large, rigid panels).  

Based on our internal tests, GAF Energy’s custom diode layout allows for the system to outperform rack-mounted systems in real-world conditions without bulky additional electronics and the associated extra labor. Lastly, the flexible shingle form factor allows GAF Energy to fit more solar in areas where a traditional 5-by-3-foot panel simply will not fit, providing more options for customers unable to go solar before.  

The energy shingle weight is 10.1 pounds (4.58 kg), and its dimensions are 64 1/4″ x 17 1/8″ x 1″ (1,632 x 435 x 26 mm). Allowed roof pitch is 2:12 or greater, and maximum installation altitude is 13,123 ft. (4,000 m). Average ambient temperature range is -40F to 122F (-40C to 50C).

Wind classification is ASTM D3161 Class F – that’s shingles that passed wind testing at 110 mph.

Regarding impact resistance, shingles are rated Class 1 through 4, with Class 4 shingles having the highest resistance. The energy shingle is rated UL 2218 Class 1.

January 3: The Energy Shingle is combined with other standard roofing components to create the “Timberline Solar” roof system. GAF Energy claims to have the only product to integrate solar technology into existing roofing processes and materials, resulting in a full-fledged solar roof.

GAF Energy claims its Energy Shingles have comparable weatherproof performance to GAF’s roofing shingle, the Timberline HD/HDZ.

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All nailable solar shingle components are coplanar, and the electronic components are on the front of the shingle instead of the back so that they’re readily accessible for servicing.

In September 2021, Timberline Solar achieved UL’s 7103 certification, which authorizes GAF Energy to install the system on residential roofs as a roofing product and a solar energy product — the first of its kind to be recognized as both.

GAF Energy also worked with Albuquerque-based Sandia National Laboratories, a US Department of Energy research and development lab, to verify the product’s strength, durability, and overall market readiness.

One of Sandia’s missions is to drive technical innovation in the solar sector as part of a broader DOE effort to lower the cost, increase the efficiency, and further the deployment of solar technologies. 

Over five million new roofs are installed on US homes each year – one out of every four of those roofs come from GAF. With access to GAF’s national contractor network, GAF Energy is well positioned to grow residential solar in the mass market.

Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy, said:

At GAF Energy, we have the capacity to scale this technology like no one else through GAF, bringing an integrated solar product that is weatherproof, affordable, and design-minded to homeowners across the country.

The Energy Shingles will be manufactured at the company’s new facility in San Jose, California, and launched this month.

Electrek’s Take

GAF Energy didn’t give us the specifications or prices of these new tiles, so we don’t know how efficient they are in terms of generating energy, or how costly they are. But if we assume that they’re efficient, and not exorbitantly priced, these could be a real game changer.

It just makes sense to combine roofing and solar installation, as GAF Energy is doing. If the process is streamlined, then more home owners will adopt rooftop solar.

I’m going to find out and will report back… and if the answers to the above two questions are good, I’d want them on my own roof. [See above for update.]

Read more: GAF Energy moves its solar manufacturing from Asia to the US

All photos: GAF Energy

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.