When it comes to adding solar to your home, options abound. Timberline solar by GAF is an innovative solar roofing option that combines energy producing solar cells with roofing shingles. If you are considering a roof replacement, there is no better time to consider investing in a GAF solar roof. Before making an investment in your home though, it’s always a good idea to research what makes the most sense for you and your budget. Let’s take a look.
What is a GAF solar roof?
GAF solar is a system of solar roof shingles that are installed on your roof to generate solar energy for your home. They are made of photovoltaic (PV) shingles that replace existing roof shingles. The system is an alternative to solar panels that are mounted on top of your roof, but the concept is the same. A GAF solar roof absorbs sunlight to convert into electricity. It generates clean energy electricity and saves money on your energy bills.
The system is manufactured by GAF Energy, which is a business unit of General Aniline & Film (GAF). Timberline solar roof shingles are their newest product, designed to be nailed through like a regular asphalt shingle. It is the only product currently on the market that can be installed with a nail gun and no specialized tools or equipment, making them easy to install by roofing contractors.
Panels Vs. Shingles
Like solar panels, GAF solar shingles absorb the sun’s rays to convert into energy that can be used in your home. Timberline solar roofing shingles have an energy conversion efficiency of about 22.6%. Most solar panel efficiency ranges from 21.7 to 22.8%. Many other shingles are found to be below 20%. This makes the GAF Timberline solar shingle highly-efficient and about on par with solar panels.
There are advantages of solar panels on roofs as opposed to Timberline solar by GAF though. One of the benefits of solar panels on a roof is that they can be adjusted to best capture the sun’s rays. With solar shingles, you can add more of them, but you obviously cannot move them as the sun moves. This makes panels more efficient overall.
Solar panels can also usually be installed in a day while shingles can take up to a week or more. Both however have a long lifespan of over 20 years. Shingles are also generally more expensive than panels. Since Timberland solar shingles by GAF can be nailed down, they are generally less expensive than other solar shingles on the market.
The Pros and Cons of a GAF Solar Roof
There are both pros and cons of installing GAF solar roofing. Let’s cover the pros first.
Lightweight and Easy Installation
GAF solar shingles are designed to make solar roofing simple. They are much lighter than other PV shingles and much lighter than solar panels. Shingles weigh about 10.1 pounds to produce the same energy capacity of panels that weigh between 40-50 pounds.
GAF solar shingles are easy to handle and install by a roofing contractor. You do not have to hire one contractor for the roof and another for the solar installation. Shingles also have no racking system to mount. All solar requires an electrician once it is installed to connect to your electrical wiring.
An Aesthetic Option
Solar shingles blend into your roof, making them a sleek and attractive option for your home. GAF solar shingles come with design options for the normal shingles not generating energy that seamlessly configure with those absorbing the sun’s rays. There are four colors available to match a variety of home designs.
Weather-resistant and Durable
Solar shingles protect your home from the elements. Timberline Solar by GAF is a high quality, durable product designed to withstand winds up to 130 mph. They are built to last, especially when you calculate that a regular asphalt roof is considered old after eight years.
GAF solar comes with a 25-year life service warranty, generating clean electricity for a long time. They are built to generate 84.8% of their initial output after 25 years, degrading 2% during the first year and only .55% per year after that. The warranty can also be transferred if you sell your home, contributing to your home’s value. In addition, the electronic solar components of GAF solar shingles are on the front of the product so they can be easily accessed and maintained.
Full Roof Replacement Required
The biggest con of a GAF solar roof is that it requires a complete roof replacement. They are not available for partial roof installment. The best time to install a Timberline solar shingle system is during roof installation or replacement. If you are considering a roof replacement a GAF solar roof offers the added benefit of energy efficient solar shingles. There are other solar shingle products that will allow for a partial roof upgrade of only the areas that will be used to generate electricity.
Another con of GAF solar shingles is visibility. They are more visible on your roof than more expensive products, but are more integrated than solar panels. You trade more affordability for a little bit more visibility.
GAF Energy Solar Roof Cost
As with any home improvement project budget matters. GAF solar roof is more affordable than other products, but it is still not inexpensive. The GAF Timberline solar shingles cost is calculated based on several factors. The exact cost of GAF solar shingles is hard to give without looking at these factors. What impacts the GAF Timberline solar cost?
The square footage of your roof is the leading factor on cost. GAF solar shingles are specially designed and are two inches larger than standard asphalt shingles. The energy generating shingles and non-energy generating shingles are designed to aesthetically blend into each other. This is why a full roof replacement is required. GAF solar shingles cost per square foot is based on how big your roof is and how many shingles you need to power your home. The bigger your roof, the bigger the cost.
The complexity of your roof also impacts cost, including steepness, number of slopes, and pitch. These factor into the length and safety of installation. A more complicated roof equals longer installation equals increased labor costs. It also increases waste costs and the cost of connection with an electrician.
Your annual household energy consumption dictates the number of solar shingles required. If you consume less energy your solar system will be smaller and less expensive. Everyone’s energy consumption varies. It depends on the following:
- The energy efficiency of your home
- The level of energy efficient behavior you practice
- Your participation in utility sponsored energy saving programs
Sun-Facing Roof Slopes
The number of sun facing slopes on your roof affects how many solar shingles you require too. The more solar shingles required the higher the cost. Good sun exposure is key. Exposure is affected by:
- Large trees
- Slope angles
- Roof orientation
Shade trees make producing solar energy difficult. A shallow roof produces less energy during the winter months when the sun is lower in the sky. Optimal orientation for solar is south or east. Your roof contractor can help you (internal link here) determine the amount of sun on your roof.
GAF Timberline solar cost can be offset by tax incentives and energy savings over time. Incentives help reduce your initial solar investment and make the period of time shorter before you see the return on that investment.
- Federal tax credit solar roof incentives
- State sales and use tax exemptions and credits
- Net metering
- Local solar incentives
- Property tax exemption
- Production and cash incentives
Is a GAF Solar Roof Right for You
If your roof is relatively new and in good condition, solar panels may be a better option. They will have a lower cost and a quicker payback than the Timberland solar cost of replacing your roof when you don’t need to. If your roof is older and ready for replacement, you can weigh the timberline solar price with the price of replacing your roof anyway.
Another thing to balance is the GAF solar shingles price upfront with the savings in energy costs over time. It helps to see the Timberline solar shingles price as an investment in lowering the energy costs of your home and not just replacing your roof. This is a long-term investment that can make the GAF Timberline solar shingles price worth it.
A GAF solar roof can be installed by your roofing contractor. If you want more information on GAF Timberline solar energy shingles, Summit Construction Company can help you weigh your options.