World’s largest roofing company launches residential solar arm


Soft costs, ladies and gentlemen. It’s all about the soft costs. And the largest roofing company in the world thinks that it has a logical (and beautiful) product to insert into their 15,000 human being manufacturing and sales machine that connects with homeowners at the exact moment a solar power installation makes the greatest sense: at the time of roof replacement.

Standard Industries, which touts itself as the world’s largest roofing and waterproofing manufacturer, has announced the launch of GAF Energy. GAF Energy will work with GAF, the U.S. distribution subsidiary of Standard Industries. GAF has a nationwide roofing contractor network, and GAF Energy will be inserted into its ongoing business.

The company will be marketing the DecoTech product line – a solar module system based around a 19% efficient 310 watt monoPERC solar module (pdf) (Editor’s note: It looks a lot like the Silfab SLA M 310 but definitely has a unique and different frame). The pv laminate is noted as being made by Silfab. Specification pages from product launch in 2017 noted the same solar module model number, but a pv laminate from SolarWorld and a 285 watt module.

The competitive advantages GAF Energy hopes to capitalize on are within customer acquisition, project management, and installation costs. Standard Industries co-CEO David Winter said:

Our team is in the kitchen with the homeowner at the moment a new roof is required: the most perfect time to provide the opportunity to go green.

Getting to the customer is a non-trivial cost for all solar installation companies. For instance, Sunrun noted in the Q2 ’18 earnings report that sales and marketing was 22% of project costs.

There will also be savings gained with general project management – site engineering, procurement, and permits. Additionally, there will be some synergistic installation savings – since the solar roof product is a replacement to standard roofing product there will be roof installation savings. Additionally, installation of a solar system on a fresh clean roof will save time and components, along with creating a better long term seal against weathering.

There will also be a halo effect in that the group “putting holes in the roof” the attach the solar is the most expert at this sort of thing – the roofing company. Not to mention, this is the group that will be responsible for the roofing warranty. No small thing when you get to that gut decision moment as an American home owner considers their largest retirement savings account.

Documents available on the GAF website include:

A very nicely done installation process video from the company’s Youtube channel:

In the video, at 17 seconds, what looks like an Enphase microinverter is noted (edit: a reader is suggesting SolarEdge, but said reader noted in the Installation Instructions – long version (pdf), contain both a microinverter version and an dc-dc optimizer version. Nice!). Also, below image, a very nice side view of the module and racking hardware is shown.

Edit – added comment on inverter hardware.

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