California-based solar and roofing solutions provider GAF Energy completed the build-out of a 112,000-square-foot center for solar research, development, and manufacturing.
GAF Energy provides low-profile alternatives to rack-mounted solar panels. Launched in 2019, it reports having installed solar on over 2,000 roofs nationwide. Parent company Standard Industries said it has pledged to spend $1 billion on building technologies including solar.
In May, GAF Energy announced that its manufacturing operations would move from South Korea back to the United States, bringing jobs to about 400 people in manufacturing, engineering, and R&D. The facility is expected to be able to produce 50 MW of solar panels annually.
In an interview with pv magazine, Martin DeBono, GAF Energy’s president, said that R&D teams will be a short stroll away from the production line. And while California and Silicon Valley are not known for their low costs, the company chose San Jose for its proximity to a talent pool that is used to innovating for Apple, Google, and others.
DeBono said that one part of the company’s strategy is to focus on the street-side look of its solar roofs. A second focus aims to trim the amount of time it takes to install a solar roof. DeBono said installers typically need around two days from start to finish, and GAF Energy aims to reduce the time still further.
GAF Energy said expects to benefit from reduced risks associated with offshore production, including possible tariffs on Asian-made solar goods and rising transportation costs.
GAF said its solar system is integrated into the roof. Unlike rack mounted systems, GAF said its product avoids the step of drilling through the roof’s shingles.
The integrated systems are characterized by low-profile, high-efficiency solar modules with black perimeter shielding and flashing to reduce leaks and animal intrusions.
In addition to serving homeowners, GAF works with roofers who want to become solar installers by providing them with hardware components, design, permitting, and electrification services.
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