Until the company’s 2021 renovation of a 112,000-squre-foot factory in San Jose, California, GAF Energy’s building integrated solar products were manufactured in South Korea. The reason for the move to the United States was to benefit from reduced risks associated with offshore production, including tariffs and rising transportation costs.
Shortly after the move, the company introduced Timberline Solar, a nailable solar shingle. These shingles are been assembled in that same San Jose factory, which has a capacity of 50 MW, annually. To meet what GAF Energy calls “tremendous demand,” the company announced that it is building a second factory—this time in Georgetown, Texas, which is about 30 miles north of Austin.
The new facility will increase manufacturing capacity by 500% and bring total production of the company’s solar shingle to 300 MW annually.
“The response from both consumers and roofers to our Timberline Solar roof has been tremendous and we’re thrilled to be expanding capacity to meet that growing demand,” said Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “We launched Timberline Solar because we believed that more consumers would choose solar if they had a more reliable, durable, and attractive option. The market has confirmed our belief—now we’re turning that belief into reality and building the future of clean energy here in the US.”
The Timberland Solar shingle was launched earlier this year and received three awards at the January Consumer Electronics Show including its highest honor, the Best of Innovation award, for ‘Smart Cities.’ What sets the Timberland shingle apart from other solar shingles is that the roof system directly integrates solar technology into traditional roofing processes and materials.
The 450,000 square foot manufacturing facility that GAF Energy is constructing in Georgetown will result in more than 260 new US-based, clean energy manufacturing jobs operating in shifts 24/7. And this is a city known for clean energy as in 2015, the municipal-owned utility, Georgetown Utility Systems, announced that it would buy 100% of its power from wind and solar farms by 2017.
“Georgetown has a long track record as a clean energy leader, so it is the perfect home for us to build the future of solar,” said DeBono.
Leaders in Georgetown have welcomed GAF Energy and its vision of “energy from every roof”. “We are pleased GAF Energy selected Georgetown as their destination for their facility,” Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “Their innovative product is one that will change the market as we know it, and we are excited that it will be developed here in our backyard.”
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How will Timberline Solar, a nailable solar shingles compare in price to the already existent Tesla Solar Glass Roof shingle that also are nailed in place on nailable brackets that allow the solar tile to be popped, out with a special tool, and be replaced in the existing nailable bracket? if a solar tile needs to be replaced from failure or breakage, will this system be fixable or will the whole roof need to be dismantled and re-installed. And then there is the price. Will it be able to compete with Tesla? Who will install the system, and will it come with a 25 everything warranty? Will the roofing company be around in 15 years to cover the warranty work, or will GAF provide the technicians to come, and do it? This has always been the problem with solar installed over another manufacturer’s roofing material if there was a leak int the roof. The roofing company would say, “it’s the solar people’s fault”, and the solar people would say; “it is not our roof”, and the homeowner was left to fix the leak.
Competition will drive quality of product, quality of installation, quality of after sales service ( ie honouring warrantees), and of course price. Also with competition, so will the pressure be to innovate for better products. I see a win for solar roofs and the grid in general.
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