The concept seems obvious: Why put solar panels on a roof when you could just make the roof out of solar panels? But Tesla’s attempt to design a solar roof didn’t go well: The solar tiles turned out to be challenging to install, and the final price for customers has sometimes become tens of thousands of dollars higher than they were quoted. But GAF Energy, a spinoff of the world’s largest roofing company, launched a new solar roof today that it believes can succeed—and that could help radically speed up the adoption of home solar.
“The potential for solar is enormous, but we haven’t come close to meeting it,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy, which is part of parent company Standard Industries, which also owns GAF. “When you have a heritage in roofing, and you see solar panels going up the same way in 2020 as they were put up in 1990, yeah, you realize there’s an opportunity for innovation.”