Luma Solar vs GAF Solar Roof: The Ultimate Guide

There are two main options for homeowners who are considering a solar energy system: traditional photovoltaic panels, or a solar roof with built-in PV cells. Like in any design decision, each option has advantages and disadvantages. However, solar panels and solar roofs can both offer an attractive return on investment, and clean electricity for more than two decades.

GAF Timberline Solar shingles installation

In this buyer’s guide, we will compare two leading solar roof providers: GAF Energy and Luma Solar. Both companies offer excellent products, but there is an important difference between them:

Luma Solar was founded in 2007, which means they have been providing solar roofs for more than a decade. In fact, Luma was the first provider of solar roofs in the US, starting ten years before the popular Tesla solar roof was launched in 2017.

Luma solar tiles on a hip roof of a two story house

GAF Energy was created more recently in 2019, but their parent company GAF (General Aniline & Film) has more than a century of experience in the roofing industry. Regardless of who you choose as your solar roof provider, you will be dealing with a reliable provider. Also, both companies offer a solid warranty.

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What Are the Current Problems with Tesla’s Solar Roof?

anaTesla’s brand positioning has been remarkable, and the company has become a household name around the world. The Tesla solar roof was first announced in 2017, as an alternative to traditional solar panels.

Instead of installing photovoltaic modules on top of a roof, the solar cells become part of the roof – this concept is called building integrated photovoltaics or BIPV.

From a technical and aesthetic standpoint, the Tesla solar roof is an excellent product, covered by a 25-year warranty that ensures electricity production in the long run.

The Tesla solar roof also has a completely invisible design, where roof shingles with PV cells look identical to the shingles without them. This is a great design feature for homeowners who want to generate their own electricity, but don’t like the appearance of traditional solar panels.

Despite the product’s great features, bringing the solar tile roof to the mainstream market has been a challenge for Tesla. Manufacturing and installations have been unable to keep up with demand and challenging realities of what it takes to install a complex product like the solar tile roof. These realities mean you can expect a very, very long wait time.

Many homeowners have also reported major price hikes after their initial quote, even after a contract had already been signed.

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Solar Panel System Costs: June 2022 Update

If you like to follow solar energy news, you’re probably familiarized with the quarterly report published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The publication is officially called the Solar Market Insight Report, and the SEIA collaborates with consulting firm Wood Mackenzie to bring the latest data about the US solar industry. The latest edition was published on Tuesday June 7, 2022.

Panasonic solar panels on a hip roof
via Panasonic

The SMI report provides useful information such as the average cost of solar panels by market segment: residential, commercial, and utility scale.

If you’re considering solar power for your home or business, you can check the latest edition of the report to get an idea of typical costs.

Keep in mind that some price variation is normal depending on the equipment brands used, as well as your location and the solar installation company hired for the job. However, any offers that are significantly higher or lower than the average prices should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

According to the latest figures provided by the SEIA in June 2022, US homeowners can expect to pay around $3.07 per watt ($3,070 per kilowatt) when going solar. This means a 5-kW system will cost around $15,350, and a 10-kW system will cost around $30,700.

  • Consider that the SEIA analyzes traditional solar panel systems connected to the grid without energy storage. If you decide to add a home battery, the system price will normally increase by $10,000 or more.
  • The price figures in the SMI report also exclude the effect of solar incentive programs. This means your out-of-pocket cost can be much lower if your state or utility company offers financial incentives for going solar.

Here we will review the most relevant facts in the Q2 2022 SMI Report, focusing on current solar panel costs, and how they are expected to behave in the near future.

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