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.
Solar panels are one of the most common options for home and business owners who want to generate their own electricity. However, solar roofs are becoming a popular alternative: photovoltaic cells become part of the roof itself rather than having to install them as separate components held by a racking system.
Some solar roof providers sell individual solar shingles or tiles you can use in specific areas of your roof, while other companies work exclusively with complete roof replacements.
Forward Solar can be compared with Tesla in terms of product offering. Both companies sell complete roofs, where the areas with photovoltaic cells have exactly the same appearance as non-generating roof sections.
The design makes the solar power system completely invisible, which is great for homeowners who prefer the appearance of an energy-efficient roof like standing seam but without the solar panels. The Forward Solar roof can be used in both residential and commercial applications.
Forward Solar is headquartered in Oakland, California, and they currently focus on the San Francisco Bay Area. However, the company has ambitious expansion plans nationally and internationally.
Sustainability is a high priority at Forward Solar: when an existing roof is removed, the asphalt shingles are recycled for road construction and other applications, instead of being sent to landfills like most other roofing materials.
One of the best features of the Forward Solar roof is the 40-year warranty. Solar panels, shingles, and tiles normally come with 25-year warranties, but Forward Solar exceeds the industry average by 15 years. If your home needs a roof replacement soon, Forward Solar offers a long-lasting product that also generates clean electricity.
Forward Solar Roof: Main Features, and Specifications
Currently, the official Forward Solar website does not provide a specification sheet. However, they have published general information about their product:
Both BiPV shingles and traditional solar arrays offer a service life of 25 years or more, and they make sense from a financial standpoint. However, if you’re among the homeowners who prefer the look of a traditional roof without PV modules, you might be interested in a solar roofing system.
GAF is an established provider of high-quality roofing materials, and they recently developed the Timberline Solar Energy Shingles. This product is characterized by being the first nailable solar shingle in the market, which makes the installation process much simpler.
GAF has designed a solar shingle that can be easily installed by roofing contractors, making the overall process easier for homeowners.
Normally, homeowners need to contact two separate companies to install their roofs and solar panels.
GAF offers complete roof replacements that include solar shingles, similar to how Tesla Solar Roof works. In other words, you cannot use their solar shingles for a partial roof upgrade. This is not a problem for new construction projects and homes that require a complete roof replacement.
However, if your roof is relatively new and in good condition, traditional solar panels have a lower cost and a quicker payback period. There are also solar shingle providers who offer partial upgrades, where only the roof areas that will be used to generate electricity are upgraded.
GAF: Innovation is a part of their DNA
GAF stands for General Aniline & Film, and they are currently the largest provider of roofing and waterproofing solutions in North America.
GAF introduced the Timberline roof shingle in 1967, and it became one of the most popular roofing products in the US. One of the companies that merged to create GAF was RUBEROID which launched the first individually cut asphalt shingle in 1912, and the first interlocking shingle in 1933.
GAF Energy was created in 2019 as a separate business unit, with the goal of providing solar solutions for residential and commercial buildings. GAF and GAF Energy are sister companies, both owned by Standard Industries. There are two main product lines:
The DecoTech system integrates solar panels into the roof structure, allowing a flush installation without separate racking.
The Timberline Solar roof system uses solar shingles instead of traditional PV modules, and GAF has developed the first nailable solar shingle in the world.