New solar roof emulates asphalt shingles, right down to the nails

Installers nail GAF Energy's new solar shingles to a demonstration house.

Enlarge / Installers nail GAF Energy’s new solar shingles to a demonstration house. (credit: GAF Energy)

A new solar technology introduced yesterday at CES could bring power-producing roofs mainstream by relying on an old building material—nails.

For years, homeowners who wanted solar power have stripped their old roofs of shingles, added new ones, and then slapped large solar panels on top using sturdy frames. It’s a model that works well, but it also creates a two-step process that engineers have been striving to simplify.

Plenty of companies have offered their own take on solar roofs, but so far, they’ve remained niche products. GAF Energy is hoping to change that with the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle that looks strikingly like typical asphalt shingles. But their key feature isn’t so much that they emulate the look of asphalt shingles, but that they’re installed in nearly the same way. Roofers can slap the flexible sheets down and nail the top strip to the roof, just like they do for traditional roofs.

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