Timberline Photo voltaic by GAF Vitality Evaluation: A Strong Photo voltaic Roof Possibility

Since GAF Vitality debuted its Timberline photo voltaic shingles in 2021, roofers have put in them in 16 states. Though it is nonetheless a comparatively new photo voltaic expertise, this might mark a significant change in how owners entry photo voltaic power on their roofs. 

There are 5 million new roofs placed on houses annually, and 1.5 million of them use GAF shingles, mentioned Rey Holmes, GAF Vitality’s vp of providers and product. Changing even a few of these roofs to GAF Vitality’s photo voltaic shingles would mark a major enhance in residential rooftop photo voltaic within the US. 

Although CNET wasn’t capable of undergo the buying course of and have interaction in hands-on testing in our assessment course of, finishing up a assessment of GAF Vitality — which relies on information from the web and an interview with a GAF Vitality consultant — is much less easy than it’s with different photo voltaic firms. GAF Vitality’s product and enterprise mannequin are distinctive among the many firms we have reviewed thus far on the location, making head-to-head comparisons trickier. When comparisons fall quick, or one thing cannot be mentioned for certain, it is going to be famous within the assessment.

What do I get from GAF Vitality?

As an alternative of dealing in photo voltaic panels, which get mounted to roofs on metallic racks, GAF Vitality sells photo voltaic shingles, referred to as Timberline Photo voltaic, that nail into roofs like every outdated asphalt shingle. The shingles sit flat towards the roof, with electrical elements housed in conduit on the entrance of every one. It makes for a much less obtrusive look than photo voltaic panels, however not as seamless because the sleek-but-pricey Tesla Photo voltaic Roof.

Can photo voltaic panels prevent cash?

Keen on understanding the affect photo voltaic can have on your property? Enter some primary info beneath, and we’ll immediately present a free estimate of your power financial savings.

As a result of photo voltaic shingles and photo voltaic panels are totally different applied sciences, it is not as helpful to check the energy-generating specs of Timberline Photo voltaic and the choices from different photo voltaic firms that provide photo voltaic panels. 

However we will examine Timberline Photo voltaic to different photo voltaic shingle merchandise. GAF Vitality’s Timberline Photo voltaic warranties are on par with these for the Tesla Photo voltaic Roof, and are longer than different photo voltaic shingle manufacturers we have seen. You get extra protection choices with GAF Vitality, providing two totally different addendums to select from. Timberline Photo voltaic shingles even have the very best effectivity score of any photo voltaic shingle product we have seen (about 23%), in accordance with GAF Vitality.


Watch this: New Photo voltaic Shingles You Might Not Even Discover

Timberline Photo voltaic has the bottom wattage per shingle that we have seen (45 watts). The everyday wattage of a photo voltaic shingle is round 70 watts and the typical wattage of a photo voltaic panel is between 250 and 400 watts. You will doubtless want to put in extra Timberline Photo voltaic shingles than you’ll with different manufacturers to fulfill your property’s power wants and match the wattage of a singular photo voltaic panel. 

Timberline Photo voltaic shingles are additionally a bit bigger than comparable photo voltaic shingle merchandise, equivalent to these from Tesla. Why does this matter? Photo voltaic shingles are sometimes priced per sq. foot. So that you may want extra shingles to fulfill your property’s power wants with Timberline Photo voltaic.

In late July, GAF Vitality issued a recall for some photo voltaic shingles and associated gear it had put in from November 2021 to April 2023, resulting from a hearth danger. By early August, GAF Vitality instructed CNET, 80% of the affected installations had already been repaired. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission famous studies of 1 fireplace and 5 “thermal incidents.”

What photo voltaic gear does GAF Vitality set up?

GAF Vitality solely presents Timberline Photo voltaic shingles, and doesn’t supply photo voltaic panels. And the corporate technically does not set up them. A GAF-certified contractor would be the one placing photo voltaic in your roof. You can monitor your photo voltaic roof’s electrical energy manufacturing by the GAF Vitality home-owner portal. That is web-based, which means there isn’t any app. 

Timberline Solar shingles on a roof.

Timberline Photo voltaic shingles sit flat on the roof as a result of they’re a part of the roof.

GAF Vitality

Photo voltaic inverters play an essential position in turning photo voltaic power into usable power in your residence. GAF Vitality makes use of Delta and SolarEdge string inverters. SolarEdge inverters are extensively distributed, extremely environment friendly and supply a stable guarantee. Additionally they gained the highest spot on CNET’s finest photo voltaic inverters listing. Delta inverters are a stable possibility as nicely, however we discovered SolarEdge to be the higher selection of the 2.

What about photo voltaic batteries? You can get one, simply not by GAF Vitality. Timberline Photo voltaic roof is compatible with many battery options on the market, in accordance with the corporate. You will want to talk with a licensed power storage contractor to get a battery put in.

What warranties does GAF Vitality supply?

In comparison with comparable photo voltaic shingle merchandise in the marketplace, GAF Vitality presents a powerful limited warranty for Timberline Solar. Here is what you will get:

Product guarantee: One in every of GAF Vitality’s greatest guarantees with Timberline Photo voltaic is safety from leaks. So the corporate ensures no leaks from producer defects for 25 years.

Wind guarantee: GAF Vitality presents a 15-year guarantee towards winds as much as 130 mph.

Energy manufacturing guarantee: GAF Vitality says your photo voltaic shingles will not lower in manufacturing greater than 2% in yr a number of than 0.55% per yr after that. After 25 years, Timberline Photo voltaic ought to nonetheless produce at 84.8% its unique degree. That price of decline is in keeping with many photo voltaic panels in use right now, however lags behind some top-of-the-line choices.

For a further price, Timberline Photo voltaic comes with two enhanced solar warranties you’ll be able to add on: Photo voltaic Plus and Photo voltaic Max. With a Photo voltaic Plus guarantee addendum, you obtain a one-year assure of {the electrical} workmanship and 10 years of protection for third-party electronics. 

With the Photo voltaic Max guarantee addendum, you obtain a 10-year assure on {the electrical} workmanship and 25 years of protection for third-party electronics. You will additionally obtain a 25-year solar energy technology assure. This ensures that your Timberline Photo voltaic system will generate a particular variety of kilowatt hours by sure factors all through the 25 years. The worth of this assure is dependent upon what number of kilowatt hours are promised. Such choices are comprised of challenge to challenge.

Holmes mentioned that whereas GAF is not specializing in backup batteries simply now, the methods are appropriate with all main battery manufacturers, and prospects will be capable of add one.

 Does GAF Vitality use subcontractors?

Sure, GAF Vitality makes use of a community of licensed roofing and electrical contractors to put in Timberline Photo voltaic shingles. These photo voltaic shingles are nailable, which means that the precise “photo voltaic” shingles themselves will be put in by certified roofers, together with the common shingles in your roof on the identical time. An area GAF-certified roofer will set up the photo voltaic shingles and an electrician will deal with the inverter set up, wiring and different electrical elements.

How a lot does a Timberline Photo voltaic roof price?

It is exhausting to say. Evaluating costs between Timberline Photo voltaic and standard photo voltaic panels is tough. Whereas standard photo voltaic panels go on high of your roof, Timberline Photo voltaic is a part of your roof. Which means you purchase a brand new roof and Timberline Photo voltaic on the identical time.

Although costs fluctuate by market and by challenge, getting a brand new roof and photo voltaic from GAF Vitality prices about the identical as a brand new roof and conventional rooftop photo voltaic panels, the corporate mentioned. So getting Timberline Photo voltaic solely makes monetary sense should you’re prepared to interchange your roof.

Walking on Timberline Solar

Timberline Photo voltaic shingles lay as flat as a standard roof shingle, although they’ve a extra horizontal look that lacks the tabbing of the shingles round them. Nonetheless, the impact is way much less jarring than rack mount photo voltaic.

GAF Vitality

What financing choices does GAF Vitality supply?

GAF Vitality itself does not supply any financing or leasing choices for Timberline Photo voltaic. However your GAF-certified contractor may. It is fairly widespread for photo voltaic installers and contractors to supply some sort of photo voltaic mortgage or financing program. Though some are higher than others. If there are a number of GAF-certified photo voltaic roof installers in your space, examine their finance choices to see which is most possible in your price range.

There are different methods to pay in your photo voltaic roof as nicely. Paying money up entrance, a private mortgage out of your financial institution or a house fairness line of credit score are just some different choices.

Does GAF Vitality function in my state? How do I order?

A map of states where GAF Energy operates.

Zooey Liao / CNET

Timberline Photo voltaic is out there in 16 states.

States obtainable

GAF Vitality makes Timberline Photo voltaic, but it surely’s put in by GAF-certified Grasp Elite roofers. Which means whereas some folks come to GAF Vitality instantly by its web site, most interact solely with their contractor.

In the event you’re available in the market for a roof and particularly searching for Timberline Photo voltaic, you’ll be able to fill out a web based type on GAF Energy’s website, which is able to join you with a neighborhood installer, or add you to a waitlist to be notified when Timberline Photo voltaic turns into obtainable in your space. From ordering to set up, GAF-certified roofers deal with the challenge, although they work with native electricians to deal with the aspect of the challenge that includes inverter set up and mandatory wiring.

Is GAF Vitality my most suitable option?

Solar shingles on a brick house.

Timberline Photo voltaic is seen on a roof, however extra refined than photo voltaic panels.

GAF Vitality

Whereas we weren’t capable of purchase or carry out any form of hands-on testing for this assessment, we will nonetheless examine the Timberline Photo voltaic roof to different photo voltaic roof merchandise. And so far as photo voltaic roofs go, a Timberline Photo voltaic roof from GAF Vitality is a stable selection. The opposite main photo voltaic roof participant, Tesla Photo voltaic Roof, seems to be sleeker however comes at a reasonably steep premium (although price varies based mostly in your roof’s complexity and measurement) and its most wind withstanding velocity is 20 mph much less. Timberline Photo voltaic shingles even have a most effectivity score of 23%, in accordance with GAF Vitality. That is the very best effectivity score of another photo voltaic shingle model we have seen. Timberline Photo voltaic from GAF Vitality ought to match up nicely with standard photo voltaic on worth, too.

In the event you’re on the fence about whether or not you must set up photo voltaic shingles or photo voltaic panels, the primary elements to think about are your price range and aesthetics. Photo voltaic shingles will doubtless take advantage of sense for you in case your roof must be changed earlier than putting in photo voltaic panels, and should you’re not a fan of the “look” of photo voltaic panels in your roof. In the event you do not want your roof changed and you do not care about aesthetics, putting in photo voltaic panels might be a greater possibility. Nevertheless, it is value mentioning that Timberline Photo voltaic’s efficiency over time is akin to many standard photo voltaic panels in the marketplace right now, though higher-performance photo voltaic panels have increased assured efficiency later of their lives.

Photo voltaic roofs are nonetheless thought-about considerably of a distinct segment product within the photo voltaic house, and are supplied by only a few installers. You may even solely have one photo voltaic roof possibility in your space. However to get the perfect worth attainable, get quotes from as many photo voltaic roof installers in your space as attainable, even when there are solely two.

Learn extra: Need one thing smaller than a whole-home photo voltaic system? See our picks for the perfect transportable photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic turbines.

GAF Vitality execs and cons


  • Installs like a standard roof
  • Guarantees longer safety towards leaks and defects
  • Excessive effectivity


  • Cannot be angled 
  • Decrease wattage per shingle than different photo voltaic roof choices
  • Might price you greater than photo voltaic panels

GAF Vitality opinions: What are prospects saying?

Evaluations can present a useful technique for evaluating the customer support high quality of an organization. However buyer opinions ought to all the time be learn with a grain of salt, and it is essential to do your individual analysis and ask questions. Buyer opinions for GAF Vitality are a mixture of good and dangerous opinions.

Here is a small pattern of constructive and unfavourable Google opinions for GAF Vitality. These opinions have been flippantly edited for spelling and grammar. 

5 star opinions

“I bought a Timberline Photo voltaic roof by GAF and was blown away with the extent of service the group supplied at each step. [One employee] guided us by the setup, scheduling, and different work. [Another employee] made certain the roof set up went easily and went completely. [Other employees] acted extremely skilled in the course of the electrical work and had every thing completed effectively and safely. I have already got folks asking about the place they’ll get the roof. In the event you’re attempting to resolve between GAF and Tesla, the extent of consideration and talent to get questions answered by educated workers make GAF the clear selection.” Kevin C. 

“Our outdated roof of 40 years wanted to get replaced and GAF Vitality offers a superb resolution with their Timberline Photo voltaic roofing system. Our photo voltaic shingles have been put in a month in the past and we could not be extra happy! [Employees] have been nice all through your entire course of. Their buyer help has been exemplary and we all the time had an open line of communication. All the things went easily from the primary web site go to, set up and cleanup to the ultimate inspections.” Kenny. Ok

1 star opinions

“We’re renovating our Florida residence and seeking to set up a PV resolution to cowl our energy utilization. After researching varied choices, we discovered the GAF photo voltaic shingle resolution to be probably the most promising. We reached out to a roofing firm really helpful by GAF and issues shortly took a flip for the worst. Regardless of being instructed about the advantages of the expertise, we by no means acquired a concrete supply. Once we adopted up, we have been instructed we might have a name with a GAF Vitality consultant, however they by no means confirmed up. After weeks of no progress, we reached out to GAF for one more contact, solely to be related with the identical roofer. We tried discovering different roofers on the web site, however none of them had expertise with the photo voltaic roof product. In the long run, we switched to Tesla, who supplied a compelling supply inside hours.” Rolf R. 

“If I might give them zero stars I might. They didn’t know the specifics of my state/space, and so they put too many panels on our residence. When our electrical firm denied our software and defined to GAF what selections we had for the photo voltaic to be accepted, GAF didn’t name us to debate it with us. We needed to hear about it by calling the electrical firm. In the meantime, months glided by with us paying for the photo voltaic however getting no profit. They went months with out chatting with us regardless that we continued to request info from them. If it weren’t for our roofing firm and our diligence with calling the electrical firm, we by no means would have had our photo voltaic accepted.” Marcie R.

How we consider photo voltaic firms 

Reviewing photo voltaic firms in a hands-on manner is tough. Accounting for all of the variations challenge to challenge is inconceivable. To offer a useful assessment, we centered on what we will measure and meaningfully examine amongst firms.

We concentrate on three buckets of standards: gear, warranties and repair. 

Inside the gear class, firms obtain scores for the panels, inverters and batteries they set up. Warranties embrace the ensures on the panels, workmanship and weatherization towards leaks. Firms earn factors for service if they provide a worth match, a significant degree of worth transparency and a well-rated app for monitoring photo voltaic manufacturing. They lose factors if there are main points pertaining to customer support (lawsuits, investigations or clear reputations for shoddy service). These points will all the time be detailed within the assessment.

You’ll be able to learn an in depth take a look at how the scoring breaks down.

We do not contemplate the typical worth of an organization’s installations of their rating. This info is tough to search out and exhausting to check throughout service areas (and even roof to roof). Firms are sometimes gradual to reveal it, too. We additionally omit simply discovered however not helpful info like what number of states an organization operates in.

Ceaselessly requested questions

What’s the distinction between photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic shingles?

Each photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic shingles use daylight to generate electrical energy. The largest variations are in aesthetics, efficiency and price. Photo voltaic panels are mounted in your roof (or on the bottom), and are typically broad and ponderous. Most monocrystalline photo voltaic panels will even have increased effectivity scores than photo voltaic shingles.

Photo voltaic shingles are basically small photo voltaic panels which can be designed to seem like conventional roof shingles, and are built-in together with your roof to seem like conventional roofing materials. Not everybody likes the “look” of rooftop photo voltaic, making photo voltaic shingles an excellent different for individuals who wish to go photo voltaic however don’t need cumbersome photo voltaic panels on their roof. Putting in photo voltaic shingles may be a greater possibility if it’s good to have your whole roof changed to put in photo voltaic.

What are the setbacks of photo voltaic shingles?

There are fairly a number of cons that include putting in photo voltaic shingles versus photo voltaic panels. The principle setbacks are that they usually have decrease effectivity scores, increased set up prices (relying on the corporate), restricted availability and decrease wattage, which might make it more durable (and doubtlessly dearer) to fulfill your property’s power wants.

Do Timberline Photo voltaic shingles qualify for the federal photo voltaic tax credit score?

Sure. Since photo voltaic shingles depend as PV gear, they’re eligible for the federal photo voltaic tax credit score. The federal photo voltaic tax credit score permits you to declare 30% of the overall price of your photo voltaic system again in federal tax credit. However this tax credit score won’t cowl the price of the remainder of your roof’s substitute.