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



GAF Vitality


  • Installs identical to a roof

  • Guarantees fewer leaks

  • Excessive effectivity

  • Sleeker appears to be like

Do not like

  • No high-end possibility with smaller manufacturing declines

  • Decrease wattage per shingle than different photo voltaic roof choices

  • Cannot be angled

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 know-how, this might mark a significant change in how owners entry photo voltaic vitality on their roofs. 

There are 5 million new roofs placed on properties every year, and 1.5 million of them use GAF shingles, stated Rey Holmes, GAF Vitality’s vice chairman of companies and product. Changing even a few of these roofs to GAF Vitality’s photo voltaic shingles would mark a big enhance in residential rooftop photo voltaic within the US. 

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

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What do I get from GAF Vitality?

As an alternative of dealing in photo voltaic panels, which get mounted to roofs on steel racks, GAF Vitality sells photo voltaic shingles, referred to as Timberline Photo voltaic, that nail into roofs like several previous asphalt shingle. The shingles sit flat in opposition to the roof, with electrical parts 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.

As a result of photo voltaic shingles and photo voltaic panels are completely 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 corporations that supply photo voltaic panels. 

However we are able to evaluate 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 completely different addendums to select from. Timberline Photo voltaic shingles even have the highest effectivity score of any photo voltaic shingle product we have seen (about 23%), in line with GAF Vitality.

solar-shingles-2 solar-shingles-2

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 common wattage of a photo voltaic panel is between 250 and 400 watts. You will seemingly want to put in extra Timberline Photo voltaic shingles than you’ll with different manufacturers to fulfill your own home’s vitality 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, comparable to these from Tesla. Why does this matter? Photo voltaic shingles are sometimes priced per sq. foot. So that you would possibly want extra shingles to fulfill your own home’s vitality 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 fireplace threat. By early August, GAF Vitality instructed CNET, 80% of the affected installations had already been repaired. The US Shopper Product Security Fee famous experiences of 1 fireplace and 5 “thermal incidents.”

Timberline Photo voltaic shingle specs

Class Description
Wattage per shingle 45 W
Wattage per sq. foot 14.3 W
Wind score 130 mph
Shingle effectivity 23%

What photo voltaic gear does GAF Vitality set up?

GAF Vitality solely affords Timberline Photo voltaic shingles and would not provide photo voltaic panels. And the corporate technically would 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 via the GAF Vitality house owner portal. That is web-based, which means there is no app. 

Timberline Solar shingles on a roof. 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 vital position in turning photo voltaic vitality into usable vitality in your house. GAF Vitality makes use of Delta and SolarEdge string inverters. SolarEdge inverters are extensively distributed, extremely environment friendly and provide a stable guarantee. Additionally they gained the highest spot on CNET’s finest photo voltaic inverters listing. Delta inverters are a stable possibility as effectively, however we discovered SolarEdge to be the higher selection of the 2.

What about photo voltaic batteries? You can get one, simply not via GAF Vitality. Timberline Photo voltaic roof is appropriate with many battery choices available on the market, in line with the corporate. You will want to talk with a licensed vitality storage contractor to get a battery put in.

What warranties does GAF Vitality provide?

In comparison with comparable photo voltaic shingle merchandise available on the market, GAF Vitality affords a robust restricted guarantee for Timberline Photo voltaic. Here is what you will get:

Product guarantee: Considered one of GAF Vitality’s largest 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 affords a 15-year guarantee in opposition to 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 consistent with many photo voltaic panels in use immediately, however lags behind some top-of-the-line choices.

For an extra value, Timberline Photo voltaic comes with two enhanced photo voltaic 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 era assure. This ensures that your Timberline Photo voltaic system will generate a selected 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 venture to venture.

Holmes stated that whereas GAF is not specializing in backup batteries simply now, the programs are appropriate with all main battery manufacturers, and clients will have the ability to add one.

Walking on Timberline Solar 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 much much less jarring than rack mount photo voltaic.

GAF Vitality

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. A neighborhood GAF-certified roofer will set up the photo voltaic shingles and an electrician will deal with the inverter set up, wiring and different electrical parts.

How a lot does a Timberline Photo voltaic roof value?

It is onerous to say. Evaluating costs between Timberline Photo voltaic and traditional photo voltaic panels is troublesome. Whereas standard photo voltaic panels go on prime 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 venture, 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 stated. So getting Timberline Photo voltaic solely makes monetary sense should you’re prepared to interchange your roof.

The map beneath reveals the typical costs for residential photo voltaic panel installations as reported by FindEnergy.com. The price of photo voltaic shingles/roofs should not included on this information set. State incentives and the tax credit score should not included within the estimate both. States in grey do not have information obtainable.

What financing choices does GAF Vitality provide?

GAF Vitality itself would not provide any financing or leasing choices for Timberline Photo voltaic. However your GAF-certified contractor would possibly. It is fairly widespread for photo voltaic installers and contractors to supply some kind 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, evaluate their finance choices to see which is most possible in your funds.

There are different methods to pay in your photo voltaic roof as effectively. 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. A map of states where GAF Energy operates.

Zooey Liao / CNET

Timberline Photo voltaic is accessible 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 individuals come to GAF Vitality instantly via its web site, most interact solely with their contractor.

When you’re out there for a roof and particularly searching for Timberline Photo voltaic, you’ll be able to fill out a web based kind on GAF Vitality’s web site, 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 venture, although they work with native electricians to deal with the facet of the venture that includes inverter set up and essential wiring.

Is GAF Vitality my most suitable option?

Solar shingles on a brick house. 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 in a position to purchase or carry out any type of hands-on testing for this evaluate, we are able to nonetheless evaluate 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 certainly one of your finest choices. The opposite main photo voltaic roof participant, Tesla Photo voltaic Roof, appears to be like sleeker however comes at a reasonably steep premium (although value varies primarily based in your roof’s complexity and measurement) and its most wind withstanding pace is 20 mph much less. Timberline Photo voltaic shingles even have a most effectivity score of 23%, in line with GAF Vitality. That is the very best effectivity score of every other photo voltaic shingle model we have seen. Timberline Photo voltaic from GAF Vitality ought to match up effectively with standard photo voltaic on value, too.

When you’re on the fence about whether or not it’s best to set up photo voltaic shingles or photo voltaic panels, the primary components to think about are your funds and aesthetics. Photo voltaic shingles will seemingly 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. When you do not want your roof changed and you do not care about aesthetics, putting in photo voltaic panels might be a greater possibility. Nonetheless, it is value stating that Timberline Photo voltaic’s efficiency over time is akin to many standard photo voltaic panels available on the market immediately, 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 area, and are supplied by only a few installers. You would possibly even solely have one photo voltaic roof possibility in your space. However to get the very best value 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 very best moveable photo voltaic panels and photo voltaic mills.

GAF Vitality professionals and cons


  • Installs like a traditional roof
  • Guarantees longer safety in opposition to leaks and defects
  • Excessive effectivity


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

GAF Vitality evaluations: What are clients saying?

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

Here is a small pattern of optimistic and adverse Google evaluations for GAF Vitality. These evaluations have been flippantly edited for spelling and grammar. 

5 star evaluations

“I bought a Timberline Photo voltaic roof via GAF and was blown away with the extent of service the staff offered at each step. [One employee] guided us via the setup, scheduling, and different work. [Another employee] made certain the roof set up went easily and went completely. [Other employees] acted extremely skilled through the electrical work and had all the things carried out effectively and safely. I have already got individuals asking about the place they’ll get the roof. When you’re making an attempt to determine between GAF and Tesla, the extent of consideration and skill to get questions answered by educated workers make GAF the clear selection.” Kevin C. 

“Our previous roof of 40 years wanted to get replaced and GAF Vitality supplies a superb resolution with their Timberline Photo voltaic roofing system. Our photo voltaic shingles had been put in a month in the past and we could not be extra happy! [Employees] have been nice all through all the 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. Okay

1 star evaluations

“We’re renovating our Florida house and trying 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 essentially the most promising. We reached out to a roofing firm advisable by GAF and issues rapidly took a flip for the worst. Regardless of being instructed about the advantages of the know-how, we by no means acquired a concrete provide. Once we adopted up, we had 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 linked 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. Ultimately, we switched to Tesla, who offered a compelling provide inside hours.” Rolf R. 

“If I may 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 house. 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 permitted.” Marcie R.

How we evaluated the very best photo voltaic shingles

CNET has not carried out any type of hands-on testing with these merchandise. Photo voltaic shingles are a part of a posh PV system that’s built-in into the roof of a home or construction. This makes hand-on testing troublesome. As an alternative, we took the commonest photo voltaic shingle manufacturers available on the market and made comparisons between them to search out the best choice. It is also vital to notice the restricted availability of photo voltaic roof merchandise, making selections for this listing restricted as effectively. Here is how we scored the very best photo voltaic shingles. 

First, we decided what classes we might use to guage every photo voltaic shingle. Every class was given a weight reflecting how vital we felt it was to the typical client. After analyzing information offered by producers and talking with subject material consultants (who did not affect the alternatives that had been made for this listing), these had been the classes we selected to guage every photo voltaic shingle model on.

  • Product guarantee: 20%
  • Wind/weatherization guarantee: 15%
  • Energy output/efficiency guarantee: 20%
  • Wind score: 10%
  • Shingle effectivity: 15%
  • Shingle wattage per sq. foot: 20%  

We checked out 5 of the preferred photo voltaic shingle suppliers available on the market, collected the info for every class and in contrast the numbers. Every class (for each photo voltaic shingle) was given a tier-style score to guage which elements of every photo voltaic shingle had been above common (amongst our listing), simply common or beneath common.

Continuously 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 usually extensive and ponderous. Most monocrystalline photo voltaic panels will even have increased effectivity rankings than photo voltaic shingles.

Photo voltaic shingles are basically small photo voltaic panels which might be designed to appear like conventional roof shingles, and are built-in along with your roof to appear like conventional roofing materials. Not everybody likes the “look” of rooftop photo voltaic, making photo voltaic shingles a great different for individuals who wish to go photo voltaic however don’t desire cumbersome photo voltaic panels on their roof. Putting in photo voltaic shingles may be a greater possibility if it is advisable to have your complete 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 primary setbacks are that they usually have decrease effectivity rankings, increased set up prices (relying on the corporate), restricted availability and decrease wattage, which may make it tougher (and doubtlessly costlier) to fulfill your own home’s vitality wants.

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

Sure. Since photo voltaic shingles rely as PV gear, they’re eligible for the federal photo voltaic tax credit score. The federal photo voltaic tax credit score means that you can declare 30% of the whole value of your photo voltaic system again in federal tax credit. However this tax credit score may not cowl the price of the remainder of your roof’s alternative.

How lengthy do photo voltaic shingles final?

Most photo voltaic roofs are designed to final round 20 to 30 years or so. That is akin to photo voltaic panels, which normally final round 25 years or extra. The lifespan of your photo voltaic roof may also depend upon the producer and the standard of set up. Above all else, you will wish to be sure you have an installer you’ll be able to belief.


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