Elon Musk recently declared in 2019 as "the year of solar roof".
The chief executive of Tesla may be right – but not the way he expects. While the car manufacturer is trying to increase the production of glass textures, roof tiles embedded in solar cells, another group of huge rivals appears: roofers.
One of the world's largest umbrella companies has begun offering its own version of the solar deck – essentially a slab placed on top of the house and surrounded by a shingle. Standard Industries has received 200 orders for its product so far and expects to deliver 2,000 this year, said Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energi.
It is the direct competition of Tesla, which until now was the only big game in the city in terms of solar roofs. Instead, Sunrun and Vivint Solar are on the roof surface. Moving the construction industry into a solar-roofed space is a challenge for Tesla's business to get on the ground since launching a high profile in 2016-and threatens the economy across the roof industry as solar customers come cheaper for builders who have already contracted install roofs.
The way the GAF DeBono sees a solar opportunity: "Instead of being disturbed, let's be annoyance."
Sunrun and Tesla refused to comment. Vivint did not respond to a comment request.
GAF is not the only roofing that spreads in the solar environment. PetersenDean Roofing & Solar began offering panels five years ago, made 9,800 installations in 2018 and is accelerating to double this year, said Steve Huber, vice president of consumer sales. CertainTeed's construction company Saint-Gobain has begun a solar division in 2010.
Their products are not exactly the same. For example, Tesla Solar Roof is a product that is customized for ordering. GAF makes the option "all right", which is ready for installation right away. Others place panels on roofs with carriers and carriers.
Builders expand into solar energy just as the industry prepares to lift the plant. In California, next year, boards for new homes are looking for. This could increase annual installed power in the country at almost 1.6 gigawatts in 2020 with about 950 megawatts last year, according to BloombergNEF. Sunrun and Vivint are already preparing for partnership with house builders.
"There is a potential for solar products to be offered by other commercial services, including roofers, electricians and home maintenance professionals," said Hugh Bromlei, an analyst with headquarters in New York at BloombergNEF. "Solar in its own right does not have to be its own industry."
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For its part, Tesla confirmed in late January that it will continue installing solar roofs at a slow pace while trying to improve its production capabilities. On Thursday, Musk said the company is now turning its attention to the product now that the production of the model 3 of the model "goes pretty well."
Regarding GAF Energi, the company expects to deliver around 10 megawatts of solar systems this year to nine US states, including California and New York. For comparison, the nuclear reactor produces more than 1,000 megawatts.
"We are a growing startup in the hotspot and we start from scratch," DeBono said. "The goal is for people working on the roof to be solar."
© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.