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New nail-on solar shingles offer an affordable alternative to Tesla’s solar roof

Installing a solar roof in your home is a great way to reduce both your carbon footprint and your energy costs, but unfortunately, actually getting one on top of your house is usually a rather large undertaking. With traditional solar panels, you have to affix racks and other mounting hardware to your existing roof before you can attach the panels themselves. And if you opt for Tesla’s snazzy, modern Solar Roof tiles, you’ll have to dish out big bucks for a team of specialists to replace your existing roof shingles completely.

But soon there might be a third option. A new product has surfaced at CES 2022 that could make putting a solar roof on your house a whole lot easier.

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House with solar shingles.

GAF Energy — one of the largest roofing companies in the U.S. — recently pulled the curtain back on a new kind of shingle called the Timberline Solar that can be nailed to your existing roof for easy installation. They’re designed to function much like regular shingles, so rather than requiring a team of specialists for the install, any qualified roofer can simply attach them to your roof with a nail gun.

GAF claims this will cost about half as much as installing a Tesla solar roof. The company hasn’t released specific pricing details quite yet, but reports suggest that it’ll be comparable to the cost of an average non-solar roofing installation.

The only downside? GAF’s cheap and easy-to-install Timberline Solar shingles will also likely produce less energy than their competitors. The Timberline system reportedly has a 45W capacity, which is significantly below Tesla’s 71W shingles or an average 300W solar panel. As always, there are pros and cons.

Solar shingles being installed.

Still, even with the power output tradeoffs, a cheaper solar roofing option could make solar power more accessible to homeowners who can’t otherwise afford it, and that’s an exciting prospect. GAF also insists that it’s well-equipped to get this technology out into the world quite quickly. As one of the largest roofing manufacturers in the world, the company believes it will be able to quickly bring its Timberline solar shingles to interested customers across the country.

It’s not clear how soon the company will start shipping and installing these solar shingles, but you can start the registration process on its website right now.

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How much money can you save with solar panels?
Two men installing a solar panel on a roof.

Solar panels can be a big investment if you need to renewably power your whole home. Of course, since you're generating your own power, you stand to cut down on your electrical bill. Figuring out whether one cancels out the other is a bit of a challenge, so we're going to run through the factors you need to consider when doing the math. The complicated part of all of this is that the specific numbers will vary depending on where you live, and what the prices are like at any given time.
Upfront cost
Calculating the cost of your solar panels will vary by installer, but you're looking at an average of $20,000 for a 10kW system. Be sure to get quotes from multiple local companies before taking the plunge. It's worth exploring the financing options available for solar panels if the upfront cost is too steep. If you need to take out a loan for your solar panel install, it's possible to find them at subsidized interest rates.

There are some installers that will even put the solar panels on your roof for free, provided you buy all of the power generated from them. Under this power-purchasing agreement you might just be swapping out one electrical utility provider for another, but at least you won't have to worry about maintenance since the panels are owned by the installer. Odds are you'll get better rates, too.

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This gizmo tracks your TP usage and automatically orders more when you get low
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Smart home appliances have a tendency to border on solutions-for-nonexistent-problems territory, and no place is that more apparent than the CES show floor. This year is no different. Case in point: A smart toilet paper holder from a company called Homeplenish that keeps a tab on your usage and then  automatically orders more from your Amazon account when you’re about to run out.

Homeplenish says its device will prevent people from hoarding rolls as its algorithm can automatically predict when you’ll need more and order it on your behalf beforehand, unlike some alternatives that tend to buy replacements on a set schedule. Since the smart holder integrates with Amazon’s “Smart Reorder” platform, it also takes into account delivery times and calculates the ideal reorder time frame to ensure “there is never too much or too little towel and tissue on hand.”

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Samsung SmartThings announces new partnerships for smart energy
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Samsung SmartThings, the company’s smart home and IoT division, announced today during CES 2022 that it would be expanding its Energy service. The SmartThings Energy expansion will further continue to help consumers optimize their energy usage and save money on utilities.

SmartThings Energy launched in July 2021 and the service overhauled the home energy category and still drives technology transformation with the help of its partners today. SmartThings Energy helps users reduce their global environmental impact using energy management platforms, energy providers, and sustainability partners. The expansion sees SmartThings Energy working with Constellation, Logical Buildings, and Oracle Utilities for various projects.

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