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Luma Solar

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LAST UPDATED: April 11th, 2022

Luma Solar is the first company to develop a solar shingle solar system. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk have taken notice of what Luma Solar has been doing since 2007 and are trying to replicate the company’s success. Despite countless large corporations attempting to mass produce and replicate what Luma Solar has done, the company has been able to keep its doors open and provide a high quality product. 

Luma Solar was founded by Robert and Gary Allen, experienced roofers who own and operate Allen Brothers Roofing. Their father started the company in 1949 and the brothers took over in 1986. The Allen Brothers were responsible for helping rebuild the Pentagon after the September 11th attacks. As roofers, Robert and Gary approached solar from a roofing perspective and while working on the Pentagon used half of their factory to produce their innovative solar shingles. While Luma Solar is its own business, it is a subsidiary of the Allen Brothers Roofing service offerings. 

The Luma Solar roofing tiles and the related technology was voted as the “Best New Product” by the International Roofing Expo. Luma Solar products qualify for LEED Points through the U.S. Green Building Council. Luma Solar was the winner of the Clean Energy Grant and is certified by the California Energy Commission. Luma Solar was the first solar company in history to be recognized by any President at a State of the Union address. The Luma Solar products are UL Listed as well as UL Certified and Approved.

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The Good

  • Transparent Process
  • Roofing Background
  • Quality Workmanship
  • Battery Solutions

Transparent Process

As developers of the first fully integrated solar rooftop shingle system, Luma Solar has created a process to bring its award-winning and patented systems to homeowners across North America. Each system is hand built to the property’s specifications by highly skilled professionals. The Luma Solar process is entirely transparent from start to finish: 

  • Research — Luma Solar advises potential solar customers to do their own homework and make sure that Luma Solar products would be a good fit for the property. 
  • Order a study — Clients ready to take the leap into solar will then have the option to order a base study. This base study is $300 for residential projects and are case-by-case for commercial projects. Each project is custom-fit to the client’s roof. 
  • Schedule — Once the team at Luma Solar has configured the optimum Luma system, professionals will work directly with the client to schedule the installation. Luma Solar also handles all permitting paperwork. Luma Solar typically schedules installation 60 days out due to high demand.
  • Installation — The Luma Solar team works with its network of certified installation professionals to install the solar roof precisely. 
  • After care — Once installation is completed, many solar companies consider the work to be done. That is not the case with Luma Solar. The company will handle all repair and maintenance work in addition to providing clients with comprehensive warranties. 

While many solar installation companies offer a similar process to clients, Luma Solar truly does customize and hand craft the solar system to a roof’s exact measurements to enhance productions and energy output. 

Roofing Background

The solar companies that continue to pop up, especially over the last few years, tend to be started by salesmen, electricians, or contractors. What sets Luma Solar apart from the rest of these solar companies is the fact that the operation was started and designed by actual roofers.

Roofs are not cut and dry; they are rather complex. With this background and understanding in mind, Luma Solar was able to create the first seamless rooftop shingle system. It is designed by experienced roofers and acts as a roof which is vastly different from competitors in the industry. 

Quality Workmanship

The Luma Solar rooftop shingle system brings clean energy to customers looking for both beauty and quality craftsmanship. As the pioneers of the solar roofing movement, Luma Solar continues to innovate and upgrade the design and functionality of its products. Each solar shingle is 80W and three times stronger than regular roof tiles. Each single is also upgradeable. No other solar product can match the production, look, durability, or versatility of the Luma Solar rooftop shingle system. 

Battery Solutions

While Luma Solar has created its own solar system, the importance of a battery or storage system is not lost. Luma Solar has partnered with industry-leading companies to supply battery backup and home energy storage solutions to clients. Each case will determine what the best battery partner will be, and Luma Solar will work directly with that battery manufacturer to optimize the efficiency of the solar roof.

It is important to note that while home batteries are common in solar roof installations, they are not required in order to generate and use clean energy. Battery partnerships include:

  • Generac PWR Cell
  • LG Chem
  • Enphase
  • Sonnen

Many solar companies will have a battery manufacturer partnership; however Luma Solar has found a way to create four of these partnerships. This allows the company to provide its clients with the best solution for their unique roofing specifications and requirements. 

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The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Complex Installation

Expensive

Solar is expensive in general. Having a system installed and up to operation can cost the average homeowner anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. Due to the design, technology advancements, and installation requirements, Luma Solar is even more expensive than the industry average.

The average kilowatt system, which is usually enough to offset more than 80 percent of a residential electricity bill, will cost Luma Solar clients about $33,000 to install. This price actually does not even include the electrician fees required to complete the process. This means that Luma Solar clients can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 more than the average solar customer. 

Complex Installation

The Luma Solar panels and system are not designed like the typical panels that get latched onto a roof. Each panel is carefully crafted and designed to function both as a roof and a solar generating product. The design and function is definitely what sets Luma Solar panels apart from the industry, but it also makes installing them much more difficult.

A licensed electrician has to complete the installation and not just any electrician can do the work. It is difficult to train roofers and electricians on how to install the Luma Solar shingles. As a result, Luma has to send its own in-house crew to complete projects across the country. Most solar systems are similar, making installation more cut and dry. Luma Solar products require some of the most complex installations in the industry. 

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The Bottom Line

Luma Solar is an experienced innovator in the solar space. The design, function, and efficiency of the Luma Solar shingles remains unmatched within the industry. Created by roofers, Luma Solar offers the most aesthetically pleasing solar system available to consumers on the open market. Additionally, Luma Solar has partnered with solar battery/storage manufacturers and seamlessly operates with Luma Solar systems.

While Luma Solar is no doubt a pioneer in the solar industry, the products created by the company are more expensive than typical solar systems and the installation requires unique training and skill. This drastically limits who can afford and access Luma Solar products and systems.

For customers who are looking for a sleek, efficient solar system and do not mind spending more for the product than the traditional solar system, Luma Solar is the best option. The products and experience are unmatched. 

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