Behind the deal: 'Extensive search' ended with GAF Energy picking Georgetown for $100M factory

Behind the deal: 'Extensive search' ended with GAF Energy picking Georgetown for $100M factory

Published | Written by Tony Lazarov

Written by: Justin Sayers
Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal
Curated by Tony Lazarov

265 jobs promised, but even more possible, exec says

When scouring the Austin metro for a new manufacturing site, GAF Energy LLC executive Ralph Robinett joked that he and his colleagues looked at every industrial site between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Georgetown.

The solar roofing company started the process last August. GAF Energy had in 2021 moved its primary manufacturing operations to Silicon Valley from South Korea but already needed a second site to handle booming demand.

Leaders looked at 10-12 Central Texas sites in October before settling on one in Georgetown, where they hope to begin operations in 2024.

"It's been quite an extensive search," said Robinett, senior vice president of manufacturing and employment for GAF Energy. "We looked at basically every building that was available and every site that was under development."

GAF Energy on July 19 officially announced plans for the Georgetown factory, days after Austin Business Journal reported the company was eyeing a $100 million manufacturing, office and research and development facility at the southeast corner of I-35 and SE Inner Loop. The site is expected to employ at least 265 people.GAF was launched in 2019 as a subsidiary of global industrial company Standard Industries and has been billed as a competitor to Tesla Inc., which in addition to electric vehicles produces Solar Roof panels and Powerwall batteries.

In Georgetown, GAF will produce its Timberline Solar roofing products. That includes nail-on roofing shingles that won a best-of-show award at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

The new factory could boost GAF manufacturing capacity by 500%, allowing it to make 5 million solar shingles a year — enough to install solar roofs on about 50,000 homes annually. The company said that would make it the largest producer of solar roofing in the world.

"The response from both consumers and roofers to our Timberline Solar roof has been tremendous and we're thrilled to be expanding capacity to meet that growing demand. Georgetown has a long track record as a clean energy leader, so it is the perfect home for us to build the future of solar," GAF Energy President Martin DeBono said in a statement. "We launched Timberline Solar because we believed that more consumers would choose solar if they had a more reliable, durable, and attractive option. The market has confirmed our belief — now we’re turning that belief into reality and building the future of clean energy here in the U.S."

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