Alum's work supports growth of award-winning line of solar roof shingles
When Tim Haines (MS ’11) decided that he was interested in working in renewable energy, he saw the opportunity to pursue a degree at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) as a pivot point and means for achieving his goals. His plan worked, and after 11 years in the solar industry, Haines is now working with GAF Energy, the company that created the world’s first nailable solar shingle.
As a Director of Software Product Management at GAF Energy, Haines helps the company’s internal teams—from project operations and field service to sales and marketing—work more efficiently. “In this role, I work with stakeholders to define the problems they are facing, or create new workflows and business processes, and resolve those issues with software solutions. Our team enables GAF Energy to bring our products to market consistently and repeatedly at scale,” says Haines.
Ultimately, Haines’ work helps support the growth of Timberline Solar, the solar shingles that were released in 2022 and have already received recognition as one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2022 and Popular Science’s Best of What’s New 2022, among other awards and honors. Developed and produced in California, the shingles stand out for not only being slim and installable just like regular roof shingles but also for the added benefit of being able to replace a roof and invest in solar all at the same time. Timberline Solar is currently available in 11 states, and as the company expands availability to more states, the combined benefits and the resulting cost savings have the potential to make solar energy more accessible than it has been.
For Haines, the development of renewable energy is a necessity for the future of our planet. He knew this even before he came to SEAS, and by specializing in Sustainable Systems, he joined a cohort of like-minded peers who felt the same way. “I knew that it was a foregone conclusion that the way we have been generating energy is messing up our planet,” says Haines. “Studying at SEAS was such a positive experience—yes, I got a degree that helped me establish a narrative and trajectory that allowed me to show my interest in renewable energy and find work in the industry—but I also got to make friends and work with experts who had similar interests and goals as me. Thanks to everything I learned at SEAS, I got into renewable energy, which led me to solar once I moved to the Bay Area, and I’ve continued to work in this field with escalating responsibilities ever since.”
Haines says that the future of solar energy is bright. “With Timberline Solar, we see the potential to convert something most Americans take for granted, their roofs, into a widely adopted climate solution, and that makes me hopeful about the future of our planet.”