Tesla Solar Roof Alternatives To Check Out In 2023
The use of consumer solar technology has continued to expand across the U.S. Output from consumer solar panels rose to a level equating to power for 24 million homes in the United States, and in the last 10 years, the industry has added jobs at a rate five times faster than the total U.S. average (a 167% increase). Even with enormous increases in adoption, estimates place the potential for generating electricity — through residential and commercial rooftop solar installations alone — at roughly 40% of the country’s demand (as of 2018).
This is where the Tesla Solar Roof options (the Solar Roof and Solar Panels) have come into play. The Tesla Solar Roof is a great way to take advantage of minimalistic coverage that maintains the longevity of the roof, while adding an electric production capability to the fabric of the property. Rather than installing solar panels across the roof and then caring for both features, the tiles that make up the roof itself also collect energy from the sun.
Yet, in 2021 Elon Musk announced that Tesla would stop selling Solar Roof installations without the brand’s Powerwall accompanying the setup. Around the same time, for the sophisticated solar collection tiles suddenly increased by about 30%, including those who had already signed contracts to have the feature installed. With these restrictions making Tesla’s offering less attractive to the consumer (30% less attractive), a search for solar roof alternatives is a must.
The Luma Solar range may be the oldest solar roof option on the market. The Detroit-based Luma Solar team was constructing solar roof shingles for nearly a decade before Tesla announced its entry into this space. The company developed its solar shingles in 2007, and received a safety approval for the product in 2010. This experience, and many years of battle against two gigantic competitors in Dow Chemical, and later Tesla, have forged Luma Solar into an innovator.
The solar roof shingles from Luma Solar are installed just like metal roof tiles. They measure 54.37 inches across by 15.62 inches high, with an exposed collection area just shy of these numbers. The solar shingles provide up to 80 watts of power apiece, besting the Tesla offering of 72W per tile (and they’re slightly larger than the 45-inch by 15-inch construction from Tesla).
Luma Solar seemingly offers the only upgradable solar system on the market as well, and the shingles are three times stronger than traditional tiles. This makes them rated for Category 5 hurricane force winds and above. In addition to the serious power production and other features, the Luma Solar shingle system comes with a lifetime warranty for the singles themselves, and a 25 year power warranty.
SunTegra solar shingles and tiles
SunTegra offers solar tiles and shingles that are seamlessly integrated with the surrounding roof construction. Shingles offer a max power rating of 110 watts, and the tiles provide up to 70 watts of power generation. Either choice is installed without the need to add racking equipment, allowing for a fast installation and a low-profile fit that blends directly into the profile of the roof.
SunTegra shingles and tiles offer a maximum wind rating of 130 miles per hour, and an effective operational temperature ranging from.40C to 90C (-40 degrees Fahrenheit to 194 degrees Fahrenheit). This makes the installation a valuable addition to homes across various climate zones in the United States.
These shingles are also installed with half the volume of parts than a conventional solar system. The shingles weigh 18 pounds, each with a 52-inch by 23-inch surface, and the tiles come in at 15 pounds, covering a 52-inch by 16-inch area. Both tile and shingle options come with a 25-year limited power warranty, and a 10-year limited product warranty.
CertainTeed’s Solstice Panel is yet another great alternative to the Tesla Solar Roof. The 400/440 watt panels are built with 108 half-cells and three bypass diodes integrated into the structure. They measure 67.75 inches (400W configuration) or 74.92 inches long (440W configuration) by 44.6 inches wide — and are each 1.37 inches thick.
The 400W panel weighs 45.8 pounds, and the higher output 440W option comes in at 51.8 pounds. Both solar panels can handle a maximum wind and snow load of 112 pounds per foot each, and retain operation between.40 degrees and 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
Solstice Shingles are another quality option from the brand. Each shingle offers a maximum power rating of 70 watts, utilizing 14 cells in series and two bypass diodes, as well as offering the same operating temperature rating as the panels. Each unit is 46.79 by 17.64 inches, and 0.875 inches thick.
CertainTeed offers a power output warranty of 25 years across both options, 10-year warranty coverage of other components, as well as a 10-year 110 mile per hour wind warranty on Solstice Shingles. CertainTeed has also been source for building products, including roofing essentials, for over 100 years. Services relating to your roof will be handled by an established name in the industry, rather than a new outlet that potentially may not have the resources to handle a sudden influx of warranty claims or repair requests after a storm, for instance.
Exasun X-Tiles and X-Roof
Exasun is a Dutch solar company located in The Netherlands. The firm was founded in 2012, and will soon offer access to solar roof technology for customers across the European continent through its partnership with Weinerberger. In late 2022, it was announced that the company had raised 9 million Euro in an effort to continue expanding its presence internationally. This means that buyers will be able to take advantage of the solar roof products offered by Exasun in a wide range of international markets as well.
The Exasun solar roof can be installed using X-Roof panels that take over the roof’s duties wholesale, or X-Tile pieces that can be installed in place of existing roofing tiles. The X-Roof system weighs 57 pounds per square meter, and the X-Tile installation comes in at 55 pounds per square meter, with electricity production ratings of 190 and 160 watt peaks per square meter, respectively.
The roofing solutions are estimated to offer a lifespan of over 30 years, and they’re fireproof, resistant to hailstones, and the products have been tested by Kiwa for wind and water resistance.
Can Solar Panels Be Installed on a Metal Roof? All You Need to Know
As solar energy becomes increasingly popular, homeowners are wondering whether they can install solar panels on their metal roofs. The short answer is yes, solar panels can be installed on a metal roof. In fact, metal roofs are one of the best roofing materials for solar installations. However, there are a few things to consider before you install solar panels on your metal roof. This article will provide an overview of what you need to know about installing solar panels on a metal roof.
Can Solar Panels Be Installed on a Metal Roof?
Yes, solar panels can be installed on a metal roof. Metal roofs are actually a great choice for solar panel installations, as they are more durable, have a longer lifespan, and are more resistant to extreme weather conditions than other roofing materials.
How are Solar Panels Installed on a Metal Roof?
Solar panels can be installed on a metal roof using either a penetrating or non-penetrating mounting system. In a penetrating mounting system, the panels are attached to the roof using bolts that penetrate the roof’s surface. In a non-penetrating mounting system, the panels are attached to the roof using a ballast system or clamps that do not penetrate the roof’s surface. Your solar panel installer will determine which mounting system is best for your metal roof based on your roof’s structure and the type of metal used.
Standing Seam Metal Roofs
Standing seam metal roofs are a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings. They have raised seams that connect panels together, creating a watertight barrier. Here’s what you need to know about installing solar panels on a standing seam metal roof:
When installing solar panels on a standing seam metal roof, there are two ways to attach them. The first method is to use S-5 clamps, which attach directly to the standing seam without penetrating the roof. This method is recommended for roofs that are in good condition and have not been recently installed. The second method is to use a mounting system that attaches to the ribs of the metal roof. This method is recommended for roofs that have been recently installed or have a warranty that could be voided by using S-5 clamps.
Tilt and Orientation
The tilt and orientation of the solar panels are important considerations for maximizing solar energy production. Ideally, solar panels should face south and have a tilt angle equal to the latitude of the installation site. However, standing seam metal roofs can make it difficult to achieve the optimal tilt and orientation. A mounting system with adjustable tilt can help overcome this challenge.
Roof Load Capacity
It’s important to ensure that your roof can support the weight of the solar panels. Standing seam metal roofs are strong and durable, but you should still have a structural engineer evaluate your roof to ensure it can support the additional weight of the solar panels.
Corrugated Metal Roofs
Corrugated metal roofs are another popular option for residential and commercial buildings. They have a wavy pattern and are typically made of galvanized steel or aluminum. Here’s what you need to know about installing solar panels on a corrugated metal roof:
Corrugated metal roofs can be more challenging to attach solar panels to than standing seam metal roofs. The best way to attach solar panels to a corrugated metal roof is to use a mounting system that attaches to the ribs of the roof. This method ensures that the panels are securely attached without damaging the roof.
Tilt and Orientation
As with standing seam metal roofs, the tilt and orientation of the solar panels are important considerations for maximizing solar energy production. A mounting system with adjustable tilt can help achieve the optimal angle for solar energy production.
Roof Load Capacity
Like with standing seam metal roofs, it’s important to ensure that your corrugated metal roof can support the weight of the solar panels. You should have a structural engineer evaluate your roof to make sure it can handle the additional weight.
Q: Can solar panels be installed on all types of metal roofs?
A: Solar panels can be installed on most types of metal roofs, including aluminum, steel, and copper. However, it’s best to consult with a professional solar panel installer to determine if your metal roof is suitable for solar panel installation.
Q: Do solar panels damage the metal roof?
A: No, solar panels do not damage the metal roof if installed correctly. Professional solar panel installers use high-quality materials and installation techniques that prevent damage to the metal roof.
Q: Will solar panels make my roof hotter?
A: No, solar panels do not make your roof hotter. In fact, metal roofs are reflective, which means they can reflect the sun’s rays and prevent heat absorption. This can help to reduce your cooling costs in the summer.
Q: Can I install solar panels on a painted metal roof?
A: Yes, solar panels can be installed on a painted metal roof. However, it’s important to ensure that the panels are not attached to the painted surface, as this can cause damage to the paint.
Q: Will installing solar panels on my metal roof void my roof warranty?
A: It depends on the manufacturer and the installation method. Some manufacturers allow solar installations without voiding the warranty, while others require specific installation methods to maintain the warranty.
Installing PV panels on a metal roof is a great way to reduce your energy costs. While both standing seam and corrugated metal roofs are suitable for solar installations, it’s important to consider factors such as panel attachment, tilt and orientation, and roof load capacity. With proper installation and maintenance, solar panels can be a valuable addition to your metal roof. If you’re thinking about installing solar panels on a metal roof, feel free to contact us. Our solar advisors can provide you with expert guidance on the process!
Tesla solar roof price increase leads to lawsuits
In Tesla’s latest solar roof blunder, the company altered solar roof pricing after customers had already signed contracts. Image courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
Tesla’s solar roof has been the “next big thing” for the last nine years. The solar roof is designed with active solar shingles that generate electricity for your home, and inactive shingles that act as a traditional roofing material, so you can go solar without sacrificing the aesthetics of your home.
Sounds great, right? But after nearly a decade, it seems the only thing going to the moon is the price of the Tesla solar roof and the number of Tesla lawsuits.
In April 2021, Tesla imposed significant price hikes on their solar roof product not only for new projects, but for homeowners who had already signed contracts, as well. For some Tesla customers, the price increases were double what they agreed to pay in their original contract, and included no upgraded materials or designs.
The contract changes led many Tesla solar roof customers to file lawsuits against the company in hopes that they could get their original contract back.
So why did Tesla impose these price hikes? And what does this mean for the future of the Tesla solar roof? In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about Tesla’s solar roof price increases, the lawsuits, and what it all means for the future of the solar roof.
How much can you save by switching to solar?
Tesla imposes drastic price hikes for all solar roof projects
When Tesla’s solar roof first launched, it was quite expensive. Only people who could afford the 100,000 price tag of the new high-tech roof could enjoy it. Then when Tesla launched the Solar Roof V3 in 2019, the price was substantially lower than the original.
In fact, the new iteration of the solar roof cost so much less than its predecessor, that in some cases it was cheaper to install a Tesla solar roof than it was to completely replace a roof and install a conventional solar panel system. It seemed as though it was finally the time for the solar roof to take off.
That all came crashing down in March 2021 when Tesla raised the price of their solar roof substantially. For some projects, the price would be over 40% higher than it would have been prior to the price hikes.
And Tesla didn’t stop there. Just a month later, in April 2021, the solar roof skyrocketed again. The cost is now up to 72% more than what it was at the start of 2021. A solar roof project that would have cost around 27,000 at the beginning of the year now costs almost 47,000.
But Tesla didn’t just raise the price for new solar roof projects. they increased the price for people who had already signed contracts. The contracts sent out by Tesla with new pricing did not include any different materials or designs: they were the same exact plans as before, just with a much higher price tag.
Some homeowners saw installation costs that were double that of what they signed off on just weeks before their installation was set to begin, and they were not happy about it, to say the least. And since Tesla is known for having poor customer service, many Tesla customers found the best way to get the company’s attention was through legal action.
Homeowners sue Tesla for changing solar roof contracts
After seeing such drastic price jumps from their original contracts, many homeowners decided to take Tesla to court. A complaint filed earlier this week in North California stated:
“After completing the sales agreements, and while the consumers have been making plans for the installations, in classic bait-and-switch fashion Tesla is now informing these consumers they must pay upwards of a 50% price hike on the cost of the Solar Roof if they want to proceed with the installation and if they do not pay promptly, they risk losing their place in line for installation.”
According to Business Insider, one California homeowner signed his Tesla solar roof contract for 71,000 in March 2021. In April, Tesla notified him that the project cost would now be 146,462. After speaking to a Tesla representative, the homeowner was offered a free Powerwall battery, aka a 9,500 consolation gift for a 75,000 upcharge.
lawsuits are still being filed against Tesla for the changed contracts. Right now, it is unclear what Tesla’s response will be or how the court will proceed.
Why did Tesla change their solar roof prices?
Tesla’s price hikes boil down to the company grossly underestimating how complex roofing installations can be.
With any roof replacement, the more intricate the roof, the more the installation will cost. If your home has multiple floors, dormers, vent pipes, a chimney, or has a steep pitch, it takes more labor and materials to get the job done.
Prior to March 2021, Tesla was charging a flat rate of 7.65 per square foot for their inactive roofing materials, no matter how complex the roof was. Turns out, that’s not cost-effective. That’s when Tesla implemented “roof complexity” into their solar roof ordering process. So, in order to purchase a Tesla solar roof, you had to deem your roof simple, moderate, or complex, which would ultimately alter the price.
It’s not surprising that Tesla had to include roof complexity into their solar roof installations. you should have to pay more for an installation that requires more labor and materials. But, when they added roof complexity, they bumped up the a lot, even for simple roofs. Now, a simple roof will run you 14.00 per square foot of roofing material, while a complex roof will cost a whopping 19.24 per square foot. And remember, these don’t even include the solar portion of the roof.
Maybe these would make sense for a premium roofing material like slate, but Tesla’s inactive shingles are made of painted steel. That’s an insanely high price for metal roofing shingles, which usually cost between 7.00 and 10.00 per square foot, including labor costs.
It is possible that Tesla is only increasing the price of the inactive roofing materials because they want to keep the cost per watt of the solar shingles low. So, maybe that could explain why there is such a large disparity between traditional metal shingles and Tesla’s. But, it’s impossible to know for sure.
Tesla’s effort to make the solar roof mainstream crashes and burns
Even Elon Musk admits that Tesla made significant mistakes when it came to the solar roof. Tesla’s one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t quite work when it comes to roofing. The company has always been all about simplicity, making their solar ordering process as easy as buying a shirt online.
And while this model kind of works for solar, roofing is a whole different ballgame. Simpler isn’t always better.
Plus, Tesla hasn’t delivered on a lot of promises they made about the solar roof historically. In 2016, they claimed that four shingle styles would be available. Meanwhile, only two ever hit the market, despite Elon Musk’s claims that the remaining styles would be available six months after the originals.
With the lawsuits on top of the price hikes, Tesla isn’t really making itself look any better. So for now it seems the Tesla solar roof will remain a luxury product for the wealthy. That is, if you consider it a luxury to buy an extremely expensive product that doesn’t perform as well as cheaper alternatives from a company that alters their contracts after signing and has historically poor customer service.
Tesla’s wishy-washy behavior when it comes to the solar roof could make it hard for consumers to ever trust them when it comes to this product again, no matter how cheap it becomes or how great it performs. Until Tesla sorts itself out, you’re better off going solar with traditional solar panels.
Tesla Solar Roof: the complete review
In October 2019, Tesla Motors announced the launch of the Tesla Solar Roof V3, the company’s third version of its integrated solar glass shingle. Among several updates, version three included larger tiles, lower production costs, increased power density, and a more straightforward installation process.
Additionally, the total number of parts in the product decreased. Tesla predicted that these changes would significantly reduce the cost of the product; however, the company has continued to struggle with expediting its solar roof installations.
The Tesla Solar Roof: EnergySage’s take
While Tesla is most famous for its electric vehicles (EVs), the company’s future lies in total clean energy integration – a one-step carbon reduction process that involves pairing solar panels with your Tesla EV. For home owners who want the benefits of solar without the “look” of solar, the Tesla Solar Roof provides an enticing alternative: but is this luxury roof the right option for you?
What’s in this article?
There’s a lot in here, and we’ll try to speak to every aspect of the solar roof. Skip ahead to any of the sections below:
- What are solar shingles?
- Latest news on the solar roof
- Solar Roof key events timeline
- Solar roof specifications
- Cost estimates
- Should you wait for the Tesla Solar Roof?
- Tesla’s competitors
The Tesla Solar Roof: what you need to know
Some solar industry stakeholders believe that solar needs to be rebranded as an aesthetic and technical improvement that can be a part of a home renovation rather than a hefty module affixed to your rooftop. That sentiment was emphasized in Elon Musk’s October 2016 launch of Tesla’s first roofing product. With the Solar Roof, the company aims to bring solar further into the mainstream by removing any sort of aesthetic concerns that homeowners may have.
“I think there’s quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not, I think it’s going to be a night-and-day difference,” said Musk in a statement before the official launch of Tesla’s first solar roof. Two months later, he unveiled the solar roof using a crowded, suburban event in California to demonstrate that Tesla’s panel design was so seamlessly integrated that the entire audience of press needed to be altered to its presence on the house in front of them.
Using a Tesla Powerwall home battery with the Tesla Solar Roof
Tesla Solar Roofs come paired with energy storage in the form of a Tesla Powerwall battery. The Tesla Powerwall boasts a maximum power rating of 7 kW with no sun or 9.6 kW with full sun to go along with 13.5 kWh of usable capacity. It can also help provide solar power to your home during a power outage. It also comes with the Tesla app that allows users to monitor their energy production in real- time. Tesla Powerwalls are eligible for the federal tax credit.
What’s the latest news on the Tesla Solar Roof tiles?
Tesla has now installed Solar Roofs across the country, though the exact number of installations is unclear. This solar product has been gaining popularity among some consumers, leading to long installation wait times for customers who sign contracts. In April 2021, many of these customers were shocked when they received emails from Tesla quoting higher installation costs than their contract prices. The lack of explanation and transparency caused confusion and frustration among consumers, especially if they could no longer afford the hefty price tag.
During Tesla’s quarterly earnings call in April 2021, CEO Elon Musk affirmed that demand “remains strong” for the Tesla Solar Roof, despite increases in Solar Roof pricing. He did concede that Tesla “basically made some significant mistakes in assessing the difficulty of certain roofs.” Tesla has added roof complexity information to its website and a roof complexity disclaimer to its Solar Roof calculator; however, Tesla notes that your roof complexity won’t be determined until after you place an order for a Solar Roof. Tesla divides the complexity into three categories–simple, intermediate, and complex–based on the following criteria:
- Simple: single-level roof, uncrowded mounting planes, few obstructions (pipes, chimneys, skylights), low pitch
- Intermediate: multi-level roof (roof sections built on multiple stories of your house), more crowded mounting plane, more obstructions (pipes, chimneys, skylights), higher pitch
- Complex: multi-level roof (roof sections built on multiple stories of your house), heavily crowded mounting plane, many obstructions (pipes, chimneys, skylights), steep pitch
Based on previous reports, the price of a Tesla Solar Roof varies substantially depending on your roof’s complexity.
Timeline of key Tesla Solar Roof news and announcements
Tesla seems to have a pattern of overpromising and underdelivering in regard to its solar roof. Here’s a breakdown of what the past several years have looked like for the company and its customers.
- April 2016: Tesla purchases Solarcity and begins production on solar panels and the solar roof.
- May 2017: Tesla began taking orders for its Tesla solar tiles
- August 2017: Elon Musk revealed that he and another Tesla executive already had the roof installed on their respective properties.
- January 2018: The company announced it was ramping up production of the roof product at its Buffalo Gigafactory. Tesla then started initial installations with customers at the top of its waitlist in the California area in mid-March, roughly eight months after its initial estimate.
- May 2018: Tesla had about 11,000 orders for the solar roof and it was struggling to meet the demand.
- August 2018: Only 12 solar roofs had been installed in California, the leading state in the country for solar.
- September 2018: A report was released stating that solar roofs may not be widely installed for a long time. According to CNBC, Musk said they needed more time to work out all the details. “There’s only so much accelerated life testing that you can do on a roof. So before we can deploy it at a large number of houses we need to make sure that it’s that all elements of the roof are going to last for at least three decades,” said Musk in a summer 2018 meeting. The statement lacked both commitment and a clear timeline.
- November 2018: According to a Bloomberg report, the company began ramping up production, implementing 24/7 operating hours with about 80 employees per shirt for solar roof shingle production alone. Tesla’s head of energy operations, Sanjay Shah, stated that Tesla was gearing up for the solar roof side of its business to see “tremendous growth in 2019.” Musk himself tweeted that the first solar roof deployments would begin around summer 2019.
- June 2019: Despite continued delays and earnings losses, Musk tweeted that he hoped to manufacture about 1,000 solar roofs per week by the end of 2019.
- October 2019: Tesla announced the Tesla Solar Roof V3, which featured updates to increase manufacturing and deployment, and reduce prices.
- Late 2020: Tesla experienced some achievements for its solar roofs throughout the year, almost tripling its installations between quarter one and quarter two. In quarter four, Tesla announced that it had “made great progress growing [its] solar roof deployments,” but didn’t provide date to back up its claim.
- April 2021: Tesla Solar Roof customers have continued to experience delays and a lack of transparency from Tesla.
- May 2021: Some customers sued Tesla over unexpected hikes.
- June 2021: electrek confirmed that Tesla’s head of energy operations had left the company after months of rumors.
- October 2021: Tesla expanded solar roof installations to anywhere in the United States.
- November 2021: electrek announced that Solar Roof tiles will be more efficient, have higher capacity, and might be able to be installed over existing roofs.
Tesla Solar Roof specifications: what are you getting?
If you’re interested in installing a Tesla Solar Roof, you’re probably wondering what you’re getting of each solar shingle. We’ll explain some of the specifications of the Solar Roof:
Despite previous announcements about multiple design offerings–including tuscan glass tile, slate glass tile, textured glass tile, and smooth glass tile–the Tesla Solar Roof is only currently available in one shingle design. According to Tesla’s website, each shingle has a dimension of 15 inches by 45 inches, is 5 mm thick, and is made of glass, polymers, fiberglass, and silicon. The shingle is designed to resemble a traditional asphalt shingle.
Tesla provides 25-year product, weatherization, and module warranties, comparable to leading solar panel brands. The warranty also guarantees that your Solar Roof will be at least 95 percent of its “Rated Peak Power” at five years following installation and that it will decline by no more than 0.5 percent per year for the following 20 years –essentially guaranteeing 85 percent output in year 25. Its inverter has a 12.5-year warranty, which aligns with warranties for other string inverter brands; however, this warranty is lower than warranties for many microinverters, which are often 20 to 25 years.
How much does the Tesla Solar Roof cost?
With the new complexity categories explained above, it’s a bit difficult to fully estimate the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof. The cost varies significantly depending on whether your roof is “simple” or “complex” and depending on the square footage of your roof. If you have a fairly small – and not too complex – roof that you already need to replace, the price of a Solar Roof will probably be fairly comparable to that of a new asphalt roof installation plus solar panels. However, as you increase the size and/or complexity of your roof, you can expect this number quickly skyrocket.
Should you wait for the Tesla Solar Roof?
Standard solar panel technologies are typically evaluated based on their performance, durability, and warranties. However, Tesla’s lack of transparency makes it difficult to compare to traditional solar panels. Four years after the initial launch of Tesla’s solar roof, the company still hasn’t revealed the shingles’ efficiency and customers are still experiencing long wait times and surprise price increases.
If you’re in dire need of a roof upgrade or if you won’t need a roof upgrade for a while, the Tesla Solar Roof may not be worth your long wait. Solar panels are extremely dependable (and we think they look great, too!). However, if you need to upgrade your roof soon (but not immediately) and your roof isn’t too complex or large, you may be a good candidate for the Tesla Solar Roof. Additionally, if you’re set on the look and have the capital to cover the cost, the system may be the best choice for you, though it may be worth your while to compare the Tesla Solar Roof to other solar roof products.
Tesla’s solar shingles are best suited for new construction
Most existing solar shingle technologies are also known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) because they are integrated with your existing roof and are a similar size and shape to standard roof tiles. Tesla has created something different. In August 2016, Musk first explained the difference between solar shingles and Tesla’s solar roof: “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof.”
Unlike other solar shingles, Tesla’s roof tiles are designed to completely replace your existing roof (though electrek did recently report that you may soon be able to install them over existing roofs). As a result, the most cost-effective way to install them is when your home is being built, which means that they are best suited for homebuyers who have a say in the design and materials of their newly constructed home. While this doesn’t mean that they can’t be used on existing homes, retrofitting your roof with Tesla solar tiles means removing your existing roof (which Tesla will do for you). As a result, retrofitting your roof with Tesla solar tiles is only practical when your roof is already due to be replaced.
Who are Tesla’s solar roof competitors?
Though the buzz around Tesla’s illustrious roof product has made it appear like it’s a new concept, it is merely the continued repackaging brilliance that some call the “Musk effect.” Development of solar roof tiles and solar shingles has been evolving for many years, and a number of companies have taken a stab at designing a versatile, subtle rooftop solar medium that could be considered a genuine roofing material rather than a module add-on. Here are some of Tesla’s solar roof competitors that offer similar BIPV products:
- Luma – these solar shingles can be integrated with all roofing material and install similarly to traditional metal roofing. Luma markets its product as the only upgradable solar shingle system and boasts an efficiency of 22.1 percent.
- Suntegra – this Northeast solar manufacturer is at the forefront of the solar roof product line. The company hails from New York and began offering its two solar roof products just a few months before the announcement of Tesla’s shingles. Suntegra’s solar shingles are designed to be integrated with low-profile roof materials and are about 15.9 to 17.2 percent efficient. Its solar tiles are slightly less efficient at 13.9 to 15.1 percent and are designed to be integrated with standard flat concrete tile roofs.
- CertainTeed – originally a roofing company, this contractor now offers two solar roof products, with similar integration strategies to Suntegra. Its Apollo II system includes solar shingles to match low-profile roofs, which are about 15.4 percent efficient. CertainTeed’s Apollo Tile II system integrates solar tiles with flat concrete tiles roofs and its tiles are about 16 percent efficient.
It’s important to note that the solar shingles and tiles offered by these companies do still stand out against other roofing material. None can compete with Tesla in terms of aesthetics or subtlety, but they do offer low-profile BIPV solutions that may alleviate aesthetic concerns for some solar shoppers.
Frequently asked questions about the Tesla Solar Roof
While the cost of switching to solar is high, and the news and information surrounding Tesla Solar Roofs can be confusing or nearly obsolete, it’s important to research each product, company, and topic before making a decision. Learn more about the Tesla Solar Roof by reading these commonly asked questions:
Depending on your location, Tesla will send its own installers or contractors to set up your system after purchasing a Solar Roof.
Tesla claims that their shingles are three times stronger than the average roof tile and are built to endure all weather conditions. They have the highest fire rating (Class A) and are built to withstand 110 mph winds (Class F), so you can feel confident even in extreme weather conditions.
Tesla offers a 25-year warranty on the system’s tiles, power, and weatherization. Plus, its inverter has a 12.5-year warranty, giving homeowners peace of mind regarding their investment.
Learn how much solar can save you today before you make your decision
Just as Tesla doesn’t make electric vehicles for the masses, Tesla’s solar roof isn’t feasible for every home. In many ways, the company’s solar roof product is similar to its first electric car. If you are an early adopter of newer technologies, don’t care about price, and are prepared to wait for a product with an uncertain manufacturing timeline, then waiting for Tesla’s solar roof could be the right decision for you.
Additionally, waiting to go solar has its risks, even if you’re interested in the solar roof. The cost of going solar is falling every year, and there are premium solar panels already available today that come with high-efficiency ratings and a sleek black design. If you wait years for the Tesla Solar Roof, you will lose out on years of savings on your electricity bill. You also run the risk of missing out on financial incentives for solar: many state tax credits have already expired and as of now, the federal investment tax credit for solar will be lowered to 22 percent in 2023.
Before you make the decision to wait for the Tesla Solar Roof, use our solar calculator to learn how much you can save today by going solar. If you’re ready to explore the solar options for your home, join the EnergySage Marketplace and get custom quotes from solar installers in your area. You might be surprised by just how much you can save now by installing traditional solar panels on your roof.
Where to buy solar roof tiles
reading on EnergySage
Looking to go solar? Here’s everything you need to know in… Solar shingles: what you need to know in 2023 Best solar panels in 2023: Top products compared Tesla Solar Roof cost vs. solar panels Solar farms: what are they and how do they work?
About Emily Walker
With over five years of experience in environmental science and clean energy, Emily is an expert in solar, battery, and energy management technology and policy. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and Biology from Colby College. Emily is always looking for ways to live her life more sustainably and is currently in the process of electrifying her home.
A California startup has developed PV modules that look like standing-seam metal roofing
By Scott Gibson | June 1, 2017
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A Palo Alto, California, company says that it has developed a building-integrated photovoltaic system with a top layer of tempered glass that looks like a standing-seam metal roof. The solar panels can be installed for 3.25 a watt — roughly the cost of a conventional racked solar array.
Forward Labs is now taking 1,000 deposits and says that installations will start in the San Francisco Bay area early next year. The company is apparently planning much wider distribution in the future, but cautioned visitors to its website that it could not commit to fulfilling any orders beyond the immediate Bay Area in 2018.
The Forward Labs product, called Solar Roofing, looks like a direct competitor to Tesla’s Solar Roof, in which solar cells are embedded in glass-topped shingles. Tesla started taking orders for its roofing several weeks ago.
Forward Labs says that all wiring connections for the roof are made inside the attic. A roof can be composed of solar and non-solar panels, with the mix depending on the amount of electricity the homeowner wants to produce. Solar and non-solar panels look the same, with roofing available in eight colors.
Non-solar roofing — galvanized standing-seam panels — cost 8.50 per square foot. Solar portions of the roof produce 19 watts per square foot; at Forward’s list price of 3.25 per watt, that’s an installed cost of 61.75 per square foot for the solar collectors. By contrast, the estimated cost of Tesla’s active PV roofing is about 42 per square foot. (Tesla’s non-solar tiles are about 11 per square foot.) Tesla, however, has not disclosed the output of an individual tile. An analysis by PowerScout estimates that the price of energy generated by the Tesla roof is about 4.75 per watt.
With an output of 19 watts per square foot, a 5-kW Solar Roofing system from Forward Labs would require 263 square feet of solar roofing.
Forward Labs says the roofing includes a passive venting system to help cool solar cells during the summer, reducing a falloff in electrical output that comes with higher temperatures. The roofing can be installed two or three days on a roof with a minimum pitch of 1:12, according to the company.
An article posted at GTM quoted Forward Labs CEO Zach Taylor as saying that Solar Roofing components are assembled in a metal frame off site and can be installed in about half the time as a conventional solar array.
The collectors use silicon solar cells, which the company says are “in line with high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels,” GTM said.
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