Comparing a Traditional Roof to a Tesla Solar Roof: Costs, Pros, Cons
Being on the right side of innovation is always a good feeling. Just a few years after its initial release, the Tesla Solar Roof has had its ups and downs. Through various re-tooling and design changes, the tech giant is still looking to bring the roofing industry into the future.
So how does the technologically brilliant Tesla Solar Roof compare to traditional roofing systems? Let’s take a look at some of the features of this solar roof, its benefits, and its drawbacks. Then you can decide if the added cost is worth it.
What Is a Solar Roof?
Solar shingles, or tiles, are designed to protect your home the same as conventional roofing materials. They’re durable, shed water from your home, and withstand heavy rains, hail, and winds. Great news from a roofing standpoint, but solar shingles also capture the sun’s energy to help generate power for your home.
With the U.S. average of 5 sunlight hours per day, a solar roof can cut your energy costs considerably. Tesla’s Solar Roof is integrated with the Tesla app, allowing you to monitor how much energy your solar roof generates each day.
How Much Energy Can a Solar Roof Harvest?
The energy your solar roof produces depends on the solar tiles you choose and solar exposure in your area. Tesla’s current solar tiles have a maximum power output of 71.67 watts—a considerable improvement from the 2016 Tesla Solar Roof unveiling.
With the functionality of a conventional roof and the bonus of generating clean energy, a Tesla Solar Roof is a home run, right? Well, yes and no. While forward-thinking technology is what we’ve come to expect from Tesla, it is not without its drawbacks. Homeowners looking to improve their carbon footprint need to be aware of the installation and maintenance costs of Tesla’s Solar Roof.
The Price Tag of a Tesla Roof
Great technology often comes with a hefty cost, and the Tesla Solar Roof is no exception. A Tesla roof will save you money on electrical bills; that much is certain. And over time, the savings will balance the price jump compared to a traditional roof replacement.
But it still doesn’t make those initial dollar amounts look any smaller. Several factors are taken into consideration when quoting for a Tesla Solar Roof:
- The complexity of the roof (obstacles, hips, valleys, vents, etc.)
- Number of tiles with and without solar cells
- Number of stories on your home
- Roof Pitch
- Powerwall installation
Installing a Tesla Powerwall
Since the Tesla solar system is grid-connected, power outages would still impact homeowners who go without a Powerwall. Installing a Powerwall has an added cost of about 11,000.
Note that the Powerwall storage unit is optional but recommended by Tesla. It’s handy for storing extra power your solar roof produces but can’t use immediately. Ideal for cloudy weeks or emergencies.
Any way you slice it, installing a Tesla Solar Roof on the average home in America will be north of 50,000 as a baseline cost. Even with rebates, this price tag can be intimidating. Especially compared to an asphalt shingle re-roof with typical installation costs of around 10,000.
Are the Savings Worth it?
Tesla estimates an average electricity savings of around 1,800 per year with its solar roof system. Assuming a system lifespan of 30 years…it certainly adds up! Think of choosing a Tesla Solar Roof as pre-paying your electricity bill for the next third of the century.
Will you be in the same property long enough to realize the savings? The good news is that if you sell your home, a Tesla Solar Roof is an eye-catching feature to boost your listing. Solar sufficiency will add considerable resale value to your house.
The Pros of Buying From Tesla
Tax Credits Incentives
It’s not all bad news when it comes to the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof. Homeowners who install a solar roof in 2022 will receive a residential or business federal tax credit of 26%. Additional state and local incentives are available depending on your location. A comprehensive list of those incentives for choosing solar can be found here.
The Brand Name
Of course, Tesla is a firm with global renown and an enormous following. Their efforts to find technological solutions to the energy crisis have enamored millions. Having their innovative tiles decorating your roof is a show of status that will appeal to many buyers.
Imagine being able to tell your friends and neighbors that your roof is a Tesla. Maybe it’s important to you, maybe not. Either way, it’s pretty cool!
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
A solar roof that can power your home is a huge plus in a world moving towards cleaner energy production. Harnessing clean, renewable energy is one way to help combat climate change at an individual level.
Beautiful Exterior Design
he design team at Tesla should give themselves a pat on the back for their solar roof tiles. They are sleek and undeniably beautiful. It’s hard not to notice a roof with the Tesla system. Several aesthetic options are available, and they were clearly designed to stand out from traditional roofing materials.
The Cons of a Tesla Solar Roof
Up-Front Costs of Solar Roofing
Unfortunately, there’s no way to sugarcoat the size of this investment. Even with tax incentives and savings on your electricity bill, a starting price tag of 50,000 remains steep. This may deter many would-be customers from switching to the Tesla Solar Roof.
Tesla Roof Waitlist
Whether you’re looking to put a Tesla Solar Roof on your new build or replace an old roof, chances are you’re going to have to wait. If your current roof is damaged or leaking, this may not be a practical option.
Depending on the tile design you choose and your access to a certified roofing contractor, your wait time is anywhere from 1 week to 6 months. This is due to permit processing, product supply issues, and weather conditions. Wait times can be even longer for a Tesla Solar Roof in certain regions.
Tesla Solar Roof FAQs
What kind of maintenance does a Tesla Solar Roof need?
Tesla recommends routine maintenance to clear debris and clean dirt from your solar roof. This ensures your solar roofing is maximizing its harvesting potential. Inspection and maintenance from a certified roofing contractor are suggested each year.
Will a solar roof eliminate my electricity bill completely?
While a solar roof can reduce your electricity costs considerably, you’ll continue to receive a monthly bill from the man. Utilities often combine various service charges regardless of how much power you use.
How long is the warranty on a Tesla Solar Roof?
Elon designed these roofs to last! Tesla Solar Roof tiles have a 25-year power performance warranty. Additionally, their system comes with a 10-year comprehensive warranty which covers the Powerwall, solar inverter, and any issues with roof-mounting and leaks. Always read the fine print!
Solar Roofing to Suit Your Lifestyle
Not every household demands a lot of electricity, and not every homeowner will see a complete return on the initial costs of a Tesla Solar Roof. But for some families, harvesting solar energy and avoiding the electrical company is a big deal!
If your home has any of the following features, it’s likely to incentivize the decision to choose solar roofing tiles:
- Electric home heating (heat pump)
- Air conditioning
- Electric Vehicle
- Electric Water Heater
If a Tesla Solar Roof is a home improvement upgrade you’re considering, make sure to speak with an expert before making a final decision. Converting to solar roofing is a complicated process that requires professional assessment before an installation begins. It’s essential to protect the integrity of your existing roof and special concern should be given to aged roofs.
Tidewater Roofing partners with specialized solar panel installers to ensure that your Tesla Solar Roof is completed successfully without any inadvertent damage. Please contact our team for more information and recommendations.
701 Industry Drive Hampton, VA 23661
Tesla has installed very few solar roofs, despite Elon Musk’s hype
The Tesla CEO claimed a few years ago that the company would be installing 1. 000 solar roofs a week — but last year it averaged just 21 a week, a new report finds.
In 2019. Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted, “ This is the year of the solar roof.” The next year, he said the pioneering EV company would soon be installing 1. 000 integrated solar roofs tailored to the building per week.
It turns out that 2019 absolutely was not the year of the solar roof — not even close. And neither was 2020. nor any year since. This reporter estimated in 2021 that Tesla had installed fewer than 1. 000 integrated solar roofs total — an assessment bolstered by new analysis.
A report released today by energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie estimates that Tesla has installed approximately 3. 000 solar roofs in the U.S. since the launch of the product in 2016. That’s several hundred thousand roofs short of Musk’s hallucinatory forecasts.
WoodMac analysis finds that average installations per week were a scant 21 in 2022. The best quarter for Tesla solar roof installations was the first quarter of 2022. which saw an average of 32 systems deployed per week — still a far cry from 1. 000.
Get Caught Up
Other companies have a lead in building-integrated solar
Tesla’s solar roof product is what’s referred to as building-integrated photovoltaics ( BIPV ), which are solar-generation surfaces that are not mounted on a structure, but rather form the actual roof, Windows or building envelope. There are a number of experienced building-integrated photovoltaic designers and installers operating today, such as GAF Energy, CertainTeed, ArteZanos and Forward, but so far, BIPV remains a niche market for custom roof designs on expensive buildings in regions with generous solar subsidies. There is a long list of failed BIPV efforts.
Reaching the end customer with an integrated solar roof is not a technical or financial problem — it’s a channel problem. You’re looking to drive a completely new type of product through the very conservative roofing channel, and that’s a daunting marketing challenge. Traditional solar modules on racks may be less than aesthetically perfect, but rooftop solar installers have a distribution channel along with technical expertise.
That’s why GAF Energy, which had already installed several thousand integrated solar roofs as of a year ago, might have an advantage over Tesla. GAF Energy is a Standard Industries company and sister company to GAF. one of the world’s largest roofing companies. GAF Energy President Martin DeBono told Canary last year that GAF developed the product by thinking like a roofing company, not a solar company. He said the roofing industry is 20 times larger than the rooftop solar industry and has a huge advantage in scale.
We would have reached out to Tesla’s public-relations team for comment on WoodMac’s report — but Tesla does not have a public-relations team.
UPDATE : Tesla disputed the WoodMac study’s findings in a tweet, but offered no specifics.
Tesla Starts Hiring Training Roofers For Solar Roof Installation
As you may have heard, Tesla has started taking pre-orders for its brand new solar roofs. As part of this effort, they have also begun hiring roofers as they prep to start installation in the coming months.
With last year’s acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla set out to build the ultimate solar-enabled roofs. The first iteration does a novel thing: it integrates the solar panels directly into the roofing materials.
The new solar roofs come in textured, smooth, imitation slate, and imitation Tuscan terra cotta. These styles attempt to blur the lines between traditional, gaudy solar panels and standard roofs that we’ve known and loved for years.
While we have yet to see how these new roofs will stack up in real-world use compared to the time-tested materials of yesteryear, Tesla’s head Elon Musk has confirmed pricing and it falls in line with original promises.
Roofers Apply Within
Despite Tesla’s acquiring of SolarCity, which boasts thousands of installers, none or few of these installers are equipped to tackle full roof installations. That’s why Tesla is looking to fill their needs from within the roofing industry directly.
By their estimates, these solar roofs should take between 5-7 days for installation, which is pretty close to a typical new roof installation. If they can get skilled roofers to mesh with their solar installers, they’ll only be held back by how quickly they can manufacture these things.
Because pre-orders have already proven to not be a setback.
Can Roofing Companies Get In On The Action?
That’s one of the burning questions we still have about this. Of course, we work with a lot of roofers who are anxious to see how these new roofs perform and the demand for them.
Any roofer looking to stay on the cutting-edge of technology and customer demand is excited to get their hands dirty.
Unfortunately, we still don’t have any news about whether Tesla will open up their solar roofs to presently-established roofing contractors who are looking to expand their material offerings and diversify their skill set.
Traditionally Elon Musk and Tesla have taken the Apple approach to sales and have kept things in-house but depending on the number of sales they start seeing and if they can’t keep up with the demand, they might consider bringing in some skilled roofing contractor companies into the mix to help deliver their product nationwide.
But Tesla’s plans also include an upcoming worldwide launch. In fact, interested parties outside of the United States can pre-order now with the same 1,000 deposit, but will just have to wait until next year before installations begin in their neighborhoods. That’s a wide expansion, and I can only imagine Tesla will be gearing up to train traditional roofing contractors to help in the installation efforts.
It’s A Bold, Solar New Future
This exciting technology is coming closer to reality and we can’t wait to see how everything pans out and how the competition responds.
If you’re a roofer in need of work and are interested in dipping your toes in the solar industry, this is your chance.
The 3 Best Solar Roof Systems for Residents in Maryland
The best solar roof system for residents in Maryland is GAF’s Timberline Solar™ Shingles. The next best system is Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles, and the third best is traditional solar panels.
Do you want to produce solar energy on your Maryland rooftop? Keep reading because we researched and compared the best solar systems available in the state.
This article will illustrate how these three options rank when compared to one another. See our easy-to-follow decision-making.
The 3 Best Solar Roof Systems
Here’s the ranking for the best systems to add solar generation to your home’s rooftop. We will briefly describe each option and then get down to the factors influencing the ranking.
GAF’s Timberline Solar™ Shingles
These cutting-edge shingles are installed by a roofing contractor using traditional roofing equipment. The shingles blend into surrounding shingles for a low-profile design with better aesthetics than traditional solar panels.
Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles
Tesla’s solar shingles have been on the market since 2016. These sleek shingles have the advantage of seamlessly integrating solar and non-solar tiles for the most aesthetic design on the market.
Traditional Solar Panels
A variety of solar companies offer traditional solar panels. These panels are mounted onto an existing roof or structure.
Let’s look into how these systems compare to one another in the installation process.
GAF Timberline Solar™ Installation
Roofing contractors install GAF Timberline Solar™ Shingles. Using only GAF-certified roofing contractors means you can match your warranty options with the lifespan of the entire roof.
Using roofing contractors means installation costs for the whole roof will typically be lower than the other options.
Tesla Solar Tiles
Tesla Solar Tiles are installed by Tesla’s in-house crews using specialized equipment. Even though the final appearance is top-notch, installation for the tiles is usually the most expensive.
Traditional Solar Panels
To install traditional solar panels, you will need the services of a solar company. The solar company isn’t a roofing contractor. You can also install these panels on top of an existing roof.
Not redoing the roof means that short-term costs for panel installation are the lowest cost solar system.
However, any major roof repairs will require labor from two different crews in the future. You will have to hire both roofing contractors and solar crews.
Another factor in our decision was longevity. We used warranties to compare longevity.
|GAF Solar Shingles||Tesla Solar Tiles||Traditional Solar Panels|
|25 Years||25 Years||20 Years|
On the surface, these warranties all seem very similar.
In the warranty terms and conditions, we see the caveat that both Tesla and traditional solar panels share.
|GAF Solar Shingles||Tesla Solar Tiles||Traditional Solar Panels|
|50 Years Non-prorated||10 Years Non-prorated||Usually Prorated|
GAF Energy will offer the full value or replacement for the life of the warranty. The other two options will begin pro-rating the cost after a set time.
That means GAF honors the full warranty for the entire warranty period. The other solar system options will provide you with a fraction of the value based on the age of the system.
For the Tesla roof, owners get a reduction in coverage after just 10 years, less than half of the warranty span.
GAF’s Timberline Solar™ Solar Shingle
GAF’s solar shingles has the lowest solar shingle installation cost. The cost is lower because roofing contractors the solar shingles using standard equipment.
And although the overall cost of solar shingles is higher than traditional panels, the estimated price per watt is lower for solar roof options because more of the roof is utilized to produce energy.
Tesla Solar Tiles
Tesla’s solar roof is one of the most expensive options on the market when looking at the total cost. The tiles are expensive to produce and must be installed by specialized in-house crews.
However, solar roofs use more of the roof’s surface area to generate electricity, so the estimated price per watt is better than traditional solar panels.
Traditional Solar Panels
Traditional solar panels are the cheapest option for purchase and installation. In the long run, their shorter life span and limited rooftop area will reduce their output.
So even though traditional solar panels are the cheapest short-term option, they may not be the best solar option for your long-term financial goals.
Solar Roof Systems Conclusion
Whether you choose GAF Timberline Solar™ Shingles, Tesla Roof Tiles, or traditional panels, you are improving your residence!
All three options will increase home value and reduce your carbon footprint.
If you want the most accessible installation and longest warranty coverage, you’ll want to select GAF Solar Shingles and have them installed by a local Master Elite Contractor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are solar panels more expensive than a solar roof?
Solar panels are cheaper than solar roofs in terms of overall cost. However, a solar roof has a lower estimated price per watt. That is because more of the roof’s surface is used.
What are the drawbacks of solar power?
The biggest drawbacks of solar power include the waste of used solar panels and the limitations of solar. For example, the location or shape of the roof may not provide energy. Solar roofs do not generate power at night.