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Ghosted by Tesla: Customers say Tesla s ultrasleek, expensive Solar Roofs and…

Ghosted by Tesla: Customers say Tesla s ultrasleek, expensive Solar Roofs and…

    Ghosted by Tesla: Customers say Tesla’s ultrasleek, expensive Solar Roofs and panels come with nightmare customer service, often leaving them with unanswered calls and emails for months on end

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    • Tesla Energy charges customers tens of thousands of dollars for solar roofs.
    • Recently Tesla Energy jacked up on individual contracts, which shot up by as much as 75,000.
    • Insider spoke with 14 Tesla Energy Solar Roof and solar panel customers, many of whom said they were ghosted or sent in circles by customer service.

    When Matthew Amans signed a contract with Tesla Energy in June, he expected the company to install a sleek Solar Roof that would make his house in California more green.

    He didn’t expect Tesla to bump up the price from 70,000 to 145,000 before the roof was up and ignore his calls to customer service.

    Amans, a radiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, was one of many Tesla Energy customers to receive an unexpected email from the company in April jacking up the price of their contracts ahead of installation. The closest thing to an explanation came from Tesla CEO Elon Musk during the company’s first-quarter earnings call, when he said the company had made significant mistakes calculating the cost of the roofs.

    James Mauroff, of New Jersey, managed to get his Solar Roof installed ahead of the sudden mid-April price hike. But when his new roof leaked, ruining his wife’s closet, he faced what he described as nonexistent customer support.

    Getting a quote is rather efficient. From then on things rapidly progress downhill, Mauroff said.

    Insider spoke to 14 Tesla Energy customers who either have Solar Roofs or solar panels installed by Tesla. Nine of them described disappointing customer service.

    They said they were left in the dark for weeks on end, ghosted by their dedicated project advisors, or sent in dizzying circles around Tesla’s online and phone complaint systems, sometimes leading to long delays when their roofs didn’t work properly.

    Tesla did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

    Customers were told price hikes of up to 75,000 were a ‘business decision’

    To get a Solar Roof, potential customers must put down a deposit of 100. Tesla then drafts a quote based on the complexity of their roof, partly by using Google Maps and drone photography. It then asks the customer to sign off on the design, sign a contract for the project, and agree on how to pay for their roof.

    Over the weekend of April 9 to 10, Solar Roof customers who had signed contracts but not yet begun installation received alarming emails from Tesla, telling them the company had increased the price of Solar Roof and have added adjustments for individual roof complexity.

    Amans had the price of his contract raised from 71,662.06 to more than 145,000. This new price was corroborated by a screenshot Amans shared with Insider. He said he received no satisfactory explanation as to why the price had risen so dramatically but that he received a call from a Tesla representative on April 14.

    Amans said the representative apologized, and when Amans pressed on why the price had shot up just three weeks after signing his most recent contract, the rep repeated that it was a business decision, Amans said.

    Amans said that even before the price hike, communication with Tesla’s customer service was frustrating.

    When I had my site visit for example, the evaluator told me to remove some shelving from the inside of my garage for the Powerwalls, Amans said, referring to the company’s battery unit, which it now installs with every solar energy product following an April announcement.

    A week later I got an email informing me to remove a tree from outside of my garage to make room for the Powerwalls. When I asked why they were planning to put them outside, instead of inside like we had discussed, there was no answer, Amans said.

    Another customer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that between agreeing their contract in January and Tesla hiking the price in April, they’d been assigned three project managers, one of whom never replied to an email and another who regularly took a week to two weeks to reply.

    They had the price of their project raised by 30,000 — as corroborated by documents viewed by Insider — and opted to cancel the contract. The customer said they sent Tesla two emails in the week following the price hike, but received no immediate response. A week later, they received a text from a Tesla rep they’d never spoken to before.

    The text said: Please let me know if you have any further questions on your project and how you would like to proceed.

    While the customer was trying to cancel the project, contractors nearly showed up at their house to carry out some of the work for their unwanted Solar Roof. They called me the day of the work, and I told them to hold off while I worked through this issue with Tesla, the customer said.

    I’ve never, ever experienced customer service this bad, they said. The customer said they did eventually manage to find the correct link for canceling the project.

    Jay Fortin said he had the cost of his Solar Roof bumped up from 62,000 to 91,000. Before Fortin signed the contract in January, Tesla was extremely communicative and helpful, he said. They had impressed me. But then after we signed the contract — changed like overnight, he said.

    You’re out in the dark, and it’s like pulling teeth to get information, he said, giving an example of a Tesla rep who said the company couldn’t help him figure out whether the roof qualified for state incentives.

    Of four prospective Solar Roof customers who said they had been hit with price hikes, all said they were offered free Powerwall batteries — which Amans said in an email was like a 5k price cut off of the 76k price hike — if they decided to proceed with their projects.

    The offer was made through an automated note rather than a customer-service rep, the anonymous customer who had their price hiked by 30,000 said.

    Leaky roofs, wrangling with local utilities, and customer-service brick walls

    Customers who had their Solar Roofs installed ahead of the price hike have also run into problems with Tesla’s customer service.

    After signing up for a roof in October, the software engineer Vladimir Vukicevic was frequently met with weekslong radio silence from various departments at Tesla as well as his dedicated project advisor, he said. At one point, he got through to a different project advisor who told him staff were overworked, Vukicevic said.

    He had his Solar Roof was installed at the end of February. Vukicevic said the crew left some holes that he had to patch himself but that he was fairly happy with the work.

    He then spent three months trying to get Tesla to submit the correct documentation to his local utility and was unable to turn the roof on during that time, he said. Vukicevic said he would routinely email Tesla and receive no response. After contacting the utility, he was informed Tesla had filled in paperwork incorrectly, meaning he was unable to move the issue without Tesla’s help.

    It’s extremely frustrating. These are simple things, mistakes made out of carelessness or overwork. I can understand those, but the lack of any communication is infuriating for a 60,000 product, Vukicevic said.

    The issue was eventually resolved, he said.

    Similarly, a customer who asked to be identified only as Harry said his installation went well but that Tesla failed to complete the administrative steps to get the system up and running.

    Mauroff, the computer scientist living in New Jersey, had a Tesla Solar Roof installed in October, but work was ongoing for months because the roof developed multiple leaks after installation, he said. Mauroff is in negotiations with Tesla over whether he or the company should pay 2,000 to repair his house’s gutters, which he said were damaged during the installation.

    Mauroff found it extremely difficult to get Tesla representatives to respond to his messages, he said. At one point he resorted to finding an email alias for CEO Elon Musk, though he got no response, he said.

    On May 5, Tesla sent an employee from its local Solar Roof installation office to visit Mauroff, he said.

    He did not know why he was sent — only that his boss was told by someone in corporate to find out what’s going on. The local installation office had no idea there were any issues, Mauroff said. The employee wasn’t able to help, though he said he would try to chase a previous complaint of Mauroff’s about damage to his house, Mauroff said.

    Mauroff said, based on his interactions with the company, he thinks the problem is a lack of communication. They haven’t integrated their salesforce with their operations people, with any post-sales people, Mauroff said. He and Tesla still haven’t agreed on payment for the gutters, and Mauroff has filed complaints to both the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Better Business Bureau.

    Phillip Anderson looked into getting a Solar Roof but eventually decided against it. Anderson said he got very little response from his assigned representative when he tried to push back on the design Tesla had submitted for approval. I was pretty upset after I saw the system they put together only provided 21% energy offset while a typical solar-panel system provides 75%-80% energy offset, he said.

    Anderson asked for a consultation to discuss why the offset was so much lower than expected but received only generic emails in response asking him to approve the design, he said. It was only after he publicly complained on that a Tesla representative called him to apologize and address his concerns, he said.

    It’s unclear to what degree Tesla keeps an eye on social media for unhappy customers, but in January it advertised a job for a Sales and Customer Support role in Tesla Energy with a description that said candidates would have to address social media escalations directed at the CEO with critical thinking.

    In the end, Anderson did not sign off on a Solar Roof, as the most Tesla could promise was a 27% energy offset.

    While Insider spoke to many customers infuriated by Tesla Energy’s customer service, their experience wasn’t universal.

    For example, Lawrence Husick, an intellectual-property lawyer based in Pennsylvania, had a Solar Roof installed in January after signing a contract with Tesla in August. He said he found customer service to be of the highest quality, describing staff as highly responsive and dedicated.

    Longtime customers said there’s been a notable dip in customer service since Tesla acquired its energy division from SolarCity

    Tesla’s solar-energy division was created in 2016 when the company acquired a solar-panel company called SolarCity — headed up by Elon Musk’s cousin Lyndon Rive — for 2.6 billion.

    It inherited customers who already had solar panels put up by SolarCity, some of whom told Insider that customer care has since deteriorated.

    One SolarCity customer, who asked to remain anonymous, said they’d noticed a significant drop in customer service and tech support since the acquisition.

    Prior to the acquisition by Tesla, should I have a need to contact them with a question or concern, which was rarely, I was able to reach them quickly via phone, they said. They added that in the few instances where there was a problem, SolarCity got in touch within 48 hours.

    Once Tesla acquired SC in 2016, the service change was noticeable almost immediately. Their billing system seemed unprepared for the transition, and errors began to appear in bills. I had to contact them more frequently, but they did not seem to have adequate personnel, and it took longer to get responses, they said.

    A 2016 regulatory filing showed SolarCity cut down on staff to reduce costs ahead of the acquisition.

    Technical problems started to fly under the radar, they said. SolarCity had actively notified them when there was a problem — but once Tesla took over, system outages went unnoticed until the customer used their web app, they said.

    Rowland Mayor, who had SolarCity panels installed in 2015, also said that SolarCity had been proactive about malfunctions. For instance, one time when our dog went behind the couch to get her toy and unplugged the module that sent data about the production to them. They called after less than 24 hours of losing the signal, he said.

    This February, however, he logged on to the Tesla app and discovered the panels were showing no production. He called Tesla Energy’s scheduling line 20 times in a month to arrange for someone to come out and fix his system, he said. In May, Mayor finally got through to a representative who told him the company would send someone out to service the panels in June. According to Mayor, the rep said the company had recently hired a large contingent to improve its customer service.

    Doug Ball, 68, had his system installed in 2014 on his home in Arizona. He said he’d never run into any problems with Tesla’s customer service but that after Tesla acquired SolarCity, it got rid of a useful feature that let customers see historical energy usage.

    You could get your usage data by day, month, year, lifetime. It was great for monitoring the performance of the system. Now all you can get on a phone app, not on the website, is an hourly generation for a single day. You can change the day, but that’s it. No way to get a yearly summary, at least not from Tesla, he said.

    Cathy Pelletier, in Maryland, who bought solar panels from SolarCity in 2014, said her only interaction with Tesla’s customer service for technical problems was in 2019 — and it was outstanding. But last summer, she said, she got into a game of telephone tag after querying why her credit check unexpectedly contained a loan of more than 10,000.

    Multiple SolarCity customers said they saw sudden loans appear on their credit checks. At least three customers have filed lawsuits against Tesla, saying the loans tanked their credit ratings.

    Insider also spoke with a homeowner who had inherited SolarCity panels when they bought a new house, meaning they had to agree to take on the lease for a solar system installed by the previous owner. The homeowner asked to remain anonymous.

    Originally the customer had inquired about selling the panels back to Tesla, rather than assuming the lease.

    Tesla Energy refused to give me a quote and said there was only a two- to three-month window each year during which they would offer an appraisal and possible sale. I couldn’t wait months to close on the house, so I had to assume the loan or lose the property, they said.

    The homeowner then tried to contact Tesla about setting up a Tesla Energy account and getting a technician out to repair a part of the system that appeared to be broken.

    I sent more than a dozen emails and made dozens of calls, often waiting on hold for hours. Many times I would wait on hold for hours only to get disconnected, they said. The problem was eventually resolved, but it took six months for Tesla to respond and to send the homeowner their first bill, they said.

    With April’s price hikes, Tesla Energy is under more public scrutiny than it’s ever been. Amans filed a class-action lawsuit against the company on May 14, saying the Solar Roof price hike was a textbook bait-and-switch scheme. The suit accused the company of using the price hike to plug holes in profit losses from the SolarCity acquisition.

    ghosted, tesla, customers, ultrasleek, expensive, solar

    The lawsuit aims to force Tesla to honor its original contract with Amans, along with any other stakeholders who might join the class.

    Christopher Dore of Edelson PC, the law firm representing Amans in the suit, said that so far more than three dozen plaintiffs have joined.

    Do you work at Tesla Energy? Want to talk? Contact this reporter at ihamilton@insider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com using a non-work email address.

    JB Straubel Clarifies Tesla Position On Solar Roof, Powerwall. Expect Big Things — Next Year

    CleanTechnica contributor Kyle Field is building a new home in California. Kyle is a Tesla kinda guy. He is currently waiting for his Model 3 to arrive (today!) and really wants a Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall to be part of his new house. Kyle says he contacted Tesla in April and was told — in so many words — “Yeah, we’ll get back to you on that but don’t hold your breath.” Since then? Nothing.

    Kyle’s experience is not unique. Just this week, USA Today ruffled a few feathers when it reported on Tesla’s solar business, which is off about 50% from a year ago. “March into a Tesla store and show interest in a 6,000 Powerwall, and you’ll be told the wait is six to nine months. Ask about the upmarket Solar Roof, and you’ll come away with a price estimate and a possible installation date of 2019 or beyond,” it said.

    Tesla And Solar

    In typical Muskian fashion, Elon held a splashy reveal ceremony for the Solar Roof in 2016. In May of 2017, Tesla announced it was ready to accept orders for the Solar Roof. In June, it claimed it was optimizing the tiles for Rapid installation. In September, it announced that production of the tiles had begun at Gigafactory 2 in New York. The company made a big deal about putting kiosks in 800 Home Depot stores to attract interest from customers. USA Today says that deal has now been cancelled and those kiosks will disappear by the end of this year.

    Tesla has all but closed down the marketing of rooftop solar systems — once the lifeblood of SolarCity. Where once it controlled a third of the market, it is now trailing SunRun and Vivint Solar, with a market share of just 16%. SolarCity was a pioneer of the no-money-down leasing model for rooftop solar at a time when getting a loan from the bank for a rooftop solar system was difficult and uncommon. As rooftop solar came down and banks got more comfortable with the technology, the need for leasing — which often costs more in the end — faded.

    Tesla has virtually shut down all leasing programs and switched to a new business model that focuses on conventional financing. Leasing means waiting years to get paid. Financing brings cash in the door as soon as the deal closes. And that may be the key to what’s really behind the “missing in action” status of Tesla’s solar products today. It is more financially sensible for SolarCity, but means a slowdown in its business.

    Cash Crunch

    Elon might deny it even if you forced him to ride for a week in a diesel-powered Smart car with the Windows up and no air conditioning, but Tesla may be teetering on the brink of extinction unless it can bring some money in the door soon. Its Rapid growth and production ramp has been using cash like liquid oxygen in a Falcon 9 rocket at launch time. Its credit rating has been lowered. The short-seller sharks are circling. Some on and off of Wall Street are nervous.

    Musk has promised the company does not need to raise more cash in commercial markets and will be profitable by the end of this year. And the key place that money is going to come from is sales of the Model 3. That’s where the company’s FOCUS is at the moment and where it will stay, apparently, until the cash crunch is over. An analysis by The Motley Fool suggests as much. It refers to a statement made by Tesla in its first quarter letter to shareholders earlier this year: “Rather than prioritizing the growth of MW of solar deployed at any cost, we are selectively deploying projects that have higher margin and generate cash up front. This will improve the business unit’s cash generation.”

    Hype And Wait?

    JB Straubel told USA Today this week that big things are coming for Tesla’s solar and residential energy storage products. The company is taking all those sales consultants that were going to be on duty at Home Depot kiosks and transferring them to Tesla stores, where new displays are being installed. “No one should see us as stepping back from solar. In fact, it’s the opposite,” he said. “It’s like with Model 3. People have come flooding in and are waiting on the product. So now we’re aggressively ramping our capacity.” The company simply can’t keep up with demand.

    Some may see this as the same old story from Tesla — over-promise and under-deliver. Many of the people who stood in the rain for hours to reserve a Model 3 in 2016 may not actually get to drive their cars until 2019. Customers for the Solar Roof and Powerwall may have to wait two years or more to get the products Musk promised with such fanfare. It’s not bait and switch, exactly. Musk and Tesla get there eventually. But the constant “hype and wait” paradigm is beginning to wear a bit thin. We have seen it with the Model X. We have seen it with the Model 3. And now we are seeing it again with the Solar Roof. It’s as if no one ever read the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf to Elon as a child.

    Elon Musk is a complicated person. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is constantly jumping in to help out where he can, whether it’s people in Puerto Rico who have seen their lives flattened by a hurricane, trapped children in Thailand, or people drinking poisonous water in Flint, Michigan. But his antics have a tinge of PT Barnum about them. One gets the impression he is peddling furiously to keep the Tesla balloon aloft with “burst weeks” at the Fremont factory and other Herculean efforts beyond the capability of mere mortals. Many would just like to see him tweet less and produce more.

    Big Things Are Coming

    Has Tesla ceded leadership in residential solar to others? “The market size isn’t an issue for Tesla. They just need to manufacture product to a level of quality that people demand,” Mark Osborne, editor of PV Tech tells USA Today. “If they can do that, the opportunity for Tesla long term is fine.”

    Straubel adds, “We’re focused intently on the customer experience, not on having a higher market share. We’re looking at the bigger picture.”

    And the bigger picture is very encouraging indeed. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) estimates the number of US single-family homes with solar systems will hit 2 million by the end of this year. Within 5 years, that number is expected to grow to 4 million. “Across the country, solar really still is in its infancy,” SEIA spokesman Dan Whitten says.

    Anne Hoskins, chief policy officer for Sunrun, adds, “We opened up in Illinois and they’re clamoring for the service for reasons such as wanting clean energy and energy independence. We’re just at the beginning. A growing number of people want control over their electric bill.” In a recent poll by Morning Consult, 58% of respondents said they are thinking about adding solar to their homes and nearly two thirds said they approve of California’s newly announced policies requiring all new homes to have solar installations.

    Just as many car shoppers are content to wait for their Model 3 to get built, home solar customers want the Tesla product or nothing. John Weaver, a solar energy contractor in New Bedford, Massachusetts, tells USA Today, “The feeling is if you want the hottest and latest stuff, you have to go with Elon. The hope is still that he’ll deliver all of this at a price that works for the masses.”

    JB Straubel takes the “Don’t worry. Be happy” approach. “We’re not worried,” he says. “The growth ahead will be enormous.”

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    Louisiana’s first Tesla Solar Roof installed

    Solar Alternatives announced the installation of a 17kW Tesla Solar Roof system with two Powerwall batteries, a first for the state. Interest in distributed solar and battery energy storage are being onset by climate-driven extreme weather.

    A rendition of the Tesla Solar Roof.

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    The first Tesla Solar Roof installed in Louisiana is complete, announced installer Solar Alternatives. The product exchanges a traditional solar module configuration for buildings-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), devices that blend their visual aesthetics with existing structures.

    The project is expected to save the McRae family nearly 70,000 in energy costs and offset 350 tons of emissions over its 30-year warrantied lifetime. The roof is comprised of 291 Tesla SR60T1 solar modules with a total capacity of 17.46kW, and two Tesla PowerWall home batteries are attached. Aerial imagery and 3D modeling is used to fit the designs to the roof’s layout.

    The system can be controlled with remote mobile monitoring. The Tesla Solar Inverter, which comes in 3.8 kW and 7.6 kW designs, hosts built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and cellular connectivity for updates through the Tesla app.

    Gulf Coast region-serving Solar Alternatives is an engineering, consultation, and construction services firm with commercial, industrial, utility, and residential clients.

    The McRae family’s solar journey began with a 3.5kW system with Solar Alternatives to meet the demand for their electric vehicle. Now, the system is expected to supply enough power for their entire home, while also exporting excess energy to the grid during times of high energy demand for net metering credits.

    An effort for energy independence

    The PowerWall batteries provide backup power in the case of a grid outage. Late last summer, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, knocking out power for up to 1.2 million electricity customers. Investor-owned utility Entergy estimates the hurricane damaged 30,000 utility poles, nearly double that of Hurricane Katrina (17,000). As more climate-onset extreme weather is expected for the region, many families are looking to incorporate home energy storage for resilience.

    In his recent popular book about grid modernization, Freeing Energy, venture capitalist Bill Nussey said he sees billion-dollar opportunities for distributed solar and energy storage innovators. Nussey’s vision of an evolved grid features projects like the McRae family’s solar array, which feature local energy production and storage.

    Nussey said an aging grid and lower-cost alternatives to large scale transmission would make “local energy” the best way to provide most residential and commercial energy for the 70% of Americans who live in suburbs and rural areas. Nussey outlines 18 benefits localized solar provides, including grid benefits, reliability and resiliency, and ratepayer energy bill savings. Another benefit is a reduction of 1400 to 2100 pounds of carbon dioxide per month for a typical home’s rooftop solar system. If coal power is displaced, that rooftop system also prevents the creation of 185 pounds of coal ash per month, said Nussey.

    This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.

    Ryan Kennedy

    Ryan joined pv magazine in 2021, bringing experience from a top residential solar installer, and a U. S.

    Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels: Differences and Cost Guide

    Ready for a quote on solar installation? Connect with a local expert near you.

    Sarah Horvath is a senior-level home service review professional with more than 10 years of experience in the homeownership industry. You can find her writing on sites like Robinhood, MoneyLion, Benzinga, Forbes Advisor, and more. When she’s not busy writing, Sarah enjoys spending time in her home in Orlando with her fiance and her parrot.

    Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

    Today’s Homeowner exists to help you maintain or improve your home safely and effectively. We uphold strict editorial standards and carefully vet the advice and resources referenced in our articles. Click below to learn more about our review process and how we earn money.

    Although the Tesla Solar Roof and standard solar panels might seem to be the same (they both use the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity for your home or business), the materials, methodology, construction, and costs can vary greatly between the two. If you’re thinking about adding solar panels to your home to improve its value or lower your energy bills, you might not be sure what advantages come with Tesla’s signature solar roof. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Tesla Solar Roof and how it might fit with your current home’s infrastructure.

    What is the Tesla Solar Roof?

    According to Tesla, the Tesla Solar Roof System is “a fully integrated solar and energy storage system” for your home. This means that the system is not a structure or machinery that is simply tacked onto your home or placed in the backyard. It is part of your home, and it has energy inverters so that your home is always supplied with the right amount of energy. It can also store energy it absorbs from the sun in what’s called a Powerwall that you can bundle with the Solar Roof System.

    The Powerwall ensures that you always have power, like a backup generator and battery combined. Even if it’s cloudy or storming, nighttime, or there’s a power outage, the Powerwall makes sure your home has uninterrupted power supplied to your home.

    This system is an entirely new roof. Not only does Tesla install the components of its solar roof system — these are actual tiles and shingles, so your entire roof is effectively being replaced. If you don’t need a roof replacement any time soon, it’s advisable that you wait to replace your existing roof with the Tesla system until you do need a new roof.

    Tesla Solar Roof and Solar Panels Differences

    Like we’ve mentioned before, both the Tesla Solar Roof and traditional Tesla solar panels use solar energy to power your home; however, the execution is different, they’re different in appearance and materials, design, cost, and efficiency. The incentives of going solar look different when comparing these two methodologies of solar power as well.

    Design Technology

    Tesla came up with its solar roof tiles in 2005, whereas the technology for photovoltaic panels and cells has existed since 1881, although those designs were extremely inefficient. The modern design for solar cells was patented in 1941.

    Solar Tiles vs Solar Panels

    Tesla’s solar tiles are exactly what they sound like — these are solar shingles and roofing material, together. The solar cells on the shingles/tiles are steel roofing tiles and glass solar tiles. The glass components are the ones which contain the solar cells, the smallest piece of a photovoltaic (getting energy from the sun) device. The steel roofing components provide strength and lend long, all-weather durability to the entire roofing system. Unlike solar panels, this system is a photovoltaic roof rather than external machinery installed on top of your existing roof. Solar panels are rectangular sheets made up of photovoltaic cells, and these provide direct current electricity to your home or business. Like the Tesla Solar Roof, energy collected by solar panels also travels through an inverter and into a battery. This is an essential part of both of these systems — it’s necessary to prevent power surges and to provide consistent rather than fluctuating energy levels to your solar-powered building. Solar panels are made of glass with aluminum or steel frames, and they are entirely separate from your roof or other structures. You can mount them on top of your roof or in your yard.

    Power Output Efficiency

    The power output of Tesla Solar roof shingles has been measured at 71.67 watts. This is an average of three times less power produced than that of traditional solar panels (anywhere from 170 to 350 watts). This is a glaringly huge difference in power output; however, the surface area that the Tesla Solar Roof System covers might be enough to make up for the much lower power output than solar panels, since you may not be able to have as much surface area in solar panels on your property as you would on your entire roof. When it comes to efficiency, what does that mean? Essentially, energy efficiency is measured by how much energy something uses to complete a certain task — the more energy efficient something is, the less energy it uses to complete that task. The average energy efficiency of a conventional solar panel system is 19-25%, while that of the Tesla Solar Roof System comes in at 17-20% energy efficiency. This is not too huge of a difference until you consider the Tesla Solar Roof cost, which we will discuss below.

    Aesthetics

    There is no question that the Tesla Solar Roof is one of the most gorgeous solar energy systems available today. The design integrates a traditional roof with solar panel installation to create a design like no other. It is neither one and both of them at the same time, all while fitting with your home’s design and theme. You have the opportunity to install a new roof for your home that is both stylish and functional. Whereas solar paneling is obvious no matter where you put it, Tesla wins in the aesthetics department by a long shot.

    Repairs Durability

    Most solar panels are rated for thirty years because they’re made of durable materials, and they also don’t go anywhere. There aren’t any moving pieces that are part of solar panel installation. Tesla Solar Roof Systems have a 25-year warranty alone; we don’t know yet how long they will last because they haven’t been around that long yet. The warranty just means that they are guaranteed to last that long and if they get damaged, Tesla technicians will come out to fix your roof tiles. It’s yet to be determined how long the roof tiles will last, but they should last at least as long as traditional solar panels. Tesla Solar Roof tiles have gone through a thorough battery of testing. Solar panels are also durable, and because the panels are made up of different pieces, if one cracks or breaks, the whole thing isn’t necessarily rendered out of commission. The solar glass can be easily replaced so that the whole thing is functional once again. Steel and aluminum are easy metals to work with, so repairs on the frame are straightforward as well. One thing to keep in mind when considering the Tesla Solar Roof System over installing traditional solar panels is that the number of qualified solar panel repair specialists is much higher than that of Tesla Solar Roof System repair specialists. We will go into this further in the Availability section.

    Home Requirements

    Tesla says on its website that it takes into consideration the number of planes a roof has, the pitch of the roof, and any obstructions (skylights, chimneys, etc.) on the roof to determine how to install your Solar Roof System. There do not appear to be any standard exceptions; if Tesla determines a solar roof cannot be installed on your home, it is rare and a case-by-case occurrence. We’ve mentioned above that if you have just replaced your roof or you are not in need of a new roof soon, then the Tesla system may not be the right choice for you. However, if you’re looking to get a roof replacement as well as a clean energy upgrade, then this could be the option for you. When considering all solar options for your home, you do need to be aware of any rules and regulations your HOA may have on the subject before any of the actual installation begins. This goes for the Tesla tiles, which can take a week or two to install, or solar panels on your roof. Regarding the installation of solar panels, you should be mindful of the age and condition of your roof. If the installation professionals deem your roof too weak for installation, you’ll need to repair or entirely replace your roof before moving further. Especially when considering installing traditional solar panels, pay special attention to the presence of shade trees on your property. These could affect the amount of solar energy your panels can absorb and you may need to trim some branches back. If you’re moving into a new home, observe the way the sun hits the home at different points of the day. If the home spends most of the day in the shade, you may need to consider other homes or other options for renewable energy sources.

    Cost Pricing

    If you’re like most homeowners, you’re probably thinking about investing in a solar panel system to make your home more efficient. While solar panels can produce 250 to 400 watts of energy for your home each hour, they are costly to install. This is true whether you’re looking at Tesla Solar Roof tiles or more traditional solar companies.

    Cost per Square Foot

    The Tesla Solar Roof tiles cost 21.50 per square foot. Typical solar panels cost between 4 and 10 per square foot, so upfront, whether they’re on the lower end of the price range or the higher end, traditional solar panels are more affordable.

    Cost per Square Meter

    Per square meter, the Tesla Solar Roof System costs, at the lower estimate, about 175. It can go up to as high as 300 per square meter. Solar panels cost between 40 and 110 per square meter.

    Warranty

    Tesla is very upfront about its Solar Roof tiles having a 25-year warranty. Included in this warranty are three separate facets: product, weatherization, and module. The product warranty guarantees your Tesla Solar Roof is free from defects for 25 years. Should something happen to the tiles, regarding either the electric system or the steel construction, repairs are included in this warranty. The weatherization warranty states that the roof shall withstand all manner of weather conditions and seasonal changes for 25 years. Finally, the product warranty states that the peak operation levels for the system will remain at 95% productivity or higher for the first five years after installation. After five years, Tesla states that under the product warranty, the power output capacity will decrease by no more than half a percent each year for the next twenty years. Because solar companies acquire their parts for solar panels from different manufacturers and suppliers and then assemble them themselves, the warranties can vary because each component may have a different warranty. However, each part is guaranteed for at least a decade, and some go up to 25 years. You’ll have to reach out about the warranty directly to the solar company you’re interested in connecting with.

    Incentives

    For solar energy systems installed between 2020 and 2022, Congress has passed a federal tax credit of 26%. This means that you can claim 26% of the cost of your solar energy system on your income tax so that it is reduced for that year by 26%. For systems installed in 2023, the tax credit amount is 22% of the cost of the system installation. These incentives end in 2024 unless Congress votes to renew the tax credit on solar energy system installation. Net metering is another type of incentive solar energy users can expect to see. This is when power companies credit solar energy system owners (so you must own the system — you do not receive this incentive if you’re leasing the solar energy system) for energy that they contribute to the power grid. For example, if your household uses less energy than it generated for the month, then the difference is credited to you by the power company you’re connected to. This saves you money on your electric bill and allows you to contribute to energy storage that you can access the next month.

    Availability

    As Tesla finds its rhythm in manufacturing and installing its Solar Roof Systems, the systems have become more widely available across the U.S. and they’ve even branched out into Canada, which wasn’t the case just a few years ago. However, due to the complexity of the materials used and their assembly, Tesla has had to pause production in the past, leaving some customers without roofs for a considerable amount of time. The Solar Roof System is becoming more and more available as a solar energy choice, but the materials are intrinsically rarer than traditional solar panels. As for conventional solar panels that we’re all familiar with, they’re available everywhere. Solar companies exist all over the United States, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can simply order the panels and install them yourself (although any potential warranty you could have doesn’t apply if you choose that option). They’re available all over the place.

    Disadvantages of Tesla Solar Roof Over Solar Panels

    What is the Difference Between a Solar Roof and Solar Panels?

    Still not sure if a solar roof is right for you? Here are a few of the major ways that Tesla’s new product sets itself apart from competitors.

    • Integration: Solar panels sit on top of your roof, either on one plane or several. Many solar panel users install them on the plane of the roof that receives the most prolonged sunlight throughout the day. Tesla Solar Roofs are, well, a roof. They are an integrated system which has photovoltaic cells within steel roof shingles.
    • Total cost: Tesla Solar Roof Systems can cost two to three (or maybe more) times more than a solar panel system. However, in both cases, you can save on your energy bill over time because of net metering which occurs when you use solar energy as your primary energy source.
    • Location: The Tesla Solar Roof is just that — a roof. The roofing and energy system are intrinsically connected. Some people would rather not have solar panels on their roof — solar panels can be installed anywhere on your property. This is especially effective if you have acres of land you can place them on.
    • Powerwall: Tesla’s Powerwall is much more effective at storing and dispensing energy than systems available for traditional solar panels. This is an option you have when installing your Tesla system that includes this advanced solar battery that always ensures you have energy, rain or shine, power outage or no.

    Tesla Solar Roof FAQs

    Do you have to install a Tesla Powerwall with the Solar Roof?

    No, this is optional. It is available with all Tesla Solar products, including the Solar Roof. However, installation costs plus the cost of the Powerwall itself is around 13,000, so if you have the money to spend, it can be a great investment. If not, no worries — it’s not obligatory.

    Is a Tesla Solar Roof cheaper than a normal roof?

    The average cost in the US that people spend to replace their roofs is 8,000. Installation costs for the Tesla Solar Roof range from 35,000 all the way up to 70,000 or more, so they’re definitely not cheaper than a normal roof.

    Is Tesla solar better than regular solar?

    The Tesla Solar Roof covers more surface area than traditional solar panels. One reason for this is because your entire roof is fitted with photovoltaic tiles and hardware so that the largest surface area possible is able to absorb sunlight and provide your home with solar energy. Traditional solar panels are limited in their shape and placement, and you may not be able to have as much surface area covered by solar panels as you would if your whole roof were covered with the Tesla Solar Roof. Most homeowners think that Tesla Solar Roof tiles are much more aesthetically pleasing than regular solar panels. However, there is the question of energy efficiency. Solar panels are still 20-30% more efficient than Tesla’s solar tiles.

    As for whether Tesla solar panels or regular solar panels are better is simply a matter of personal preference. After purchasing the failing solar company SolarCity from his cousins in 2016, Elon Musk changed the name to Tesla Solar, and its panels are comparable to any other solar company’s panels, although they are more durable and cheaper in some areas than competitors’ options.

    How long does the Tesla Solar Roof last?

    It’s currently unclear how long it’s possible for the Tesla Solar Roof to last because the first ones were implemented only 17 years ago. The warranty is guaranteed for 25 years, but its durability and quality craftsmanship should ensure that the Tesla Solar Roof lasts for many decades to come, much longer than a normal roof, which lasts from 10 to 15 years.

    Today’s Homeowner’s Solar Companies Rating Methodology

    At Today’s Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each solar energy company/service according to our methodology.

    Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each solar energy company’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the solar energy companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

    We developed a formula to objectively determine the best solar energy companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

    Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each solar energy company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.

    Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at whether the company manufactures its own solar panels, whether it contracts out installation, and what additional products each company offers.

    Trust (10): What do customers say after their solar panels are installed? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.

    (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same solar energy services.

    Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as financial incentives, rebates, or a useful mobile app? We looked for extras each company offers that set them apart from the competition.

    Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.

    Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

    Sarah Horvath is a senior-level home service review professional with more than 10 years of experience in the homeownership industry. You can find her writing on sites like Robinhood, MoneyLion, Benzinga, Forbes Advisor, and more. When she’s not busy writing, Sarah enjoys spending time in her home in Orlando with her fiance and her parrot.

    Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

    Tesla Solar Roof

    In 2020, Weddle Sons became the nation’s first Certified Tesla Solar Roof Installers. The certified installer program is offered by Tesla to help third-party companies to effectively install solar roofs. Since then, we have continued to collaborate with Tesla, providing hands-on information and techniques that allow Tesla to further streamline their installer program.

    You won’t find a roofing company more qualified to install Tesla Solar Roof than Weddle Sons.

    Contact us today so we can tell you how we can leverage our expertise to provide a world-class installation of a cutting-edge product.

    Why Tesla Solar Roof?

    Tesla Solar Roof is a premium roofing product as well as an incredible solar product. It’s extremely durable and provides an appealing and sleek aesthetic. Solar Roof works together with other Tesla products, like the Powerwall, to create energy independence, to offset your carbon footprint, and to give your home an amazing, modern style.

    If you’re interested in a solar product, either Solar Roof or traditional solar panels, our experts can help determine the right choice for you!

    How To Buy A Tesla Solar Roof

    Step 1: Estimate Tool

    Request a free estimate for the price of a Solar Roof on your home. One of our Sales Representatives will review your submission to ensure your estimate accurately reflects your project.

    Step 2: Video Call

    After you submit your project details you will receive an invitation to a video call with a sales representative to discuss your solar roof project. In this video call, our sales representative will walk you through the initial designs and arriving at an initial estimated install price.

    Step 3: Design

    Based on the initial estimate, if you decide Solar Roof could be right for your home, you can move into the formal design phase. In this phase we work with you to more thoroughly evaluate your solar energy goals, project requirements, and production potential for different solar roof configurations.

    Step 4: Order Install

    Before the final installation, we prepare all the necessary permitting and documents to make sure your home, city, and electric company are ready for your Solar Roof.

    Kevin

    Tesla Solar Roof FAQs

    How long is the wait for Tesla Solar Roofs?

    Our wait times to begin installing Tesla Solar Roofs are 2-3 months, depending on the project. Smaller, simpler projects may begin more quickly, while larger, more complex projects may take longer to begin. We encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so we can schedule your project and get to work!

    Can a Tesla Roof power a house?

    Tesla Solar Roof can easily power most homes. Weddle Sons will consider several factors to make sure that your solar roof can provide adequate power to your home. Many of those factors include: Kilowatt Production We’ll make sure that your solar roof is capable of the kilowatt production (or electricity generation) your home needs. For large homes that have several power hungry appliances, like hot tubs and large HVAC systems, your kilowatt needs will be larger. Smaller homes with fewer appliances will need less kilowatt production. Weddle Sons will perform an energy audit during the design phase of your Solar Roof, so we’ll know exactly how much kilowatt production your home will need. Roof Design Not all roofs are capable of the same solar capture. Complicated roofs may need more photovoltaic tiles capable of solar capture compared to simple, flat roofs. Our design experts will make sure we know how many photovoltaic tiles are needed, and even if your roof design works with Solar Roof. Energy Independence Many of our solar product customers want to be as independent from the electric grid as possible. While not all municipalities allow for true independence, we’ll make sure you maximize your solar capture and energy production. Our design experts may recommend Powerwall, a home battery, to store excess electric production for when solar capture is low, like at night.

    Does Tesla Solar Roof increase home value?

    • Carbon footprint reduction
    • Energy Independence
    • Selling energy to the grid (depending on where you live)

    Tesla Solar Roof also offers unique benefits not found with other solar products, like:

    • A sleek, modern aesthetic
    • A premium, durable roof
    • Compatibility with products like Powerwall to aid in energy independence

    Getting a Tesla Solar Roof is a great investment into your home. Not only will you get a cutting-edge solar product, you’re also receiving a premium roof.

    Can you go off-grid with a Powerwall and Tesla Solar Roof?

    It is possible to go off-grid with a Powerwall and a Tesla Solar Roof, but going off-grid requires more than just having these two products. If you want to be completely off-grid, you’ll need to have all of the following:

    Sufficient Kilowatt Production (or Solar Capture)

    If your roof isn’t capable of capturing enough sunlight for your electric needs, then you won’t be able to go off-grid. Weddle Sons will perform an energy audit of how much energy you currently use. Depending on the layout of your roof, it may not be possible to be completely off-grid, though our technicians will be able to determine this during your free consultation.

    Living in a Municipality or Having a Utility That Allows You to Be Off-Grid

    Unfortunately, even if you have the hardware and kilowatt production required to be off-grid, sometimes it’s simply not allowed. Local municipalities and utility companies often require you to be connected to the energy grid. Some will even cap how many kilowatts your roof is allowed to produce.

    If you aren’t sure whether you’re allowed to go off-grid, our Certified Installers will let you know about energy regulations specific to your location and electric utility.

    Do I get a tax credit with Tesla Solar Roof?

    In 2022, your Tesla Solar Roof will be eligible for a tax credit equal to 26% of the total cost of the project. This includes the material costs and the installation costs. We guarantee we’ll get you the best tax credit available for your solar project.

    How much energy can Tesla Solar Roof generate?

    A Tesla Solar Roof can generate an enormous range of energy, starting from very low production for small homes to large production for larger homes or businesses. The lowest kilowatt roof we have installed was a 4KW roof, while the highest we have installed is a 51KW roof. Those aren’t lower and upper limits, it’s just the range of what our customers have needed!

    How much kilowatts your Solar Roof can produce is largely based on the photovoltaic tiles (or PV tiles) used to build your roof. Each tile produces 72W of energy, but your roof will also have basic tempered glass tiles that can’t produce energy. Our Solar Roof experts will determine how many PV tiles are needed to satisfy your energy needs.

    Remember, sometimes local regulations will limit how many kilowatts your roof can produce, so it’s possible you won’t have enough PV tiles to meet all of your energy needs and truly go off-grid. We’ll let you know about the specific regulations in your area and how much kilowatts your roof will be allowed to produce.

    Does Tesla Solar price include installation?

    When you receive a price quote from us, it will include both materials and installation costs. You won’t need to worry about surprise fees or expenses. Remember, the 26% tax credit you’ll receive on your Solar Roof includes material and installation costs.

    How long does it take to install a Tesla Solar Roof?

    • The size of your roof. Larger roofs take more time.
    • The design of your roof. Steep and/or complex roof designs will take longer to install.
    • Required permits. The more permits that are required to be able to begin construction, the longer the overall install time will take.
    • Weather. Severe weather (like ice, snow, and thunderstorms) will delay installation times.

    Finally, the local utility may delay when you can begin using your Solar Roof. Even after installation is complete, the utility will need to take action to formally connect it to the grid, when required. We’ll give you a rough estimate of how long it will take, depending on your location.

    What is the difference between Solar Roof and traditional solar panels?

    Traditional solar panels are fixtures that are installed on your roof. Their kilowatt production is comparable to Solar Roof, and sometimes they are a better choice for roofs that have a design that just doesn’t work for the PV tiles used in Solar Roof installations. Like Solar Roof, traditional panels reduce your carbon footprint and are a step towards energy independence.

    Solar Roof, on the other hand, is the roof. The PV tiles and non-functional tempered glass tiles replace the shingles used in traditional roofs. They are extremely durable, and also create a sleek aesthetic that makes your roof look amazing. Solar Roof is also designed to easily work with products like Powerwall, a Tesla-branded battery that stores excess electricity.

    Our solar product experts will help you to determine which solar product is right for your home or for your energy needs.

    How much electricity can this produce?

    Solar energy systems are rated based on kilowatts (kW) of DC power and a Solar Roof system could be designed at almost any level, but generally we see 8-15 kW as a typical range. We have projects planned that will be as high as 50kW. Actual annual production of kilowatt hours (kWh) AC power is dependent on other variables that are carefully evaluated during the design process, such as roof slope orientation, expected hours of sunlight, and shading. Our early experience from the design process suggests that most homes in our markets that are otherwise a good design fit can support enough production to replace 80% of a home’s annual electrical consumption.

    How much of the roof is made up of Photovoltaic (PV) tiles?

    Depending on a homeowner’s electrical needs, we estimate the solar portion of the roof could be between 30-70% of the total roof surface. The PV tiles are all full-size (15” x 45”) roof pieces, so they can generally be placed anywhere there is room for a full tile. Areas near rake edges, valleys, hips, and obstructions usually require partial tiles and metal flashings. In the planning process we also work with Tesla designers to optimize the placement for unobstructed sunlight. This means prioritizing south-facing exposures, as well as east and west.

    Are there Tax Credits available for Solar Roof or Powerwall?

    Yes! For tax year 2022 there is a 26% Investment Tax Credit available that applies to a large portion of a Solar Roof installation and all of a Powerwall installation when done as part of a solar project. Some states and utilities have other credits available, and we usually can inform you if there are additional incentives in your area. Click here for more detailed information about how to qualify for the tax credit.

    How much does the Solar Roof cost?

    Pricing is still evolving but our general guidance is that a new Solar Roof is likely to cost between 1500-2000 square before incentives. This figure is highly dependent on the size of the photovoltaic (PV) system chosen (the number of “active” PV tiles compared to glass tiles) and the complexity of the roof design and number of obstructions (skylights, chimneys, pipes) on the roof deck. We are optimistic about developing expertise and methods of installing this more efficiently over time to hopefully bring this price down in the future. We have an online configuration tool to help you estimate the price of your project. A single Powerwall battery storage system installation runs between 11,000. 13,000 depending on whether other electrical upgrades are necessary. Additional Powerwall units can be added for around 9,000 to increase storage and backup capacity.

    Can I finance my Tesla Solar Roof?

    Yes! We are pleased to offer a financing program through Sunlight Financial that is designed exclusively for Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall. The program offers 10 or 20 year fixed rate loans with no prepayment penalty and a one-time optional re-amortization that allows homeowners to apply tax refunds from the Investment Tax Credit to reduce monthly payments for the remainder of the loan. In some cases, our clients have found it even more the current interest rate and property value environment has made refinancing an attractive option for some clients.

    What types of roofs are a good fit for the Tesla Solar Roof system?

    The system is designed to be installed on nearly any common sloped roof design in the market today. The system has the best value and most competitive installed pricing when a roof has a few large rectangular slopes with good south-facing exposures. We find that roofs with an excessive amount of hips and valleys or with a large number of dormers or a large proportion of small slopes are extremely labor-intensive leading to an unusually high installation cost.

    What happens if a tile breaks or is damaged on my Solar Roof?

    Don’t worry! Solar Roof is easy to repair in almost every situation. One of the advantages of working with a local/regional company like Weddle and Sons is that we have a service department that can respond quickly in all of our markets and we have an inventory of spare parts on hand. We use specialized hand tools that allow us to easily remove individual tiles to service cabling or components underneath or to snap in replacement tiles if needed.

    What areas do you service?

    We are headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas and have offices in Olathe KS (KC Metro), Omaha NE, Lincoln NE, Denver CO, and Fort Collins CO. For Solar Roof installations we serve large areas of Kansas (including KC-MO), Nebraska, and Colorado. We are also considering projects in portions of Iowa, Missouri, Wyoming, and Oklahoma on a case-by-case basis.

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