Thinking of getting a Tesla Solar Roof? Here’s everything you need to know
First launched in 2016, Elon Musk’s Solar Roof system has taken the photovoltaic (PV) world by storm. Tesla’s Solar Roof is not the only solar roof tiles on the market but is some of the most attractive and most expensive.
Solar tiles offer a completely different approach to solar PV installations, the final product is, inarguably, far superior in aesthetic terms to traditional solar PV installations, and seeks to add a cool factor to generating your own power.
While Tesla claims its Solar Roof is competitive in terms of providing a two-for-one solution (you do get a new roof after all), ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
So, is Tesla’s Solar Roof all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take an honest look.
What is Tesla’s Solar Roof?
Tesla’s Solar Roof, like other solar roof tiles, is an innovative system of specially engineered roofing tiles or shingles. Unlike conventional solar PV panels that are mounted onto an existing roof, a solar roof acts as a direct replacement for existing roof coverings.
The system allows potential customers to benefit from generating their own power without unduly affecting the aesthetics of their homes. Win-win.
Tesla‘s Solar Roof consists of two main types of textured glass tile shingles. The first is purely decorative and is termed inactive. These look exactly the same as the second kind, called Active, to ensure a uniform look of the finished roof.
The Active shingles are effectively small, shingle-sized solar panels that are integrated into the main roof surface in strategic places to maximize their efficiency. In most cases, most of the south or west-facing areas of a roof will consist of Active shingles, with the rest of the surface consisting of the visually similar Inactive shingles.
Active shingles, like conventional solar panels, will also be fitted as close to the best angle of incidence to the Sun’s rays throughout the year. In the northern hemisphere, this is as close to a 60 degrees inclination as possible, which, on most domestic homes is around 30-45 degrees, depending on the pitch of your existing roof.
Of course, if you choose to install a Solar Roof, your old roof will need to be stripped and replaced in totality.
The system can also be used with a Tesla Solar Inverter to convert the direct current generated by the shingles to useable alternating current in your home. While non-Tesla inverters can also be used, the use of Tesla’s own proprietary equipment ensures the systems will run with fewer potential snags.
This inverter also enables you to tag on a Tesla Powerwall battery to store excess energy, if desired.
The system was developed in a collaboration between Tesla and its subsidiary SolarCity and was first announced in 2016. It wasn’t until 2018 that Tesla and SolarCity were in a position to begin the manufacture and delivery of their first Solar Roofs, however.
Since then, Tesla has continued to make improvements to the technology, with its latest variant, Solar Roof V3, boasting the best efficiency and durability to date. The product comes with a generous 25-year weatherization warranty.
Great, but what are some of the downsides? One is whether Tesla actually serves your geographical area.
For the most part, Tesla should be able to provide an installation in most of the continental United States. However, in some states, they may use authorized installers to do so.
The same is true for other parts of the world, with the rollout continuing around the world. If you are interested in finding out if they serve your area, the best thing to do is contact Tesla, or try to get a quote, and they will tell you.
How much does a Tesla solar roof cost?
According to data from actual Tesla quotes, their Solar Wall system costs approximately 1.80 per generated watt of electricity for their Active shingles. The cost of their Inactive shingles then varies depending on the complexity of the roof in question.
For simple roofs, i.e., basic pitched roofs start at around 13.30 per square foot. For more tricky roofs like hipped roofs or multiple-level roofs, these shingles should cost about 15.30 per square foot. For more complex roofs (i.e. cross-gabled, steep or variable pitched, multiple heights, or lots of obstacles), costs could be as high as 18.54 per square foot.
You will also be charged for the removal and disposal of your old roof at a rate of around 3.55 per square foot.
Just like any solar energy installation, the actual cost will vary depending on the size of roof coverage, location, and construction of the building. Smaller pitched roofs on a single-story home will be considerably cheaper than a large complex roof on a multi-story building, for example.
This is for a variety of reasons, but chief among them are additional costs for access equipment to higher roofs or increased time in labor to design and install the roof on larger and more complex roofs like cross-gabled roofs.
Tesla may also require customers to upgrade their electrical systems in order to actually work with their Solar Roof system. Upgrading elements like electrical panels can cost anywhere in the region of 5,000 and up.
However, to give you a rough estimate, using Tesla’s own calculator, a good-sized family home would cost around 70,000 dollars to install an 8.05 kW system before tax incentives. This quote is based on a home in Nashville, Texas, with a floor area of 2,500 feet 2 (232 m 2 ) and using an average monthly energy bill of 115 (this was the U.S. average in 2019, according to the EIA).
This, according to Tesla’s estimates, should be able to produce for this hypothetical home, somewhere in the order of 12,800 kWh/year, or roughly 100% of the building’s electrical energy consumption. You also get the added bonus (for additional cost) of energy storage with this system, which is a considerable advantage over some conventional domestic solar panel arrays.
If this estimate is accurate, that should provide a payback period (the time taken to recover your initial investment) of about 50 years, give or take. This will likely be closer to 40 years after tax incentives are factored in to reduce your initial capital outlay.
Another estimate for a 1,700 ft 2 (158m 2 ) roof in California with an electrical bill of 150 per month came in at 39,000 before incentives for a 6.13-kilowatt system. It should be noted that this quote was generated in 2022 and for a different state, so costs likely vary for that reason.
You should also remember that energy costs from the grid are likely to rise over time, so the true payback will likely be much shorter, ignoring any maintenance and cleaning costs of course.
We’ve chosen this square footage as it is about the average size of a new family home in the United States.
To put that into perspective, installing a similarly sized conventional solar panel array would cost around 26,000 before incentives. Using the same statistics as above would give you an equitable payback of between 15 and 22 years, depending on tax incentives.
However, remember that the estimated lifespan of conventional solar panels is also roughly 25 to 30 years, so you would probably need to replace the array after a few decades.
It should be noted, however, that such estimates should be taken with a pinch of salt. The final figures will likely vary widely depending on where your home is located if you were to actually order an installation.
This is especially the case for conventional solar panel installations and you are always advised to source several quotes from recommended installers before authorizing any work.
Any and all costs for such installations should also include any planning and design work required prior to the installation. This will not only ensure the costings are as accurate as possible but also discover if your existing roof is appropriate for such an installation.
The latter is less relevant for Tesla solar roofs, as these tend to be a direct replacement for your existing roof covering.
You should also note that costs are likely to vary over time as labor, consumable, and material costs will fluctuate, given the current economic climate. There may be other costs, too, such as various local authority planning requirements, where relevant.
Solar panels vs. Tesla solar roof: which one is better?
Generally speaking, on a per watt average cost, Tesla’s Solar Roof is actually pretty reasonable, all things considered. According to some estimates, in the United States, Tesla’s come in at around 1.80 per watt. Traditional solar PV panels tend to cost around 3.00 per watt.
However, any direct comparison between the two is complicated by a few factors. The first is that Tesla’s Solar Roof is not just some PV solar panels but actually a new roof and some PV panels in one package.
Traditional solar PV panels are where your roof can handle it, simply mounted to an existing roof without needing to replace it. So, in order to provide a fair comparison, we’ll need to do a like-for-like summing up.
Roofing giant takes on Tesla to make solar roof shingles more affordable
When Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Solar Roof in 2016, it was the first that many people had heard of solar shingles. But the idea of a roofing product that can both generate energy and blend in with regular asphalt shingles has been around for decades.
Companies from Dow Chemical Company to the now defunct BP Solar have given the solar shingle a shot, but many of these products are no longer on the market. Solar shingles have been expensive to manufacture and install, and are not yet as efficient as regular solar panels. That’s kept them from breaking into the mainstream.
Now GAF Energy, the sister company to one of the largest roofing companies in the world and a division of privately held Standard Industries, is launching a new solar shingle effort. It just released a product called Timberline Solar, which the company says will be cheaper and more reliable than Tesla‘s Solar Roof. It just won the Best of Innovation Award for Smart Cities at CES.
What sets GAF Energy apart
We’re part of the world’s largest roofing manufacturer. We have access to materials that typical solar companies don’t have access to, said Martin DeBono, President of GAF Energy. No one has ever specifically tried to make a solar product that a roofer can install. And we’ve done it, and our product goes on with just a nail gun. It goes on twice as fast as typical solar.
Timberline Solar can be nailed to the roof just like a regular shingle, which GAF Energy says will reduce the complexity and cost of installation. At 17 inches tall and 64 inches long, the shingles are also larger than Tesla’s, meaning there are fewer parts to manufacture and fewer individual wiring connections, which the company expects will also decrease costs while increasing reliability.
However the larger and bulkier design also means that GAF Energy’s shingle doesn’t blend in as well as Tesla’s product, which is nearly indistinguishable from normal roofing material.
Gabriela Bunea, Senior Vice President of Solar RD at GAF Energy, holds the company’s new solar shingle.
GAF Energy says its deep ties to the roofing sector will also help it save on sales and marketing expenses, since the company can attract solar customers from the large pool of people already coming to GAF for a new roof.
The natural moment to actually put solar on a roof is that moment when you’re already about to replace your roof. It makes literally no sense to put brand new PV on an old roof that’s well into its warranty, said David Winter, Co-CEO of Standard Industries.
Winter says that one out of every three asphalt shingle roofs in the U.S. is a GAF roof. So we’re the people that are sitting at the proverbial kitchen table with the homeowner at that moment that they need to replace their roof, where we can introduce the idea of solar.
Read more about energy from CNBC Pro
According to Wood Mackenzie, customer acquisition costs usually make up 23% of the total cost of a residential solar system, so saving here could be key.
GAF Energy also touts the fact that it assembles and partially manufactures its shingles at its facility in San Jose, California. While the company imports its PV cells from Thailand, it believes that having some domestic manufacturing is advantageous.
What that allows us to do is take improvements in our product from the lab and get them to instantiate in the product very, very quickly, DeBono says. Alternately, teams would have to fly overseas to execute changes. And what you see is changes to your product take quarters and years, literally, whereas here it takes hours and days.
Only real world performance over the product’s 25-year warranty will show if GAF Energy has really cracked the code to an affordable and reliable solar shingle product.
GAF Energy did not provide CNBC with specific pricing information, though DeBono estimated that on average, Timberline Solar could cost about twice as much as replacing a roof with normal asphalt shingles.
Let’s say in many parts of the country, you have a fifteen thousand dollar cost for the roof. Getting a solar system, adding that would be another fifteen thousand, DeBono said.
Getting a 30,000 solar roof would be far cheaper than anything on the market today, and could cost less than getting a new roof plus regular solar panels.
For comparison, Tesla’s projected cost for an average-sized 1,700 square foot Solar Roof in the Bay Area is about 40,700 before solar subsidies. But Tesla’s product has been known to cost much more than initial estimates. The company was hit with a class-action lawsuit last year after it dramatically hiked Solar Roof for customers who had already signed contracts. (Tesla later told some customers it would reverse the price increases, according to legal filings.)
The efficiency of GAF’s shingles in a real-world environment is also an open ended question, since previous solar shingle products haven’t been comparable to regular panels.
They fundamentally operate at a lower efficiency, said Barry Cinnamon, founder of Silicon Valley-based solar installer Cinnamon Energy Systems. And the reason is that they’re flush with the roof and the roof is hot. And so hot solar cells don’t work as efficiently as cooler solar cells in conventional modules.
GAF Energy says that it’s using high-efficiency mono-PERC cells, which perform better than traditional monocrystalline PV cells at high temperatures. Yet given the Timberline Solar shingle’s dimensions and its stated 45 watt capacity, in ideal conditions it would still generate less energy per square foot than Tesla’s latest 71.7 watt shingle or an average-sized 300 watt solar panel. Because GAF Energy’s shingles overlap, each one has a lot of inactive material. The company claims that if you look only at the active solar cells, its shingle’s efficiency is on par with Tesla’s shingles, though still less efficient than a standard solar panel.
At the time of CNBC’s interview with Cinnamon, GAF Energy’s shingle had not been released. But speaking about solar shingles generally, he was doubtful that they would ever appeal to the masses.
I really don’t see anything that’s going to change with any of these factors that are going to make it a widespread mainstream product. I think it’s always going to be a niche product like a fancy sports car.
Yet Gabriela Bunea, Senior Vice President of Solar RD at GAF Energy, maintains that Timberline Solar will be able to compete when it comes to cost, efficiency and reliability.
It is my hope that maybe in five, ten years when you are thinking about changing your roof, you will pick the solar roof, because it makes economic sense, because it’s attractive and because you will have the same warranty as the rest of the roof.
Watch the video to see CNBC’s early look inside GAF Energy’s RD and manufacturing facility in San Jose, California, where it’s assembling Timberline Solar shingles.
Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.
What We Still Don’t Know About Tesla’s Solar Roof
The team at Pick My Solar tackle unanswered questions about the highly anticipated and still mysterious solar roof.
On May 10, Tesla announced it has begun taking orders for the company’s highly anticipated Solar Roof systems. The Tesla website now provides more details about the cost and durability of the tiles and allows interested homeowners to place a 1,000 deposit for the system.
For those who understand solar, however, the announcement of the new solar roof has prompted more questions than answers. On Pick My Solar’s blog, we briefly discussed the economics of Tesla’s solar tiles and found them to be significantly overpriced. A number of questions have subsequently been raised that Tesla has left ambiguous or unanswered:
- How can we accurately compare the cost of the Solar Roof to standard solar panel systems?
- How will Solar Roofs work with the federal Investment Tax Credit?
- What’s the efficiency of the Solar Roof tiles? How does this compare to conventional solar panels?
- How much do the tiles weigh?
- What about flat roofs?
- How does the durability of the solar tiles compare to conventional solar panels?
- Who should get a Solar Roof?
In this comprehensive review, we’ll investigate each of these important questions to reveal what’s known and still unknown about this new solar product. The Tesla Solar Roof follows a long line of largely unsuccessful building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products. Despite all the excitement it has generated, the jury is still out on whether or not this product will meet a similar fate.
How can we accurately compare the cost of the Solar Roof to standard solar panel systems?
The cost and lifetime value of the Solar Roof depends on the size of your roof and electricity bill. A higher utility bill means greater electricity consumption, which means you will need more solar-generating tiles compared to non-solar tiles. Generally, the higher your utility bill, the more attractive the economics of the Solar Roof become.
Tesla has stated that it “believe[s] in transparency and putting the customer in control.” As such, the company created a Solar Roof Calculator to show upfront estimates for the system. It’s a fun tool, but it does lack certain key pieces of information that would enable a consumer to accurately compare the system cost to a standard solar PV system.
The calculator will display the total system cost and percent blend of solar tiles to non-solar tiles, but it doesn’t show you the power rating of the system. An easy workaround for this is to input the home address in Pick My Solar’s solar calculator, which will provide upfront the needed system size for a given location and bill amount.
Once you know the system production size in kilowatts for the Solar Roof, you can determine the key metric for comparing solar system costs: price per watt. Multiply the roof square footage by the percentage of solar tiles, multiply by 42 per square foot (what Tesla has disclosed as the solar tile cost), then divide the amount by the number of watts. With this methodology, we’ve determined that the solar-only portion of the Solar Roof costs 6.30 per watt, give or take 0.50 per watt because the solar coverage slider on the Tesla calculator only moves in 10 percent increments.
A cost of 6.30 per watt is essentially double some of the solar available today, and translates to a 25,000-35,000 premium on standard solar panel systems for the solar-only aspect of Solar Roofs. Is that premium worth it for superior aesthetics? Do you need a new roof, and are you in the market for something high-end? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you may want to consider putting down 1,000.
How will Solar Roofs work with the federal Investment Tax Credit?
On the Solar Roof calculator, Tesla says that the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) applies to both the entire roof and the Powerwall energy storage product. But this isn’t as clear-cut as the Tesla website would lead you to believe.
BIPV doesn’t fit into the mold of the ITC structure and would need a special appeal process in order to determine which components of the system apply for the credit on a case-by-case basis. For example, solar shingles will qualify for the ITC, while the non-solar ones may not. This will depend on whether the IRS determines that the non-solar components of the Solar Roof are “so specifically engineered that it is in essence part of the machinery or equipment with which it functions.”
It will likely be a lengthy process for the IRS to clarify the ITC code. Hopefully Tesla will take care of this entire process for homeowners or educate them completely on the process of claiming the tax credit. Time is short, however.- this incentive is phasing down beginning in January 2020 and concludes in 2022. Considering the long timeline Tesla will need to fully scale Solar Roof production, many homeowners may not even be able to benefit from the entire credit.
Despite what’s shown on Tesla’s calculator, customers shouldn’t expect the full ITC benefits. The delay to receive a Solar Roof is likely to be even longer for customers outside of California. In the meantime, potential Solar Roof customers won’t be buying solar products that are already on the market today.
“Taking preorders for this unproven technology will undeniably have a negative impact on the adoption of solar,” said Pick My Solar CEO Max Aram. “By leveraging Tesla’s sexy brand, Elon Musk can lure a few thousand homeowners off the solar market. Many of these homeowners may never get their system turned on before the expiration of the federal tax credit.
The difference between the Solar Roof and the Model 3 is that Tesla has already proven they can manufacture great cars and that the Model 3 is coming at an affordable price point, he added. With solar roofs, [the company] hasn’t proven either.
What’s the efficiency of the Solar Roof tiles, and how does this compare to conventional solar panels?
Tesla plans to manufacture the entire product in Buffalo, New York, with cells made from its partner, Panasonic. Peter Rive, former CTO at SolarCity and now head of solar tech at Tesla, said the efficiency of the solar tile is equivalent to a standard solar module.
However, SolarCity’s website breaks down the anatomy of the solar tiles, including how the colored louver film “allows the cells to blend into the roof while minimizing solar efficiency loss.” This implies that some efficiency is sacrificed for the system’s aesthetics.
To date, Panasonic’s most efficient solar cells in production are the N330 HIT modules, which have an efficiency of 19.7 percent. The highest efficiency cells they’ve developed in lab are 23.5 percent. The market average efficiency of solar modules is around 16 percent, while the average for modules installers use on the Pick My Solar marketplace is around 19.5 percent.
Assuming that the colored louver film only reduces efficiency buy a few percentage points and that Tesla would be including the highest efficiency Panasonic technology in the tiles, that would validate Peter Rive’s claim that the solar tiles have more or less equal efficiency to standard PV panels.
At the end of the day, efficiency is not a deal breaker unless a home has limited roof space, in which case high-efficiency standard modules would be the better option. For homes with constrained roof space, it’s helpful to compare efficiency in terms of kilowatt per square foot. We’ve determined that Tesla Solar Roofs produce about 6 watts per square foot, whereas a high-efficiency module would produce 19 watts per square foot.
Simply put, if you do not have a lot of roof space in an area with the appropriate conditions for solar, a high-efficiency module system is a much better option.
How much do the tiles weigh?
According to Tesla, Solar Roof tiles are half the weight of a standard tile. However, the company has never defined what tile material it considers to be “standard.” Concrete tiles weigh between 9.5 and 12 pounds per square foot, while asphalt shingles only weigh 2.5 to 4 pounds per square foot. Spanish tile can weigh up to 19 pounds per square foot, but lightweight versions are only 6 pounds. Slate tiles weigh between 7 and 10 pounds per square foot.
We would guess that, when factoring in all of the solar tile electronic components, the tiles will weigh between 15 and 20 pounds per square foot, but it’s hard to say considering how vague Tesla has been in its statements.
It’s unclear whether more supporting components will be needed in the sheathing of the roof to support the solar tiles. If so, that would significantly drive up the net cost of the system. Regardless, it seems clear that installing the shingles will be an extremely complicated process.
“Aesthetically, the Solar Roof is beautiful, but we’ll need to wait and see how Tesla will resolve taking it to market,” said Trevor Leeds, president of Chandler’s Roofing, one of Pick My Solar’s roofing partners. “Roofing is a different animal than solar. There are different variables that have to be considered like waterproofing and the roof-attachment method. Compliance codes for roofing are also much different than those for solar. Will Tesla figure out how to be a national roofing contractor? Is Tesla looking to assume this liability and overhead? All of these unknowns will need to be worked out.”
What about flat roofs?
In sales training seminars, Tesla revealed that homes with flat roofs are not eligible for the Solar Roof. Solar Roofs can only be installed on roofs with a pitch of 3:12 (14 degrees) and more. This is a clear disadvantage versus standard solar systems, which can utilize a tilted racking system for flat surfaces.
Tiled roofing in general isn’t typically recommended for flat roofs due to waterproofing constraints, which is an understandably greater risk considering the intricate electrical wiring in the Solar Roof. Another restriction for flat Solar Roofs may also be that the colored louvers from the solar tiles significantly inhibit production from a flat angle.
How does the durability of the solar tiles compare to conventional solar panels?
The Solar Roof has a warranty of “infinity, or the lifetime of your house, whichever come first.” Tesla clearly is confident in the durability of the tempered glass tiles. These claims, obviously unproven at this time, are supported by the company’s entertaining videos of the tiles being pummeled by hail cannons in slow motion.
How does this compare to conventional solar panels? Standard solar modules are usually warranted by the manufacturer for 25 years, and will typically last much longer. Panels consist of a glass layer on top, a protective backsheet on the bottom, and an aluminum frame to protect the individual solar cells inside.
Tempered glass is up to six times stronger than regular plate glass. In fact, the material is already used in most, but not all, solar panel brands. Some cheaper panel manufacturers will use regular plate glass instead to cut costs. However, LG, SunPower, Canadian Solar, Hyundai and other large manufacturers all use tempered glass.
A comparison video of a Solar Roof tile and a tempered-glass solar panel being shot at by hail cannons and other heavy objects would quickly reveal the winner in this category. Until then, we’ll never know which one is actually more durable, because they are made of the exact same material and there aren’t any more details available at this time.
One factor that has not been discussed enough is how the solar components of the Solar Roofs will be replaced after the production degrades too much. Useful solar production is guaranteed by Tesla to last 30 years. Whereas regular panels could be easily replaced after this time, it’s likely going to be an expensive and labor-intensive process to retrofit Solar Roofs.
Who should get a Solar Roof?
By and large, Tesla’s Solar Roof will appeal to wealthy, tech-savvy homeowners with a passion for the environment but a disdain for the aesthetics of standard solar panel systems. These homeowners will also understand the relative risk of being an early adopter of these systems, but are still excited to be the first to experience the technology. Details like the ITC and final system cost are still unknown, so these homeowners will need a significant surplus of spending money. They’ll also.- most importantly.- need to possess a healthy level of patience, as it could be years before the system will be installed.
Overall, Tesla’s Solar Roof has and will continue to inject excitement into the solar industry, which has had its fair share of bad news these past couple of months (American module manufacturing, in particular, has been hard hit). The fact that so many media outlets and interested consumers are talking about BIPV again means that this technology is moving in the right direction.
Elon Musk himself has admitted that the Solar Roof will have significant challenges in the coming years, particularly in ramping up production to bring down and service more territory. Building a vertically integrated national roofing company is a huge challenge by itself, and he recognizes the Solar Roofs won’t be widely available for five or maybe even 10 years to come.
If you’re one of the lucky first few to have a Solar Roof installed on your home, invite us over!
Max Aram is the co-founder and CEO of Pick My Solar, an online platform for comparing solar companies.
Why Solar Shingles Probably Aren’t Right for You
Solar shingles are, essentially, small photovoltaic panels constructed to look and function like conventional roof tiles.
These roof tiles are designed to blend in with the rest of your roof, boosting your curb appeal while at the same time providing you with a free source of energy. What’s not to like?
As great as they sound, solar roof tiles have several disadvantages. Consequently, they aren’t the best choice for most homeowners.
Solar Shingles Are Less Efficient than Photovoltaic Panels
Solar shingles are installed the same as the rest of your roofing tiles. So if your roof doesn’t face south or west and the slope is not ideal, they won’t be oriented for maximum photovoltaic output.
Photovoltaic panels, on the other hand, can be mounted on a tilted racking system or on trackers to harness more of the sun’s power.
If your roof is unsuitable for photovoltaic panel installation, you’re better off opting for a ground-mounted photovoltaic array than solar shingles.
Conventional photovoltaic panels, whether mounted on a rooftop or on the ground, are more efficient than solar roof tiles — and it isn’t only due to orientation. Shingles lay directly on the roof, with no air circulation underneath. As a result, they get much hotter than panels do, and hot solar cells are significantly less efficient at producing electricity.
Solar Shingles Aren’t Reliable or Durable
Each solar roof tile or shingle must be wired individually into the array. This creates dozens (or hundreds) of vulnerable points for failure.
But more concerning to solar experts is the idea of incorporating an expensive power generation system into a roofing material that isn’t designed to last as long as the solar cell. The reason that traditional photovoltaic panel systems make sense is that they last for decades, through as many re-roofing projects as your home needs.
When the roof shingle or tile itself fails, you’re forced to dispose of it – and the solar cell along with it.
Solar Shingles Are Not Cost-Effective
If you’re in the market for a new roof and you can angle the installation for the maximum amount of photovoltaic output, solar roof tiles could be an option. However, they will cost much more than a traditional photovoltaic panel installation.
Why are they so expensive? Installing solar roof tiles requires different training. Essentially, your contractor has to act as both a photovoltaic installer and a roofer. Plus, for warranty coverage, it may be necessary to have a roofer on-site during the photovoltaic installation. That can significantly add to the cost.
If you don’t already need a new roof, solar roof tiles probably aren’t the right choice for you. They may be more aesthetically pleasing, but that isn’t usually a worthwhile tradeoff for the increase in cost and decrease in efficiency.
Finally, these products may not be available much longer, at least not through mass production processes. Despite making a grand entrance into the renewable energy market in 2010, Dow Chemical announced in July of this year that it had ceased production of its Powerhouse Solar Shingle roofing products.
At Intermountain Wind Solar, our expert team can provide the information you need to determine what type of photovoltaic power system would be the best fit for you. We serve both residential and commercial clients throughout the Intermountain West.
Contact us today to learn more about the photovoltaic energy alternatives to solar shingles.