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.
Are Solar Panels Worth It?
Harnessing solar power is an integral part of advancing renewable, clean energy that you can be part of on an individual level by investing in solar panels for home use.
Before using solar panels for your home in Connecticut, however, you must first determine whether the long-term benefits of lowering your energy bills and increasing your home’s resale value are worth the hefty upfront investment for the equipment and installation.
What are Solar Panels?
There is an extensive science behind solar energy, but simply put, solar panels are devices that convert light from the sun into electricity by allowing photons—or light particles—to knock electrons free from atoms. Typically, the systems are comprised of multiple smaller units called photovoltaic cells.
A solar panel installer can complete a residential job in about one to three days, depending on local permitting and inspection processes, how complex the installation is, and how many panels you are having installed. Those factors also affect the cost of installation, which can range from about 26,208 to 37,044. However, you won’t receive solar panels right after signing a contract with your local solar system provider. The average time it takes to go from that point to getting the system up and running is closer to three months.
Best Solar Panels for Home Use in Connecticut
If you purchase a solar power system for your Connecticut home, cost and the payback period—or the time it takes to break even on the investment, so to speak—are probably your top concerns. However, there are other factors to consider when selecting the best solar panels for home use, such as solar panel certifications, the length of the manufacturer’s warranty, the solar inverter efficiency, and the mounting system, among other things.
Con Edison Solutions’ residential solar panel systems include the number of 315w solar panels you desire, as well as a SolarEdge inverter, optimizers, and monitoring system. You also receive the required conduit and cabling and all-black racking. Additionally, to protect your investment, you get a 25-year equipment warranty and 10-year workmanship warranty.
A few extra features to consider for your residential solar system include a home energy monitor, electric car charging system, and battery backup with Tesla Powerwall. You also can upgrade to 360w, high-efficiency panels.
How Long Does it Take for Solar Panels to Pay for Themselves?
Because of the financial benefits of installing a solar panel system, you can think of it as an investment with a strong rate of return that generally takes seven to 20 years to pay for itself. In Connecticut, the solar panel payback period is estimated to be less than 10 years if you consider the rising cost of electricity from traditional power sources.
After that, you continue to reap benefits in four distinct ways: lowering your monthly electricity bills, protecting yourself against rate hikes, being eligible for money-saving tax credits and incentives, and increasing your home’s resale value. If you install 26 modules, you can save between 157 and 196 on your monthly bills, depending on the Connecticut energy provider that services your region. With 42 panels, your savings could be closer to 254 to 317. Solar power houses can also make you eligible for an estimated tax credit of 6,814 to 9,631.
By adding solar panels to a home with a 30-year mortgage, you could save from 62,491to 76,410 between the estimated additional monthly mortgage, typical monthly bill savings, and estimated tax credit.
If your system is producing an excess of energy that your family isn’t using, you also have the option of selling solar power to generate income. Not every household, however, will generate enough unused power to turn a profit by selling it back to a utility company.
Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment?
Not only is solar power a relatively clean form of energy, as solar panels don’t emit toxins into the atmosphere while generating electricity, but it is also renewable and protects you from rising utility prices. The financial benefits of a solar power system begin as soon as it is turned on and last for decades, which is why Sunwood Homebuilders and Remodelers is partnering with Con Edison Solutions to offer you convenient and affordable options for adding solar panels to your Connecticut home.
Tesla Solar Roof: Is It Worth It?
Many homeowners intrigued by the idea of using their roof to generate power are turned off by the look of the ugly black solar panels they’d need to install. Though renewable energy is surely good for the planet, solar panels aren’t known for their curb appeal.
That could change soon. In October 2016, the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, announced his company’s plan to acquire SolarCity, a solar panel company, and to start manufacturing and selling solar roof tiles that would be much more attractive than the traditional solar panels. “The key is to make solar look good,” Musk said.
But beauty comes at a price, and it’s a high one in this case. Tesla estimates that replacing an average 3,000-square-foot roof with a Solar Roof could cost 65,550. Is that money a homeowner will make back over time? Read on for everything you need to know about Tesla’s Solar Roof:
How does the Tesla Solar Roof Work?
No more boxy black panels! Tesla’s Solar Roof looks just any other roof, with no hardware to be seen.
Tempered glass tiles replace traditional roofing materials. Two styles are available as of June 2017: “Textured” (black tiles that resemble asphalt shingles) and “Smooth” (gray tiles for a streamlined look). Two more styles will hit the market in 2018: “Tuscan” (a terra cotta look) and “Slate.” The solar panel tiles are mixed with non-solar tiles on the roof; while the solar ones cost more than non-solar, the two are indistinguishable from each other after they’re installed.
Are Tesla roof tiles available?
Tesla is currently taking 1,000 deposits for the first two styles; delivery, which started on June 1, is rolling out from California across the country.
How long will it take to install a Tesla Solar Roof?
According to the company, five to seven days—about the same as installing a traditional roof.
How durable is the Solar Roof?
The tiles may be made of glass, but they couldn’t be much tougher. Tesla’s warranty covers them for the lifetime of your house—or infinity, “whichever comes first.” The tiles get the highest possible ratings for hail, wind, and fire; according to Tesla, they’re “three times stronger than standard roofing tiles.”
Will I save money with Tesla’s Solar Roof?
A lot of variables are involved. But there’s a handy calculator on the Tesla site where you can enter your address to find out how many dollars worth of energy your Solar Roof will generate over 30 years (it estimates the average price of energy in your area and adjusts for inflation). A chart deducts the estimated cost of your Solar Roof, including materials and installation, and the Powerwall battery, which stores electricity generated by the roof during the day (so you’ll have power when the sun’s not shining). The chart then factors in the current 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit to end up with the “Net earned over 30 years.”
To determine what percentage of your roof tiles needs to be solar, the calculator considers the size of your roof and the average amount of sunlight your neighborhood gets. You can even customize the calculations by entering the average amount of your monthly electric bill so the calculator can take your power usage into consideration.
As for that federal tax credit for residential solar installations, the clock is ticking: The tax credit is being phased out, dropping to 26 percent in 2020, 22 percent in 2021, and zero after that.
Is the Solar Roof really worth it?
According to Tesla, a typical homeowner could expect to pay 21.85 per square foot to replace a 3,000-square-foot roof with a Solar Roof that’s 35 percent solar tiles—for a total of 65,550. (That price is before tax credits; also, it’s possible that a roof might need to be 70 percent solar tiles.)
That puts the upfront cost of the Solar Roof higher than a traditional roof, but Tesla asserts that the price tag is more than offset by the value of the energy the tiles generate. The amount saved in electrical bills will often—eventually—be more than the cost of the roof. And, as Tesla says, the homeowners will “benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.”
An article in Consumer Reports in May 2017, “Doing the Math on Tesla’s Solar Roof,” investigates Tesla’s claims. Author Paul Hope describes the online cost calculator and writes, “If Tesla’s math is correct, it seems that in many cases the roof would more than pay for itself in electricity savings over the 30-year life of the warranty.” But he then points out that “Tesla’s calculator relies upon some important assumptions and predictions that delve deep into the economy of residential solar power in the U.S.”
After crunching the numbers for three houses in different parts of the country, Hope concludes that “for some houses, the potential savings do seem to make a lot of sense—again, assuming Tesla’s projections are accurate.” But homeowners must consider other factors, such as how they’ll finance the initial cost—if a loan is required, what will the interest costs be? Then there’s the question of how long they’ll be in their current home (30 years certainly isn’t typical), when they last replaced the roof, and how effective the Solar Roof will actually be (Hope reminds us that Consumer Reports didn’t run its own tests).
As for your own situation, your house’s location and other factors also have a bearing. The solar calculator at Google’s Project Sunroof will tell you how many hours of usable sunlight your home gets in a year. Overhanging trees and large adjacent buildings also affect feasibility.
All in all, you’ll need to run the numbers and weigh your options before making a decision. The benefit to the environment can’t be calculated in dollar signs—but it’s surely undeniable. And your shift to clean energy might well inspire others in your community to follow. As global warming escalates, a snowball effect could only be a good thing.
N.B.: If you’ve been thinking about converting to solar energy, get the basics by reading Hardscaping 101: Solar Panels Pros and Cons. And read about more roof options at:
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What Are Tesla Solar Roof Tiles? Are They Worth It?
Many homeowners who have researched solar panels for their home eventually come across the Tesla Solar Roof. The solar roof tiles developed by Tesla, while not revolutionary, are making waves in the solar and roofing industries.
The Tesla Solar Roof has come a long way from its initial designs and promises great savings for homeowners. However, there are still many questions that remain unanswered and cost estimates that don’t pan out in the end.
What Is The Tesla Solar Roof?
The Tesla Solar Roof is a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) product that functions as both a roofing material and a photovoltaic solar panel system. The solar roof tiles can be installed in place of regular roofing material with the same protection value, and they come in various designs resembling terra cotta tiles, slate, and composite shingles.
The solar roofing tiles come in two formats: energy producing and non-energy producing. Energy producing tiles incorporate solar cells that produce energy when exposed to sunlight. Non-energy producing roof tiles do not produce solar energy, rather they look nearly identical to the energy producing solar tiles and serve to complete the roof’s protection and aesthetics.
The solar roof shingles available today are the third version developed by Tesla since its initial product came out in 2016. According to Tesla, the latest version of their solar shingles are larger, more efficient, easier to install, are cheaper to produce, and have fewer parts.
While Tesla is not the first company to develop solar roofing tiles, it is by far the largest player in the game today.
How Much Does It Cost?
Deciphering the ultimate cost of a Tesla Solar Roof can be a tricky task. As with any solar install, many factors contribute to the cost of a solar project. Add to this conflicting numbers between cost estimates from Tesla and real-life solar installs, and the task is even more challenging.
However, we can use numbers provided by Tesla and numbers provided by real-life solar estimates from Tesla to compare the costs versus a conventional solar installation.
According to Tesla, their Solar Roof costs 21.85 per square foot with the assumption that 35% of the roof will be covered by non-energy producing tiles. That means a 2,000 square foot roof would cost about 44,000. Keep in mind that this includes the cost of replacing the entire roof material in place of solar tiles.
However, according to actual solar estimates from prospective Tesla customers. the actual cost of a Tesla Solar Roof comes out to approximately 35 per square foot. That adds over 26,000 to the cost of a 2,000 square foot roof.
As you can see, the pricing difference between what Tesla estimates and the ultimate price can be quite different.
The unfortunate task of getting a true price estimate for a is that not many have been installed yet. Tesla, not known for their transparency, has not provided numbers about how many Tesla Solar Roofs have been installed, nor provided much information about the ultimate costs of those installs.
How Do Solar Roof Tiles Compare To Other Roofs?
To compare the price of installing a Tesla Solar Roof to reinstalling other roofs, we need to break down two components: the cost of installing solar panels and the costs of reinstalling a roof.
For a conventional solar installation, the average cost per Watt is approximately 2.75/Watt. That means, for an average home that installs a 7 kW solar panel system, the cost would be 19,250 (before solar incentives, such as the 30% solar tax credit ).
As you can see, the cost of installing solar panels is much less than the cost of installing a Tesla Roof. If you were not considering reinstalling your roof, just installing solar panels would be your best option.
However, what if you are also considering reinstalling your roof along with installing solar?
The average cost of replacing an asphalt shingle roof for a 2,000 square foot home comes out to approximately 7,000, according to homeguide.com. If we add this to the cost of installing solar panels (19,250, before incentives), the estimated cost would be 26,250.
On paper this example of installing solar panels and reshingling the roof would cost less than installing a Tesla Solar Roof. However, what if your roof is not made of asphalt shingles?
Below are cost estimates from homeguide.com for reinstalling different roofing materials. As you can see, the costs can vary quite a bit, but it can give you a good idea of the potential costs of reinstalling your roof. Combine this cost with the cost of installing solar panels (estimated 2.75 per Watt), and you will have an idea of how the price might compare to Tesla (estimated 21.85 per square foot).
Is The Tesla Solar Roof Worth It?
As you can see, there are many variables and many numbers to consider when comparing the Tesla Solar Roof with a conventional solar panel installation. It can be difficult to truly compare apples to apples.
In many cases, homeowners are not looking to reinstall their roof along with installing solar panels. In this case, just installing solar panels is usually a better option than installing a whole Tesla Solar Roof.
However, if you are considering reinstalling your roof along with installing solar panels, the pricing becomes more competitive. It would be a good idea to analyze the chart above to estimate how much reinstalling your roof might cost. From there you can speak with both your local solar company and Tesla to get an estimate of the cost for both options.
To get a free solar estimate, or if you have any questions about how solar works, Green Ridge Solar is here to help. Contact Green Ridge Solar today for a free solar analysis, or check out our Solar Calculator to see how much you could save with solar.
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