Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels Tiles: How to Pick Cost per Square Foot
When you decide to switch to solar energy power, you’ll likely notice the option to choose between solar shingles vs solar panels.
But, knowing how to pick between the two and how much of the cost per square foot will run can be critical to ensure that you maximize your budget and receive the most for your money.
The significant difference between solar shingles vs solar panels and tiles is their aesthetic features, where panels stand out while shingles fit into the roof, not easily detectable.
This complete guide explains the additional differences based on outstanding features like cost per square foot, output, size, installation, maintenance, and other aspects.
What Are Solar Shingles?
DOW company introduced solar shingles/ solar roof tiles in 2011.
They increased in popularity when Tesla launched them in 2016, and to date, more people are adopting them as an excellent solution to renewable energy use. 5
These shingles consist of thin PV panels that transform the sun’s energy into electricity that powers residential homes.
Manufacturers market it as a unique alternative to solar panels since they blend into your roof’s design.
It takes a keen eye to notice them since they become part of your roof. It works if you want to avoid the PV system sticking out from the top.
The downside of the panels is that they can’t ‘move’ to collect direct sunlight.
Solar panels equipped with tracking systems follow the path of the sun to maximize their output and efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Roof Shingles?
Not many understand how solar shingles work, but from experience, users hail them for their impressive aesthetics and modern convenience. For one, the shingles blend effortlessly into your roof, remaining inconspicuous to passers-by.
They look like polished asphalt shingles, ideal for homeowners who want solar power minus the sticking put panels. Tesla is also working to produce the shingles in fun colors matching various roof types.
Secondly, many solar roofs have advanced tech, facilitating tracking of energy output, making them more modern, unlike panels. They also increase your home’s value which is an excellent investment if you resell.
Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles
While solar roofs have incredible qualities, you should also watch out for some downsides as a first-time buyer. Since they are relatively new to the market, unlike panels, it is more challenging to find installers, and it can take a while to set them up.
The price tag is one of the deciding factors in the solar shingles vs. solar panels war. Solar roof tiles are comparatively pricier than panels, given their features, and many find them worth it only when they need to replace their roofs. 6
Another disadvantage is that shingles fit into the roof’s angle. Therefore, you cannot adjust them according to the sunlight.
(Image: National Institute of Standards and Technology 13 )
The power output will be too low if the spot doesn’t receive sufficient rays.
Moving houses also becomes challenging because you may have to leave them intact for the next buyer to avoid tampering with the roof.
Lastly, note that there are more shingles for every panel in the same square foot, increasing the points of failure due to several electrical connections. 3
What Are Solar Panels?
The use of solar power dates back to over 100 years ago when people used it for locomotion in steam production.
Only later did Edmond Becquerel discover the Photovoltaic effect of the sun’s rays, leading to the invention of the first solar cell.
Solar panels developed from this, harnessing the sun’s photons and using them to disrupt electrons in the photovoltaic (PV) cells, which generates a direct electrical current (DC).
Today there are various types of solar panels for all your household and commercial needs, efficiently powering appliances and equipment.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: How Do They Work?
Solar shingles and panels have the same working principle, transforming the sun’s rays into energy and electricity. The rays hit the shingles or the PV cells, and the system absorbs the light and does the rest.
The PV cells between the silicon materials and other semiconductors convert the sunlight into energy thanks to the electric field.
The shingles and panels working with the inverters transform the direct current to alternating current (AC) that powers all your home, vehicle, or appliances.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: Cost and Other Comparisons
Solar shingles vs solar panels are a dilemma for first-timers, causing the need to know how to pick the better version as per their needs.
They work the same but have distinct concepts, including design, efficiency, installation mode, and price points.
The following are the significant differences.
One of the most impressive features of solar shingles is how they enhance a building’s aesthetics. 7 They go unnoticed thanks to how effortlessly they integrate with your roof; you can install them in place of new roofs if you have renovation plans, saving money for new roofing systems.
They are trendy, attractive, sleek, and lightweight. In contrast, you will always spot solar panels since you install them on your roof.
They are more massive and seem bulkier, which is unsuitable for a subtle look.
Solar roof tiles are similar to standard shingles, measuring 12 by 86 inches and less than an inch thick. They weigh 13 pounds a square foot, making them lighter and more flexible than typical panels.
They don’t apply excessive pressure on your house; you don’t need to install brackets and mounts. However, the size of standard solar panel differs since they measure 39 by 65 inches and weigh 40 pounds. 2
It explains why installers insist that your roof should be in excellent condition before set up; otherwise, it won’t survive the panels’ weight.
Solar shingles and panels are long-serving, maintaining their efficiency for 25-30 years. Thanks to advanced tech and improved performance, they can withstand the harsh elements and stay effective for over two decades, after which their output declines.
Solar panels have circulated in the market for longer than solar shingles. They are available in most areas and are the go-to for many wanting to install solar power in their homes and businesses.
However, solar roof tiles are scarce due to less supply in the market. Only a few brands are currently manufacturing them, contributing to the long waiting time when you want to install them.
Solar roofing shingles cost more than twice the price of standard solar panels, ranging between 40,000- 60,000 before tax credit based on the manufacturer, type of roof, and how you want it installed.
Generally, it costs 15-25 per square foot.
Solar installation is usually costly, but panels are relatively friendlier, costing 15,000- 26,000. 8
If you are worried about how much do solar panels cost, you will find them the cheaper alternative, costing 4-10 a square foot.
If you are in a hurry to set up solar power, the best way to go is to install solar panels because the process takes only a day, and you can DIY to save on extra costs. The only rule is that your roof must be in excellent condition.
However, solar shingles installation takes longer, averaging a week or two, depending on the nature of your roof and the design you want. It is more skill intensive and tasking to DIY, and you may have to leave it to the professionals.
Another critical deciding factor to consider when comparing solar shingles and solar panels is their output levels. 4 Since you can adjust panels and point them directly beneath the sun’s rays, you can significantly improve their performance.
They usually produce 250-400W, which is higher than the performance of shingles. Solar roofs are less effective because you cannot adjust them, and they don’t allow for proper airflow beneath them.
Most produce only 13- 63W, lower than panel performance.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: Pros and Cons
Solar panels and roof tiles are fantastic ways to reduce your family or business’s carbon footprint. They work the same but are two different technologies, and the following breakdown may help you pick your favorite.
|Solar roof tiles are aesthetic, sleek, attractive, and modern.||They are more expensive.|
|They don’t stick out and can go undetected while on the roof.||They have a low power output, unlike panels.|
|They help increase your property’s value.||Their failure rate is higher.|
|They feature more advanced tech.||They are scarce in the market since they are new products.|
|They are more affordable||They are bulkier and stick out more while on the roof.|
|They are more readily available in the market.||Your roof must be intact before installation.|
|They are more efficient; have a high power outpu||They need more room on the roof since they are larger.|
|They are less likely to fail.|
|Installation is simple and takes a short time; you can DIY and customize it.|
Solar Shingles Can Be Nailed In
A striking difference between solar panels and shingles is their installation methods. However, manufacturers like GAF Energy have introduced a new solar tile concept where you nail the sheets onto your roof.
The best aspect of this design is that installation takes a day or two, unlike conventional shingles, which need more than a week.
Additionally, the shingles that you nail down are usually cheaper.
When To Use Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels
The Tesla solar roof, courtesy of Tesla energy, is an impressive design gradually gaining traction in the market. 9 Like other products from the company, it is high-tech and sleek and stands out from other designs from various manufacturers.
You can go for it if the budget is not an issue, although it is usually a deal breaker for many first-timers. It costs almost thrice the price of standard solar panels, but you get your money’s worth if going for the aesthetic appeal.
If panels stick out too much for you, subtle solar roof tiles are better options. They are also lighter and slimmer; you don’t need extra support or harnesses to keep them up.
Are Solar Shingles Right For You?
One of the first questions from homeowners is, are solar shingles worth it? They are new to the scene, highly innovative, and have an impeccable design, but with some downsides.
They are more expensive and less efficient than solar panels.
(Image: National Renewable Energy Laboratory 14 )
However, improving your house’s value and wanting an inconspicuous look is worth the investment. It often goes unnoticed and integrates effortlessly with your roof.
It is also long-lasting, like panels, and can serve you for over 20 years. 1
Solar panels and shingles are viable solutions to help reduce your utility bills while being kind to the environment. 10 Solar roof tiles win in aesthetics thanks to their sleek, lightweight, and modern design.
The only challenge is that they cost more per square foot and are less efficient than panels.
On the contrary, solar panels are cheaper, more effective, and readily available. The problem is that they are heavier, which can be a detriment on an older roof installation.
The solar shingles vs solar panels comparison is close because each has a fair share of ups and downsides, and the solution narrows down to personal preference.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels, Which Is Expensive?
Given the advanced sleek design, solar shingles are more expensive than panels. They retail at and cost 40,000- 60,000 before tax credit.
In contrast, solar panels are significantly cheaper, at 4-10 a square foot, and usually cost 15,000- 26,000, making them ideal if you are on a budget.
How Much Does Solar Roof Cost?
A solar roof is the most expensive in the market, and it can set you back 40 000- 60 000 based on factors like the brand and installation method.
It is usually 15-25 per square foot, hence only affordable for some homeowners. However, the sleek, lightweight look is worth every penny if your budget is flexible.
What Are Solar Shingles Cost Per Square Foot?
Solar roof tiles are the pricier option of other designs, considering that it is a new tech and careful construction that fits into roofs. They usually cost 15-25 per square foot, the most expensive rate in the solar power market.
Are There Solar Panels That Look Like Shingles?
Since there are many solar panel manufacturers in the market, tight competition leads to designing slimmer and lightweight panels. You can check your local stores for brands that produce the sleekest design.
They may not precisely look or work like solar roof tiles but may come close in design and tech advancements. The installation method will also be the same as any other panel, but the different look makes it stand out.
1 Greenlancer. (2022, May 18). Solar Shingles Vs. Solar Panels. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Greenlancer
2 Magerl, K. (2022, October 28). Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels: What Are the Differences? Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Lawn Starter
3 Noor, U. (2020, June 24). SOLAR SHINGLES VS. SOLAR PANELS: CONSIDERATIONS, BEST PRACTICES AND MORE. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from 8M Solar
4 Stillwell, D. (2022, July 17). Solar shingles vs. solar panels. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Consumer Affairs
5 This Old House. (2023, October 3). Should You Buy Solar Shingles? Retrieved March 25, 2023, from This Old House
6 National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2000). Solar Roofing Shingles: Office of Power Technologies (OPT) Success Stories Series Fact Sheet. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
7 Kinkaid, M. (2021, December 10). Solar Panels: Are Aesthetics Important Than the Environment? [email protected] of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
8 National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (n.d.). Solar Manufacturing Cost Analysis. Solar Market Research Analysis. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
9 Wikipedia. (n.d.). Tesla Energy. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
10 US Department of Energy. (n.d.). Reducing Electricity Use and Costs. Energy Saver. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
13 National Institute of Standards and Technology. US Department of Commerce. Retrieved from
Tesla Solar Reviews, Panels, and Installation
Do Tesla’s solar panels live up to the hype? Read our in-depth review to get all your questions answered.
- Fast Facts
- Benefits Drawbacks
- Tesla Solar Reviews
- Tesla Overview
- Cost Payment
- Our Recommendation
Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Although Tesla started as an auto company, it made a name for itself in the solar industry when it unveiled its solar roof in 2016. The product has a modern, eye-catching roof design that uses small solar panels to mimic the appearance of regular roof shingles. This sleek look, combined with Tesla’s widely recognizable name, has made it a popular choice among homeowners. But how good are Tesla solar panels, really?
We analyzed solar panel specifications, industry trends, customer service reviews, and more to determine the top solar energy companies available to put this to the test. This Tesla solar panels review covers the company’s products, payment options, reputation, services, and more.
Important Note: Tesla makes solar panels and batteries, but it doesn’t install them. Choose from one of the Tesla certified installers below to install your Tesla solar products.
Offers unique solar roofs for low-key aesthetic Offers 24/7 active monitoring Produces its own solar battery, the Powerwall
Available in 50 states Has been in the industry since 1985 Provides its own monocrystalline solar panels
Available in 23 states 25-year warranties for the product, labor, and inverter Power protection guarantee
25-year workmanship and product warranty Perks for new construction homeowners Available in 20 states
Fast Facts About Tesla
BBB rating is accurate as of April 2023.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Tesla
Tesla Solar Reviews
We analyzed the 100 most recent additions to Google Reviews for Tesla ’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Overall, the reviews were mixed, with 47% being three stars or less. However, these reviews also covered Tesla’s cars, not just its solar products. Customers primarily complained that Tesla doesn’t have human customer service representatives. People also had difficulty scheduling repairs for products like its solar battery, the Powerwall. positive reviews praise the quality of Tesla’s products and the company’s efforts to make renewable energy accessible. Read what some customers had to say below.
“ Absolutely love our … Solar Panels : We had a 5 kW system and upgraded to 10 kW, customer service was top notch, and the whole experience was delightful (both times). Powerwalls : A MUST if you’re getting solar … love the app, look at it three times/day. Always a fun challenge to get below net grid usage. Welcome to the future built by Tesla. … We are largely energy independent. Thank you, Tesla Team! ” —Aaron Nutten via Google Reviews
“ The salespeople are very helpful, and they answer all questions you may have…. ” —Libby Chang via Google Reviews
“ I’ve called customer service four separate times, and I still don’t have access to automatic billing in my Tesla Account. Terrible customer service. ” —Brandon T. via Google Reviews
“ Tesla energy use[s] deceptive practices and conman sales tactics! First off, it took over two years from the date of the deposit to installation of the two Powerwalls ! And before installation they were going to finance the project at 2.5% and get me the SGIP rebates. I was told in emails and verbally that Tesla would file the SGIP rebate documents with the utility company…. Now after the project is completed I’m being told that they can no longer file the SGIP forms, and I will have to pay full price for the project. ” —Jay Garden via Google Reviews
Tesla has been making a name for itself in alternative energy with its electric vehicles (EVs) since 2003. In 2016, it acquired SolarCity and began providing renewable energy products for residential solar energy systems. It later introduced the Tesla Powerwall solar battery, which has become one of the most popular solar batteries on the market. Tesla is also known for its solar roofs. Rather than simply placing solar panels on your existing roof, the Tesla solar roof uses minimalistic solar panels to create a new roof with no visible grid. a concealed edge, and a low profile. This makes the Tesla panels look like typical roof shingles and offers a modern, less noticeable style. Tesla’s solar roofs also use monocrystalline solar panels. the most efficient currently available. Tesla’s solar products and services are available in all 50 states but vary according to zip code. We recommend checking with the company to see whether it services your home’s address. Get your Solar quote today.
Professional Tesla Solar Roof Installers You Can Trust
Considering a new roof? Get the ULTIMATE in new roof design.
The Tesla Solar Roof offers a beautiful new roof as well as clean solar power for your home. An all-in one solution, a Tesla Solar Roof costs a similar amount to premium roofing tiles plus solar panels.
If you’ve been looking for a solar power option but have been limited because your Home Owners Association prohibits solar panels – consider the Tesla Solar Roof.
With a fully integrated design, Tesla solar roof tiles combine both solar and non solar tiles to create a cohesive look. Each solar and non-solar tile is virtually indistinguishable in color and trim. Your brand-new roof looks incredible from any angle. View our Tesla Solar Roof Project Gallery!
Keep your home cool and comfortable by allowing hot air to vent with high-quality underlayment and integrated air gaps.
Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels
As we’ve mentioned, Tesla glass solar roof tiles are far less bulky than traditional solar panels and are also more durable.
Those aren’t the only advantages of this newer technology, however. and more homeowners have been trying them out and reaping the benefits, and we’ve been hearing amazing feedback:
- Extra home value. If you do decide to sell your home at some point, this modern feature will be eye-catching to prospective buyers.
- Full roof upgrade. These tiles don’t sit on top of your roof–they are part of your roof. So making this upgrade will also give you a brand new roof to enjoy!
- Beautiful design. These tiles aren’t just undetectable as solar pieces. They also come in a few different styles to complement your home.
Tesla Solar Roof Warranty
Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles and engineered for all-weather durability. The Tesla Solar Roof installed by AES has a 25-year “No Leaks” Weatherization Warranty. And it’s backed by the level of quality and innovation you have come to expect from the Tesla brand.
How Much Does the Tesla Solar Roof Cost?
The Tesla Solar Roof is a premium roof. You should anticipate a cost of 20-30 per square foot in addition to the solar power capacity at 2.20/watt. Potentially the entire solar roof is eligible for the 30% federal tax credit. The cost is similar to other premium roofing plus traditional solar panels.
To get a firm estimate on your Tesla Roof cost, call us at (770) 691-0966 or send us an email.
Tesla Roofs cost a comparable amount to other premium roofing materials, and you get a roof that can actually save you money year after year. Not only will the Tesla Solar Roof increase the property value of your home, it will save you money on your monthly electric bill and bring you a return on your investment that increases every time the utility raises its rates for decades into the future.
Couple Your Tesla Solar Roof Installation with a Backup Power System
Combine Tesla Solar Roof with a Tesla Powerwall to rely less on utility power and back up your home during a grid outage. Control your system with 24/7 mobile monitoring from anywhere in the world.
AES is a trusted Tesla Solar Roof installer in Clarke County and across the state of Georgia. For a free estimate, call (770) 691-0966 today or click below to contact us online.
Tesla Solar Roof: the complete review
In October 2019, Tesla Motors announced the launch of the Tesla Solar Roof V3, the company’s third version of its integrated solar glass shingle. Among several updates, version three included larger tiles, lower production costs, increased power density, and a more straightforward installation process.
Additionally, the total number of parts in the product decreased. Tesla predicted that these changes would significantly reduce the cost of the product; however, the company has continued to struggle with expediting its solar roof installations.
The Tesla Solar Roof: EnergySage’s take
While Tesla is most famous for its electric vehicles (EVs), the company’s future lies in total clean energy integration – a one-step carbon reduction process that involves pairing solar panels with your Tesla EV. For home owners who want the benefits of solar without the “look” of solar, the Tesla Solar Roof provides an enticing alternative: but is this luxury roof the right option for you?
What’s in this article?
There’s a lot in here, and we’ll try to speak to every aspect of the solar roof. Skip ahead to any of the sections below:
- What are solar shingles?
- Latest news on the solar roof
- Solar Roof key events timeline
- Solar roof specifications
- Cost estimates
- Should you wait for the Tesla Solar Roof?
- Tesla’s competitors
The Tesla Solar Roof: what you need to know
Some solar industry stakeholders believe that solar needs to be rebranded as an aesthetic and technical improvement that can be a part of a home renovation rather than a hefty module affixed to your rooftop. That sentiment was emphasized in Elon Musk’s October 2016 launch of Tesla’s first roofing product. With the Solar Roof, the company aims to bring solar further into the mainstream by removing any sort of aesthetic concerns that homeowners may have.
“I think there’s quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not, I think it’s going to be a night-and-day difference,” said Musk in a statement before the official launch of Tesla’s first solar roof. Two months later, he unveiled the solar roof using a crowded, suburban event in California to demonstrate that Tesla’s panel design was so seamlessly integrated that the entire audience of press needed to be altered to its presence on the house in front of them.
Using a Tesla Powerwall home battery with the Tesla Solar Roof
Tesla Solar Roofs come paired with energy storage in the form of a Tesla Powerwall battery. The Tesla Powerwall boasts a maximum power rating of 7 kW with no sun or 9.6 kW with full sun to go along with 13.5 kWh of usable capacity. It can also help provide solar power to your home during a power outage. It also comes with the Tesla app that allows users to monitor their energy production in real- time. Tesla Powerwalls are eligible for the federal tax credit.
What’s the latest news on the Tesla Solar Roof tiles?
Tesla has now installed Solar Roofs across the country, though the exact number of installations is unclear. This solar product has been gaining popularity among some consumers, leading to long installation wait times for customers who sign contracts. In April 2021, many of these customers were shocked when they received emails from Tesla quoting higher installation costs than their contract prices. The lack of explanation and transparency caused confusion and frustration among consumers, especially if they could no longer afford the hefty price tag.
During Tesla’s quarterly earnings call in April 2021, CEO Elon Musk affirmed that demand “remains strong” for the Tesla Solar Roof, despite increases in Solar Roof pricing. He did concede that Tesla “basically made some significant mistakes in assessing the difficulty of certain roofs.” Tesla has added roof complexity information to its website and a roof complexity disclaimer to its Solar Roof calculator; however, Tesla notes that your roof complexity won’t be determined until after you place an order for a Solar Roof. Tesla divides the complexity into three categories–simple, intermediate, and complex–based on the following criteria:
- Simple: single-level roof, uncrowded mounting planes, few obstructions (pipes, chimneys, skylights), low pitch
- Intermediate: multi-level roof (roof sections built on multiple stories of your house), more crowded mounting plane, more obstructions (pipes, chimneys, skylights), higher pitch
- Complex: multi-level roof (roof sections built on multiple stories of your house), heavily crowded mounting plane, many obstructions (pipes, chimneys, skylights), steep pitch
Based on previous reports, the price of a Tesla Solar Roof varies substantially depending on your roof’s complexity.
Timeline of key Tesla Solar Roof news and announcements
Tesla seems to have a pattern of overpromising and underdelivering in regard to its solar roof. Here’s a breakdown of what the past several years have looked like for the company and its customers.
- April 2016: Tesla purchases Solarcity and begins production on solar panels and the solar roof.
- May 2017: Tesla began taking orders for its Tesla solar tiles
- August 2017: Elon Musk revealed that he and another Tesla executive already had the roof installed on their respective properties.
- January 2018: The company announced it was ramping up production of the roof product at its Buffalo Gigafactory. Tesla then started initial installations with customers at the top of its waitlist in the California area in mid-March, roughly eight months after its initial estimate.
- May 2018: Tesla had about 11,000 orders for the solar roof and it was struggling to meet the demand.
- August 2018: Only 12 solar roofs had been installed in California, the leading state in the country for solar.
- September 2018: A report was released stating that solar roofs may not be widely installed for a long time. According to CNBC, Musk said they needed more time to work out all the details. “There’s only so much accelerated life testing that you can do on a roof. So before we can deploy it at a large number of houses we need to make sure that it’s that all elements of the roof are going to last for at least three decades,” said Musk in a summer 2018 meeting. The statement lacked both commitment and a clear timeline.
- November 2018: According to a Bloomberg report, the company began ramping up production, implementing 24/7 operating hours with about 80 employees per shirt for solar roof shingle production alone. Tesla’s head of energy operations, Sanjay Shah, stated that Tesla was gearing up for the solar roof side of its business to see “tremendous growth in 2019.” Musk himself tweeted that the first solar roof deployments would begin around summer 2019.
- June 2019: Despite continued delays and earnings losses, Musk tweeted that he hoped to manufacture about 1,000 solar roofs per week by the end of 2019.
- October 2019: Tesla announced the Tesla Solar Roof V3, which featured updates to increase manufacturing and deployment, and reduce prices.
- Late 2020: Tesla experienced some achievements for its solar roofs throughout the year, almost tripling its installations between quarter one and quarter two. In quarter four, Tesla announced that it had “made great progress growing [its] solar roof deployments,” but didn’t provide date to back up its claim.
- April 2021: Tesla Solar Roof customers have continued to experience delays and a lack of transparency from Tesla.
- May 2021: Some customers sued Tesla over unexpected hikes.
- June 2021: electrek confirmed that Tesla’s head of energy operations had left the company after months of rumors.
- October 2021: Tesla expanded solar roof installations to anywhere in the United States.
- November 2021: electrek announced that Solar Roof tiles will be more efficient, have higher capacity, and might be able to be installed over existing roofs.
Tesla Solar Roof specifications: what are you getting?
If you’re interested in installing a Tesla Solar Roof, you’re probably wondering what you’re getting of each solar shingle. We’ll explain some of the specifications of the Solar Roof:
Despite previous announcements about multiple design offerings–including tuscan glass tile, slate glass tile, textured glass tile, and smooth glass tile–the Tesla Solar Roof is only currently available in one shingle design. According to Tesla’s website, each shingle has a dimension of 15 inches by 45 inches, is 5 mm thick, and is made of glass, polymers, fiberglass, and silicon. The shingle is designed to resemble a traditional asphalt shingle.
Tesla provides 25-year product, weatherization, and module warranties, comparable to leading solar panel brands. The warranty also guarantees that your Solar Roof will be at least 95 percent of its “Rated Peak Power” at five years following installation and that it will decline by no more than 0.5 percent per year for the following 20 years –essentially guaranteeing 85 percent output in year 25. Its inverter has a 12.5-year warranty, which aligns with warranties for other string inverter brands; however, this warranty is lower than warranties for many microinverters, which are often 20 to 25 years.
How much does the Tesla Solar Roof cost?
With the new complexity categories explained above, it’s a bit difficult to fully estimate the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof. The cost varies significantly depending on whether your roof is “simple” or “complex” and depending on the square footage of your roof. If you have a fairly small – and not too complex – roof that you already need to replace, the price of a Solar Roof will probably be fairly comparable to that of a new asphalt roof installation plus solar panels. However, as you increase the size and/or complexity of your roof, you can expect this number quickly skyrocket.
Should you wait for the Tesla Solar Roof?
Standard solar panel technologies are typically evaluated based on their performance, durability, and warranties. However, Tesla’s lack of transparency makes it difficult to compare to traditional solar panels. Four years after the initial launch of Tesla’s solar roof, the company still hasn’t revealed the shingles’ efficiency and customers are still experiencing long wait times and surprise price increases.
If you’re in dire need of a roof upgrade or if you won’t need a roof upgrade for a while, the Tesla Solar Roof may not be worth your long wait. Solar panels are extremely dependable (and we think they look great, too!). However, if you need to upgrade your roof soon (but not immediately) and your roof isn’t too complex or large, you may be a good candidate for the Tesla Solar Roof. Additionally, if you’re set on the look and have the capital to cover the cost, the system may be the best choice for you, though it may be worth your while to compare the Tesla Solar Roof to other solar roof products.
Tesla’s solar shingles are best suited for new construction
Most existing solar shingle technologies are also known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) because they are integrated with your existing roof and are a similar size and shape to standard roof tiles. Tesla has created something different. In August 2016, Musk first explained the difference between solar shingles and Tesla’s solar roof: “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof.”
Unlike other solar shingles, Tesla’s roof tiles are designed to completely replace your existing roof (though electrek did recently report that you may soon be able to install them over existing roofs). As a result, the most cost-effective way to install them is when your home is being built, which means that they are best suited for homebuyers who have a say in the design and materials of their newly constructed home. While this doesn’t mean that they can’t be used on existing homes, retrofitting your roof with Tesla solar tiles means removing your existing roof (which Tesla will do for you). As a result, retrofitting your roof with Tesla solar tiles is only practical when your roof is already due to be replaced.
Who are Tesla’s solar roof competitors?
Though the buzz around Tesla’s illustrious roof product has made it appear like it’s a new concept, it is merely the continued repackaging brilliance that some call the “Musk effect.” Development of solar roof tiles and solar shingles has been evolving for many years, and a number of companies have taken a stab at designing a versatile, subtle rooftop solar medium that could be considered a genuine roofing material rather than a module add-on. Here are some of Tesla’s solar roof competitors that offer similar BIPV products:
- Luma – these solar shingles can be integrated with all roofing material and install similarly to traditional metal roofing. Luma markets its product as the only upgradable solar shingle system and boasts an efficiency of 22.1 percent.
- Suntegra – this Northeast solar manufacturer is at the forefront of the solar roof product line. The company hails from New York and began offering its two solar roof products just a few months before the announcement of Tesla’s shingles. Suntegra’s solar shingles are designed to be integrated with low-profile roof materials and are about 15.9 to 17.2 percent efficient. Its solar tiles are slightly less efficient at 13.9 to 15.1 percent and are designed to be integrated with standard flat concrete tile roofs.
- CertainTeed – originally a roofing company, this contractor now offers two solar roof products, with similar integration strategies to Suntegra. Its Apollo II system includes solar shingles to match low-profile roofs, which are about 15.4 percent efficient. CertainTeed’s Apollo Tile II system integrates solar tiles with flat concrete tiles roofs and its tiles are about 16 percent efficient.
It’s important to note that the solar shingles and tiles offered by these companies do still stand out against other roofing material. None can compete with Tesla in terms of aesthetics or subtlety, but they do offer low-profile BIPV solutions that may alleviate aesthetic concerns for some solar shoppers.
Frequently asked questions about the Tesla Solar Roof
While the cost of switching to solar is high, and the news and information surrounding Tesla Solar Roofs can be confusing or nearly obsolete, it’s important to research each product, company, and topic before making a decision. Learn more about the Tesla Solar Roof by reading these commonly asked questions:
Depending on your location, Tesla will send its own installers or contractors to set up your system after purchasing a Solar Roof.
Tesla claims that their shingles are three times stronger than the average roof tile and are built to endure all weather conditions. They have the highest fire rating (Class A) and are built to withstand 110 mph winds (Class F), so you can feel confident even in extreme weather conditions.
Tesla offers a 25-year warranty on the system’s tiles, power, and weatherization. Plus, its inverter has a 12.5-year warranty, giving homeowners peace of mind regarding their investment.
Learn how much solar can save you today before you make your decision
Just as Tesla doesn’t make electric vehicles for the masses, Tesla’s solar roof isn’t feasible for every home. In many ways, the company’s solar roof product is similar to its first electric car. If you are an early adopter of newer technologies, don’t care about price, and are prepared to wait for a product with an uncertain manufacturing timeline, then waiting for Tesla’s solar roof could be the right decision for you.
Additionally, waiting to go solar has its risks, even if you’re interested in the solar roof. The cost of going solar is falling every year, and there are premium solar panels already available today that come with high-efficiency ratings and a sleek black design. If you wait years for the Tesla Solar Roof, you will lose out on years of savings on your electricity bill. You also run the risk of missing out on financial incentives for solar: many state tax credits have already expired and as of now, the federal investment tax credit for solar will be lowered to 22 percent in 2023.
Before you make the decision to wait for the Tesla Solar Roof, use our solar calculator to learn how much you can save today by going solar. If you’re ready to explore the solar options for your home, join the EnergySage Marketplace and get custom quotes from solar installers in your area. You might be surprised by just how much you can save now by installing traditional solar panels on your roof.
Where to buy solar roof tiles
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Looking to go solar? Here’s everything you need to know in… Solar shingles: what you need to know in 2023 Best solar panels in 2023: Top products compared Tesla Solar Roof cost vs. solar panels Solar farms: what are they and how do they work?
About Emily Walker
With over five years of experience in environmental science and clean energy, Emily is an expert in solar, battery, and energy management technology and policy. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and Biology from Colby College. Emily is always looking for ways to live her life more sustainably and is currently in the process of electrifying her home.