Tesla Is Trialing Version 3.5 Of Their Solar Roof
Tesla employees are currently benefiting from lower energy bills and lower carbon footprints as they’re testing out the latest Tesla solar roofing system. In 2019, the company pledged to install 1,000 solar roofs every week. But three years on and they’re yet to hit this target. Now Solar Roof Version 3.5 is here, so will it take off better than its predecessors?
What’s new with Version 3.5?
Version 3.5 of Tesla’s Solar Roof is very hush-hush at the moment. All that’s known is that Tesla wants its solar roofs to be durable, easy to install, affordable, and reliable. Should the Tesla employees testing out the new roofing system at the moment be happy with the way it works and no problems are reported, a widespread installation of Version 3.5 should start in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Tesla was hoping that their Solar Roofing system would really take off and there was lots of hype about it. But 2022 has been a disappointing year for the company. In December 2021, Tesla revealed that they were having problems sourcing solar panels. Then, in early 2022, they announced that they were pausing solar roof installations altogether due to supply issues. There were reports of solar tiles being stuck in a port in LA. Tesla’s New York Gigafactory was also reportedly unable to get hold of solar cells.
Hopefully, Tesla is now gearing up to get at least 1,000 solar roofing systems installed per week, as originally planned. A Tesla Solar Roof is designed to replace the roof of a property. Tesla provides a lifelong warranty with their Solar Roof so it’s a good investment for businesses. A Solar Roof differs from installing solar panels on a roof which are usually mounted on top of the roof. Solar panels typically have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years. The roof of a home should have the same lifespan left. If not, a new roof should be installed before solar panels are put on, especially if it’s a commercial premise. Downtime in business costs money, as atlantacommercialroofingcon tractors.com understands. They say “We understand the importance of re-roofing occupied commercial buildings so that there is little to no interruptions on the operation of the facility. Thus, our roof installations are well-planned for maximum efficiency.”
Understanding a Solar Roof
When a Tesla Solar Roof is purchased, the company installs electricity-producing shingles as a roof. These are more aesthetically pleasing than traditional solar panels and look like a typical roof to most people. A Solar Roof can produce an output as high as 71.67 watts, but all this comes at a cost. 21.85 per square foot is the quoted cost from Tesla. But, it remains to be seen whether Tesla will change their when Version 3.5 is released later this year.
Version 3.5 of Tesla’s Solar Roof is imminent and it looks like it will be the best version yet. Let’s hope that Tesla can get hold of the materials needed to get as many of these roofing systems installed as possible.
Tesla Solar Roof: To Wait or Not To Wait?
The Tesla solar roof sounds like everything that our favorite 80’s era sci-fi novels and movies promised the future would bring. At Southern Energy Management, we’re just as excited about the Tesla solar roof as everyone else. And, as one of North Carolina’s select Certified Tesla Powerwall Installers, you can bet that we’ve got our eyes on all the latest news on Tesla solar shingles.
One of the big questions, though, is “When will Tesla’s Solar Roof be available?” The short answer is that Tesla’s solar shingle product is still in the very early stages of launching on the East Coast.
Since Tesla’s solar shingle system is so new, especially in North Carolina, and because the pricing and energy savings for the roof are unclear, our stance is that if you’re interested in going solar in the next 5 years, your best option is going to be the tried-and-true panel technology that has been tested and continually improved since the 1970s. In the rest of this post, we’ll dive deeper into our reasons for that opinion so you can decide for yourself. But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what the solar roof is.
What is the Tesla Solar Roof?
Tesla’s Solar Roof is made up of photovoltaic cells integrated into shingles. Tesla is not the first company to launch a solar shingle – we installed some of Dow’s now discontinued solar shingles in 2014 – but they’re definitely the sexiest attempt to date. Solar shingles function in the same way as traditional solar panels: photovoltaic cells convert photons from the sun’s rays into electricity.
A solar roof consists of both active and passive shingles. The active shingles do the actual work of producing energy for your home. The passive shingles are used on areas of your roof that aren’t suitable for the active cells – either because of building regulations or lack of solar potential – to maintain a uniform appearance.
Previously, there was talk of 4 solar shingle styles: Tuscan, Slate, Textured, and Smooth Glass. As of now, Tesla is only advertising a shingle that appears most like the Textured Glass option.
Tesla Solar Shingle Specs
Tesla’s solar shingles are a sleek, slate grey at 15”x45” and come with a 25 year tile, power, and weatherization warranty. The tiles have an ASTM D3161 Class F wind rating, and a ANSI FM 4473 Class 3 hail rating. That’s all fancy jargon to say the tiles are tested to hold up to 110mph winds and 1 ¾ inch hail.
When will the Tesla solar roof arrive in North Carolina?
A few installers have started to offer Tesla’s solar roof in North Carolina. Right now, NC homeowners who are getting solar shingles installed are paying a price premium to be in the front of the line.
As a Certified Tesla Powerwall Installer, we’ve talked with Tesla about the solar roof and previewed the product. At this point, we’re continuing to offer Tesla’s traditional PV panels, but not their shingle roof material. We love the Poweralls, solar panels, and solutions Tesla continues to put out, but since their solar roof product is still so new, with such complex technology behind it, we don’t want our customers to be first in line to experience the kinks of a first generation product. We know the Tesla solar roof is going to be a game changer and we’ll be on board as soon as we feel that this product has proven long term success for our customers.
If getting Tesla’s solar roof is make or break for you on your solar journey, we have good news — there are other solar companies in NC that have taken on rolling out this product! Tesla is also currently taking 100 refundable deposits to hold your place in line through their online ordering portal. That being said, there is no guarantee for when your solar roof will be installed (or by which contracted installer).
Each Powerwall installed between now and October 31, 2023 is eligible for a 500 rebate from Tesla. We’re also offering an extra 1,000 discount when you install a Powerwall with your solar system.
Solar Roof vs Solar Panels
There are two major differences between a solar roof and a traditional solar panel system — complexity and price.
Talk with any roofer or solar company that has worked with the solar shingle product, we’ll bet they’ll tell you that the Tesla solar roof is one of the most complex and intricate roofing systems that they have ever seen. An average 8kw solar roof will have around 460 solar shingles, which means there are 460 wiring connection points on your roof (or 460 possible break points). On the other hand, a traditional solar system for this size will include around 25 solar panels, meaning 25 connections.
With a traditional solar system, you can also get panel level solar monitoring so you would know exactly when a panel is underperforming while being able to pinpoint exactly where the problem is in your system. This level of monitoring just isn’t available yet for the solar roof, making it a challenge to quickly address any issues when they come up.
Next on the list is price. Tesla’s Solar Roof website has a slick calculator that takes your address and uses Google’s Project Sunroof to automatically generate a Solar Roof solution for your home. While the tool is fun to play with, the and energy savings it estimates don’t impress us when compared to traditional solar panels. Let’s take a deeper dive into price differences between the Tesla Solar roof and traditional solar panels.
Tesla Solar Roof
In 2020, Weddle Sons became the nation’s first Certified Tesla Solar Roof Installers. The certified installer program is offered by Tesla to help third-party companies to effectively install solar roofs. Since then, we have continued to collaborate with Tesla, providing hands-on information and techniques that allow Tesla to further streamline their installer program.
You won’t find a roofing company more qualified to install Tesla Solar Roof than Weddle Sons.
Contact us today so we can tell you how we can leverage our expertise to provide a world-class installation of a cutting-edge product.
Why Tesla Solar Roof?
Tesla Solar Roof is a premium roofing product as well as an incredible solar product. It’s extremely durable and provides an appealing and sleek aesthetic. Solar Roof works together with other Tesla products, like the Powerwall, to create energy independence, to offset your carbon footprint, and to give your home an amazing, modern style.
If you’re interested in a solar product, either Solar Roof or traditional solar panels, our experts can help determine the right choice for you!
How To Buy A Tesla Solar Roof
Step 1: Estimate Tool
Request a free estimate for the price of a Solar Roof on your home. One of our Sales Representatives will review your submission to ensure your estimate accurately reflects your project.
Step 2: Video Call
After you submit your project details you will receive an invitation to a video call with a sales representative to discuss your solar roof project. In this video call, our sales representative will walk you through the initial designs and arriving at an initial estimated install price.
Step 3: Design
Based on the initial estimate, if you decide Solar Roof could be right for your home, you can move into the formal design phase. In this phase we work with you to more thoroughly evaluate your solar energy goals, project requirements, and production potential for different solar roof configurations.
Step 4: Order Install
Before the final installation, we prepare all the necessary permitting and documents to make sure your home, city, and electric company are ready for your Solar Roof.
Tesla Solar Roof FAQs
How long is the wait for Tesla Solar Roofs?
Our wait times to begin installing Tesla Solar Roofs are 2-3 months, depending on the project. Smaller, simpler projects may begin more quickly, while larger, more complex projects may take longer to begin. We encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so we can schedule your project and get to work!
Can a Tesla Roof power a house?
Tesla Solar Roof can easily power most homes. Weddle Sons will consider several factors to make sure that your solar roof can provide adequate power to your home. Many of those factors include: Kilowatt Production We’ll make sure that your solar roof is capable of the kilowatt production (or electricity generation) your home needs. For large homes that have several power hungry appliances, like hot tubs and large HVAC systems, your kilowatt needs will be larger. Smaller homes with fewer appliances will need less kilowatt production. Weddle Sons will perform an energy audit during the design phase of your Solar Roof, so we’ll know exactly how much kilowatt production your home will need. Roof Design Not all roofs are capable of the same solar capture. Complicated roofs may need more photovoltaic tiles capable of solar capture compared to simple, flat roofs. Our design experts will make sure we know how many photovoltaic tiles are needed, and even if your roof design works with Solar Roof. Energy Independence Many of our solar product customers want to be as independent from the electric grid as possible. While not all municipalities allow for true independence, we’ll make sure you maximize your solar capture and energy production. Our design experts may recommend Powerwall, a home battery, to store excess electric production for when solar capture is low, like at night.
Does Tesla Solar Roof increase home value?
- Carbon footprint reduction
- Energy Independence
- Selling energy to the grid (depending on where you live)
Tesla Solar Roof also offers unique benefits not found with other solar products, like:
- A sleek, modern aesthetic
- A premium, durable roof
- Compatibility with products like Powerwall to aid in energy independence
Getting a Tesla Solar Roof is a great investment into your home. Not only will you get a cutting-edge solar product, you’re also receiving a premium roof.
Can you go off-grid with a Powerwall and Tesla Solar Roof?
It is possible to go off-grid with a Powerwall and a Tesla Solar Roof, but going off-grid requires more than just having these two products. If you want to be completely off-grid, you’ll need to have all of the following:
Sufficient Kilowatt Production (or Solar Capture)
If your roof isn’t capable of capturing enough sunlight for your electric needs, then you won’t be able to go off-grid. Weddle Sons will perform an energy audit of how much energy you currently use. Depending on the layout of your roof, it may not be possible to be completely off-grid, though our technicians will be able to determine this during your free consultation.
Living in a Municipality or Having a Utility That Allows You to Be Off-Grid
Unfortunately, even if you have the hardware and kilowatt production required to be off-grid, sometimes it’s simply not allowed. Local municipalities and utility companies often require you to be connected to the energy grid. Some will even cap how many kilowatts your roof is allowed to produce.
If you aren’t sure whether you’re allowed to go off-grid, our Certified Installers will let you know about energy regulations specific to your location and electric utility.
Do I get a tax credit with Tesla Solar Roof?
In 2022, your Tesla Solar Roof will be eligible for a tax credit equal to 26% of the total cost of the project. This includes the material costs and the installation costs. We guarantee we’ll get you the best tax credit available for your solar project.
How much energy can Tesla Solar Roof generate?
A Tesla Solar Roof can generate an enormous range of energy, starting from very low production for small homes to large production for larger homes or businesses. The lowest kilowatt roof we have installed was a 4KW roof, while the highest we have installed is a 51KW roof. Those aren’t lower and upper limits, it’s just the range of what our customers have needed!
How much kilowatts your Solar Roof can produce is largely based on the photovoltaic tiles (or PV tiles) used to build your roof. Each tile produces 72W of energy, but your roof will also have basic tempered glass tiles that can’t produce energy. Our Solar Roof experts will determine how many PV tiles are needed to satisfy your energy needs.
Remember, sometimes local regulations will limit how many kilowatts your roof can produce, so it’s possible you won’t have enough PV tiles to meet all of your energy needs and truly go off-grid. We’ll let you know about the specific regulations in your area and how much kilowatts your roof will be allowed to produce.
Does Tesla Solar price include installation?
When you receive a price quote from us, it will include both materials and installation costs. You won’t need to worry about surprise fees or expenses. Remember, the 26% tax credit you’ll receive on your Solar Roof includes material and installation costs.
How long does it take to install a Tesla Solar Roof?
- The size of your roof. Larger roofs take more time.
- The design of your roof. Steep and/or complex roof designs will take longer to install.
- Required permits. The more permits that are required to be able to begin construction, the longer the overall install time will take.
- Weather. Severe weather (like ice, snow, and thunderstorms) will delay installation times.
Finally, the local utility may delay when you can begin using your Solar Roof. Even after installation is complete, the utility will need to take action to formally connect it to the grid, when required. We’ll give you a rough estimate of how long it will take, depending on your location.
What is the difference between Solar Roof and traditional solar panels?
Traditional solar panels are fixtures that are installed on your roof. Their kilowatt production is comparable to Solar Roof, and sometimes they are a better choice for roofs that have a design that just doesn’t work for the PV tiles used in Solar Roof installations. Like Solar Roof, traditional panels reduce your carbon footprint and are a step towards energy independence.
Solar Roof, on the other hand, is the roof. The PV tiles and non-functional tempered glass tiles replace the shingles used in traditional roofs. They are extremely durable, and also create a sleek aesthetic that makes your roof look amazing. Solar Roof is also designed to easily work with products like Powerwall, a Tesla-branded battery that stores excess electricity.
Our solar product experts will help you to determine which solar product is right for your home or for your energy needs.
How much electricity can this produce?
Solar energy systems are rated based on kilowatts (kW) of DC power and a Solar Roof system could be designed at almost any level, but generally we see 8-15 kW as a typical range. We have projects planned that will be as high as 50kW. Actual annual production of kilowatt hours (kWh) AC power is dependent on other variables that are carefully evaluated during the design process, such as roof slope orientation, expected hours of sunlight, and shading. Our early experience from the design process suggests that most homes in our markets that are otherwise a good design fit can support enough production to replace 80% of a home’s annual electrical consumption.
How much of the roof is made up of Photovoltaic (PV) tiles?
Depending on a homeowner’s electrical needs, we estimate the solar portion of the roof could be between 30-70% of the total roof surface. The PV tiles are all full-size (15” x 45”) roof pieces, so they can generally be placed anywhere there is room for a full tile. Areas near rake edges, valleys, hips, and obstructions usually require partial tiles and metal flashings. In the planning process we also work with Tesla designers to optimize the placement for unobstructed sunlight. This means prioritizing south-facing exposures, as well as east and west.
Are there Tax Credits available for Solar Roof or Powerwall?
Yes! For tax year 2022 there is a 26% Investment Tax Credit available that applies to a large portion of a Solar Roof installation and all of a Powerwall installation when done as part of a solar project. Some states and utilities have other credits available, and we usually can inform you if there are additional incentives in your area. Click here for more detailed information about how to qualify for the tax credit.
How much does the Solar Roof cost?
Pricing is still evolving but our general guidance is that a new Solar Roof is likely to cost between 1500-2000 square before incentives. This figure is highly dependent on the size of the photovoltaic (PV) system chosen (the number of “active” PV tiles compared to glass tiles) and the complexity of the roof design and number of obstructions (skylights, chimneys, pipes) on the roof deck. We are optimistic about developing expertise and methods of installing this more efficiently over time to hopefully bring this price down in the future. We have an online configuration tool to help you estimate the price of your project. A single Powerwall battery storage system installation runs between 11,000. 13,000 depending on whether other electrical upgrades are necessary. Additional Powerwall units can be added for around 9,000 to increase storage and backup capacity.
Can I finance my Tesla Solar Roof?
Yes! We are pleased to offer a financing program through Sunlight Financial that is designed exclusively for Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall. The program offers 10 or 20 year fixed rate loans with no prepayment penalty and a one-time optional re-amortization that allows homeowners to apply tax refunds from the Investment Tax Credit to reduce monthly payments for the remainder of the loan. In some cases, our clients have found it even more the current interest rate and property value environment has made refinancing an attractive option for some clients.
What types of roofs are a good fit for the Tesla Solar Roof system?
The system is designed to be installed on nearly any common sloped roof design in the market today. The system has the best value and most competitive installed pricing when a roof has a few large rectangular slopes with good south-facing exposures. We find that roofs with an excessive amount of hips and valleys or with a large number of dormers or a large proportion of small slopes are extremely labor-intensive leading to an unusually high installation cost.
What happens if a tile breaks or is damaged on my Solar Roof?
Don’t worry! Solar Roof is easy to repair in almost every situation. One of the advantages of working with a local/regional company like Weddle and Sons is that we have a service department that can respond quickly in all of our markets and we have an inventory of spare parts on hand. We use specialized hand tools that allow us to easily remove individual tiles to service cabling or components underneath or to snap in replacement tiles if needed.
What areas do you service?
We are headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas and have offices in Olathe KS (KC Metro), Omaha NE, Lincoln NE, Denver CO, and Fort Collins CO. For Solar Roof installations we serve large areas of Kansas (including KC-MO), Nebraska, and Colorado. We are also considering projects in portions of Iowa, Missouri, Wyoming, and Oklahoma on a case-by-case basis.
Will GAF Energy beat Tesla on integrated solar roofs?
The sister company of roofing giant GAF has sector-spanning smarts and thousands of installs to date.
SAN JOSE. California — GAF Energy has installed several thousand integrated solar roofs. That’s more than Tesla Energy has installed despite the ambitious promises of its CEO. Elon Musk. In fact, GAF Energy President Martin DeBono believes that his company’s just-launched photovoltaic roof shingle design positions it to solarize millions of residential roofs.
“ What we’ve built is a nailable solar shingle that goes on as fast or faster than a regular shingle, looks great and generates electricity,” said DeBono, who spoke with Canary Media during this reporter’s recent visit to the company’s new 50.megawatt-capacity, 112. 000.square-foot manufacturing facility in San Jose, California.
GAF Energy is a Standard Industries company and sister company to GAF. one of the world’s largest roofing companies. GAF manufactures asphalt shingles as well as roofing materials such as thermoplastic polyolefin ( TPO ), polyvinyl chloride ( PVC ) and underlayments.
Standard Industries businesses include operating companies GAF. BMI. Grace, Siplast, Schiedel and SGI. as well as Standard Investments and Winter Properties. Forbes ranks Standard as No. 65 on its list of America’s largest private companies.
Disrupting the roofing industry
“ Technology has ripped apart every industry, and technology is going to change roofing. We’re the largest roofing manufacturer in the world; either we’re going to go disrupt the roofing industry ourselves or someone else will,” said DeBono.
The CEO contrasted the traditional solar mounting process — solar panels installed on racking secured by drilling through the roof and “ trying to hit a rafter” — with the GAF Energy product, “ a shingle that is lapped, installed and booked just like any other shingle would be in order to create a waterproof barrier.”
DeBono said GAF developed the product by thinking like a roofing company, not a solar company, building a roofing product that happens to have solar capabilities. He said the roofing industry is 20 times larger than the rooftop solar business and has an enormous advantage in scale.
Residential solar installations exceeded 130. 000 systems in the U.S. last quarter, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, while more than 5 million new roofs are installed on U.S. homes each year, according to DeBono, who also said that GAF commands a 25 percent share of the U.S. roofing market.
For a traditional solar company, the process of customer acquisition is the most expensive part of a residential solar system, costing far more per watt than the solar panels themselves. DeBono estimates that customer-acquisition costs for roofers are “ typically less than 500. compared to 3. 000 to 5. 000 for a solar roof.”
DeBono said GAF Energy is making it easier to complete the electrical connections by placing the electronics and wiring on the top side of its shingles. “ GAF Energy does all the electrical services. The roofer does the roof, and at a later date, the GAF Energy employee will come and install the inverter and finish the electrical run,” he said.
“ As the manufacturer of both the solar and the shingle itself, we want to make sure that it’s done correctly if we’re going to be on the hook for a 25.year warranty,” he said.
Installation time is one to three days, according to DeBono, which compares favorably to the weeks-long construction process often needed to install a Tesla solar roof (despite that company’s repeated insistence that it takes only five to seven business days).
Get Caught Up
Can the US manufacture enough solar panels to meet its surging demand?
“ Because it’s built as a roofing product, it has to meet roofing standards. It has to be able to be submerged in water; it has to be able to withstand hail; it has a Class A fire rating — all standards that a solar panel does not need to meet but a roof does,” said DeBono.
It’s a roof and it’s BIPV
GAF Energy’s solar roofing system is a type of building-integrated photovoltaics, known as BIPV. Bunea said, “ It’s a roof and it’s BIPV. so when we are certifying, we have to certify in both worlds. We have roofing industry standards as well as BIPV standards.”
She added, “ The testing agencies have become smarter about building-integrated photovoltaics.”
In September 2021. GAF Energy’s solar shingle achieved UL ’s 7103 certification, which authorizes the company to install its system on residential roofs as a roofing product and a solar energy product — the first product to be recognized as both, according to GAF Energy.
There’s huge potential for the product. Americans want solar on their homes. Even as the pandemic persisted, residential solar deployment in the U.S. was up 21 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, reaching a record 3. 9 gigawatts, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
BIPV is a tough business
But GAF Energy has some competition. In addition to Tesla, there are a number of BIPV designers and installers operating today, including ArteZanos, Atum, CertainTeed, Forward, Heliatek, Lumeta, SunTegra, Ubiquitous Energy and Viridian Solar.
There is also a long list of less-than-successful BIPV efforts.
But GAF Energy’s parent company is fully behind its lofty aims.
“ Realizing our vision of a breakthrough mass-market solar roof has been our mission since we launched GAF Energy in 2019 ,” said David Winter and David Millstone, co-CEOs of Standard Industries, in a press release.
DeBono notes that unlike the offerings of some other high-profile vendors, “ The product is available today; it’s not vaporware.” He adds, “ Our mission is energy from every roof, starting with composite shingle roofs.”
Correction: This story initially reported that GAF Energy’s mono PERC solar cells are domestically manufactured. In fact, they are manufactured overseas, not in the U.S. (though not in China).
Eric Wesoff is the editorial director at Canary Media.