Complete guide to the Tesla Solar Roof: is it better than installing solar panels?
Tesla and SolarCity announced the launch of the Tesla Solar Roof in 2016 with the expectation that it would become the solar system of the future. Fast-forward six years, and people are still confused about what exactly it is and how much it costs.
The confusion is warranted. Tesla changes their minds about the Solar Roof more often than Elon Musk tweets.
We’re removing the mysterious veil that hangs over the Tesla Solar Roof and explaining everything from how it works and how much it costs to whether or not it’s even worth buying.
Find out how much a solar system would cost for your specific home
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How Much Does a Tesla Solar Roof REALLY Cost?
Tesla Solar Roof at a glance:
- The Tesla Solar Roof integrates solar panels into regular roof shingles so homeowners can generate solar power on their roofs without having to worry about the look of their home being tainted by solar panels.
- A 6.14 kW Solar Roof will cost a total of about 51,000 before incentives for an average-sized roof, but the price can vary depending on the roof’s complexity.
- Tesla estimates that a 6.14 kW Solar Roof will cost a total between 39,800 and 48,700 before incentives for an average-sized roof, depending on its complexity.
- Tesla charges somewhere around 20 per square foot of total roof space for non-solar roofing materials, but the final rate will vary depending on your roof’s pitch, how many obstructions there are, and how many mountain planes your roof has.
- Tesla charges between 13.30 and 18.54 per square foot for non-solar roofing materials.
- While the Solar Roof looks nice, it won’t give you as much savings as traditional solar panels, and you have to deal with Tesla’s unreliable service for 25 years.
What is the Tesla Solar Roof?
One of the biggest issues homeowners have with solar panels is how they look. As a response, in 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla Energy’s new product. the Tesla Solar Roof. on the set of the then-popular television series Desperate Housewives of all places (that should have given us some sort of indication that the Tesla roof was probably going to be all for show).
The Solar Roof was designed to function like photovoltaic solar panels while seamlessly integrating into a roof. This way, homeowners could still enjoy the benefits of solar energy, like electric bill savings and using clean energy, without having to sacrifice their home’s aesthetics.
In order to get a uniform look, a home’s entire roof is replaced with Tesla shingles. Not all of these shingles will generate electricity (we get into that a little later), but the whole roof will be covered in Tesla-brand shingles.
Tesla Solar Roofs generally include three pieces of equipment: active solar shingles, inactive shingles, and a Tesla solar inverter.
You can watch SolarReviews founder Andy Sendy give his expert opinion on the Tesla Solar Roof:
How much does a Tesla Solar Roof cost?
You can expect to spend anywhere from 35,000 to upwards of 70,000 for the installation of a Tesla Solar Roof. With that said, there’s a lot that goes into the cost, making it a bit complicated to figure out what exactly you’re being charged for and why.
And if we’re being honest, the way Tesla displays the pricing line items can be a bit tricky to navigate. That’s why we’ve broken down what factors influence the price and explain what exactly you’re paying for.
Breaking down the price of Tesla’s Solar Roof
Tesla Solar Roof systems are designed entirely with Tesla-exclusive equipment. The total cost of a Solar Roof installation consists of three main components:
Here’s the breakdown of how each one of these contributes to the final price:
Active solar shingles
Cost: 450.80 per watt
Tesla’s active solar shingles are tempered glass shingles that contain solar cells and generate electricity.
It costs about 450.80 per watt to install the active Solar Roof tiles. If you installed a 7 kilowatt (kW) Tesla Solar Roof, the active shingles alone would cost 12,600 before any incentives are considered. The bigger the solar system you need, the higher the total price will be.
Regular solar panels cost around 3.00 per watt on average, so the solar portion of the Tesla roof is technically cheaper than solar panels.
Each active shingle is 15” by 45” and is designed to have a similar look to slate shingles. Tesla’s solar shingles are 72 watts in size, meaning you’d need about five shingles to produce the same amount of power as one 370-watt solar panel.
Inactive shingles / non-Solar Roofing materials
Cost: About 20 per square foot of total roof space
The next portion of your Solar Roof cost is kind of a mashup of “general roofing materials” like underlayment and inactive shingles. When we say “inactive shingles”, we’re talking about all of the shingles on the roof that don’t produce electricity. The inactive shingles are designed to look just like the active solar shingles, so you can’t distinguish one from the other when they’re on your roof.
Tesla doesn’t provide the exact pricing for these roofing costs, and it can vary depending on how complex your roof is, how big your roof is, and the number of solar roofing tiles you have.
Tesla also doesn’t let you select the complexity of your roof on their estimator, so you can’t gauge exactly how they’re classifying your roof and what price they’re using for the estimate. Because of this, we give a ballpark figure of around 20 per square foot of total roof space, but it could be more or less.
Based on the average roof size of 1,700 square feet, you can expect the inactive shingles and roofing materials to cost around 34,000. The price you pay will depend on the size of your roof and how complex it is.
That’s quite a high price for a roof replacement. Typically, you can replace an asphalt shingle roof for around 7.00 per square foot. There are even metal roofing options that are cheaper than what Tesla’s charging. The roofing material might be so high because Tesla’s pushed some of the installation labor and materials that technically go with the active solar shingles onto the inactive materials to allow them to advertise a really low price per watt of solar.
What is roof complexity? Tesla looks at three things to determine how complex your roof is: The number of mountain planes, the pitch, and the number of obstructions like skylights and vents. The more mounting planes and obstructions, the more complex the roof is. If your roof has a steep pitch, it will also be considered more complex.
Cost: About 5000.00 per square foot
Tesla also charges for the removal of your existing roofing material. For an average-sized roof, Tesla will charge you about 3,500 for the tear-off. The price may vary slightly.
This price is a little high for a roof tear off; asphalt shingles typically cost about 450 per square foot to remove and dispose of.
You might be able to skip the tear-off cost if your existing roof is made of 3-tab asphalt shingles that are less than 3/8 inches thick and are in good condition. If this is the case, the solar shingles can be installed right over the shingles already on your roof.
But other types of roofing materials like architectural asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, or concrete tiles need to be completely removed before Tesla can install their solar shingles.
Does the Tesla Solar Roof qualify for the federal solar tax credit? Yes! Costs associated with the active solar shingle portion of the roof qualify for the 30% solar tax credit. So, if your total roof installation is 40,000, but only 10,000 of it went towards the installation of the active shingles, the tax credit would only apply to that 10,000.
Tesla Solar Roof: What You Need to Know
Deployment of Tesla‘s Solar Roof product has been slow with significant delays. According to PV Magazine, there may only be 100 Solar Roof systems connected to the grid so far, even though the product has been available for three years. The wait may be worth it for some who value the differentiating elements of the product. Other homeowners may want to start seeing the benefits of clean solar energy now, including seeing solar savings in their
Design: The most noticeable difference between solar panels and the Solar Roof is design. Tesla offers four different styles to choose from; textured, smooth, Tuscan, or slate styled solar roof tiles. The tiles mimic the look of a traditional roof so your neighbors won’t even know you have solar on your house (though many of our customers enjoy being solar trendsetters). If you want to maintain the aesthetics of your rooftop, the Solar Roof tiles are a great option for adding solar energy to your home.
Warranty and durability: Tesla roof tiles are made with tempered glass that is more durable than standard roofing tiles. Tesla stands behind the durability of their product with an infinite warranty (or the lifetime of your house). We don’t know the full details of their warranty, but that’s quite a bold offer.
Cons of Tesla Roof Tiles
Cost: To install Tesla’s Solar Roof, you’re required to replace your whole roof – even if you don’t need a new roof right now. That means you’re paying for the cost of both a solar energy system and a new roof. According to EnergySage, on an apples-to-apples comparison: “Tesla’s solar roof will cost nearly 25,000 more than installing solar panels, and yet will only deliver 77 percent as much solar electricity (due to it being a smaller system size).
Unknown Maintenance Costs: Since the Tesla roof tiles are a new product, the maintenance costs and processes are an unknown. If you have a roof leak, for example, how complex would it be to fix? Could you call a roofer in your area or would Tesla be the only company able to perform the fix – and how much more would that cost than a regular roof repair? There is also the question of how Tesla will deliver on the infinite warranty for required maintenance. Will the company have the financial strength and longevity to deliver on that guarantee?
Unknown Return on Investment: When you crunch the numbers (like this Forbes contributor did), solar panels still offer a significantly higher return on investment. According to their head-to-head comparison of the Tesla Solar Roof vs. solar panels for the same house, the Tesla Solar Roof cost 48.9% more and yielded just 2.79% of the savings that the solar panels delivered. In other words, with the Solar Roof you pay almost 50% more and get 97% less in savings. Ouch.
Are Solar Roof Tiles for You?
The Tesla Solar Roof is an option for homeowners who are concerned about the aesthetics of their rooftop because the tiles look like a traditional rooftop. The tiles do come with a high price tag, though, and will make a Tesla Solar Roof cost prohibitive for many homeowners. Solar panels are still a reliable, tested, and durable option for homeowners who are looking for a great return on investment.
If your home is on the Front Range in Colorado, Namaste Solar is happy to help you decide if solar is the right fit for you! Reach out to get a quote from one of our non-commissioned solar experts today.
Tesla Solar Roof
Transform your home with the latest solar technology. With building-integrated solar PV from Tesla Solar Roof, you can enjoy a beautiful roof with all the benefits of renewable energy.
We customize your Solar Roof system for your unique roof structure and power needs. After all, why purchase a roof and a solar PV system separately when you can tie them together? We’re proud to partner with the team at Quality Roofing in Milton Florida to bring you the latest in solar technology.
Give us a call today for more information, or to receive your free customized quote.
What other roof can help pay for itself over time?
With Solar Roof, you can add value to your home and lower your electric bill with solar PV tiles integrated right into your shingles.
Plus, Tesla Solar Roof can even increase your roof’s solar capacity when compared to traditional solar panels.
The Tesla Solar Roof: What You Should Know
If you’ve been in the market for a new roof or a solar array, chances are you’ve heard whisperings about the Tesla Solar Roof. It’s the perfect combination of upscale, aesthetically pleasing roofing tiles that just so happen to generate electricity. Thanks to our close strategic partnership with Sun Valley Solar Solutions, Azul Roofing is pleased to announce that Tesla’s revolutionary Solar Roof is now available!
Like all new technologies, questions about Solar Roof’s abilities abound. And while we can’t possibly answer everything in the context of this short blog, we wanted to take a few minutes and address some of the most common. Whether you’re in the market for a new roof, are interested in solar panels — or both — the Solar Roof might be a good option for you. Read on to learn more about this cutting-edge technology and see if it’s the right choice for you.
Solar Roof Tiles are Extremely Durable
Choosing the Tesla Solar Roof means choosing one of the most durable tiles on the market. Solar Roof tiles are made with tempered glass, making them more than three-times stronger than many traditional roofing systems. They’re also engineered for all-weather durability — so whether you’re in Flagstaff facing the snow, or in Phoenix facing the heat, Tesla has engineered the Solar Roof to handle it all.
In addition to durability, Tesla backs Solar Roof with an industry-leading 25-year weatherization, power, and tile warranty — longer than many traditional roofing systems. So there’s ample reason to feel confident that an investment in Solar Roof will pay off for many years/decades to come.
The Solar Roof Pays You Pack
Unlike a non-generating roof tile, Solar Roof will begin putting money back in your from the moment it’s switched on. By installing the Solar Roof, you’ll be able to reduce your monthly electricity bills and replace an aging roof all at the same time. What’s more, the Solar Roof can be combined with technologies such as the Tesla Powerwall. The compact and sleek Powerwall home battery stores any excess solar energy, making it available to further offset purchased utility power at night or to provide security during power outages.
Exploring Tesla Solar Roof vs. Solar Panels
Increased curb appeal is one of the many benefits of getting a new roof. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and many homeowners find the look of traditional solar panels to be less than appealing. With the Solar Roof, you won’t have to compromise.
The beautiful Tesla Solar Roof alternates between a combination of energy-producing and non-energy producing tiles. This mix of tiles allows the Solar Roof to easily integrate with a wide variety of roof shapes and sizes. Both tile types are entirely indistinguishable from one another and combine to create an invisible solar array that’s aesthetically pleasing at any angle. Want more production? Add more power-producing tiles. It’s that simple.
Two Teams For The Price Of One
Azul Roofing Solutions is the only Tesla Certified Solar Roof installer to forge a strategic partnership with Arizona’s most trusted solar design team. Since 2006, Sun Valley Solar Solutions has helped more than 8,500 homeowners go solar. With Azul handling the roofing side and Sun Valley Solar Solutions ensuring a safe and reliable grid connection, you’ll gain access to expertise not available from other roofing teams.
If you’re interested in the Tesla Solar Roof, we invite you to request a free, no-obligation quote! Simply click the button below to get started.