What is the Tesla solar roof?
One of the biggest problems homeowners have with solar panels is their appearance. In response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla Energy’s new product, the Tesla Solar Roof, in 2016.
The solar roof, also known as building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), was designed to function like solar panels while seamlessly integrating into a roof. In this way, homeowners could still enjoy the benefits of solar energy without having to worry about sacrificing the aesthetics of their home.
With the original launch of its sunroof, Tesla had four styling options to match any home:
- A smooth glass tile roof
- Tuscan glass tile roof
- Slate Glass Tile Roof
- Textured glass tile roof
However, with the launch of the new V3 sunroof in 2019, there is now only one glass shingle style option, which is more similar to the textured glass shingle roof. Tesla’s V3 solar shingles also come with a 25-year warranty and measure 15 x 45 inches.
The Tesla sunroof consists of two types of tiles:
- Active solar tiles
- Inactive tiles
Active solar glass roof tiles contain solar cells, allowing them to produce electricity for your home. Dormant tiles act like regular tiles, they do not produce solar energy.
How much does a Tesla solar roof cost?
Tesla estimates that a 10 kW solar roof will cost a total of $ 33,950, including incentives. Solar tiles cost $ 2.85 per watt, and inactive tiles cost $ 5.60 per square foot.
The actual total cost of a Tesla solar roof will depend on the size of your home and your monthly energy use.
How much does a Tesla solar roof cost compared to solar panels?
A conventional 10 kW system would cost an average of $ 23,532 after the federal tax credit in the US This is $ 10,600 less than the cost of the Tesla solar roof. However, the Tesla solar roof is not just a solar panel installation, it also includes the purchase of a new roof.
So to better understand the cost of solar roof compared to the cost of solar panels, we need to compare the cost per watt of the solar roof compared to the cost per watt of solar panels.
In the US, the average cost per watt of solar power is $ 3.18 per watt, before the federal tax credit. The cost per watt of solar shingles before the tax credit is $ 2.85. So actually, Tesla solar tiles are cheaper than the average solar panel.
But that doesn’t mean that the Tesla solar roof is the best way to use solar energy.
Does the Tesla solar roof require a Powerwall battery?
No, it is not necessary to install a Tesla Powerwall battery with a sunroof. Energy storage can increase the cost of your solar installation by thousands of dollars.
In most cases, the added expense of a solar battery is not necessary, especially if you live in an area that offers net metering.
However, if you live in a place prone to frequent blackouts, like California, pairing your sunroof with a Tesla battery could be beneficial.
Is the Tesla solar roof worth it?
The Tesla solar roof is technically cheaper per watt than the average solar panel. However, because the sunroof also includes the purchase of a new roof, the total cost is much more expensive.
So if you don’t need to replace your roof, it’s probably best to install a traditional solar system. So you don’t have to spend extra money on new roofs you don’t need.
On the other hand, if you need a new roof and are also looking to switch to solar, the Tesla solar roof could save you money on installation costs.
Let’s see an example:
I got an estimate from Tesla of how much it would cost to install a sunroof on my home – a 2,000-square-foot home with a $ 200 monthly electric bill. They recommended a 7.8 kW sunroof.
Active solar shingles totaled $ 22,173. The remaining 1,293 square feet of roof space would be covered with dormant Tesla shingles, at a cost of $ 7,240.80. That brings the total cost of the sunroof to $ 29,173.80. The federal tax credit would reduce this price to $ 23,409.
Now let’s look at the numbers if I have a new roof plus a 7.8 kW solar panel system.
First, the entire roof would have to be replaced with new asphalt shingles. This would work out to about $ 7,000, based on the average cost roofers charge to install asphalt shingles in my area.
A traditional 7.8 kW system would cost an average of $ 24,804, before the tax credit. So the total cost to replace my roof and install a solar system would be $ 31,804. When the tax credit is applied, the cost would drop to $ 25,355.
As you can see, the Tesla solar roof is a better deal only if you need a roof replacement as well as a solar panel system.
Should you get the Tesla solar roof?
The company’s solar shingle installations were supposed to revolutionize the solar industry. Unfortunately, Tesla has always been unreliable when it comes to its sunroof.
Despite its introduction in 2016, Tesla didn’t start installing sunroofs until 2018. Even then, some people believe that fewer than 100 Tesla sunroofs have been installed in the United States.
The company claims that increasing production at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York, will allow them to commission more solar roof installations. However, Tesla has recently begun canceling pre-orders for sunroofs, even after the owners have paid their deposits, claiming the sites are not within its service territory.
Also, Tesla’s partnership with Panasonic recently ended, so it is difficult to know if they will be able to produce their sunroof products at the rate they had forecast.
Tesla is also known for its not-so-great customer service, which is reflected in SolarReviews. So while Tesla’s solar roof theoretically sounds like a competitive option for those looking to switch to solar, Tesla’s reputation precedes them.
Tesla’s unreliability when it comes to the sunroof and its lackluster customer service makes it difficult to assess whether or not it will actually get a sunroof soon or if it is even worth the risk.
Before deciding on the solar roof, you should get quotes from various solar installers to ensure that you are getting the right roof solar system for you.