September 23, 2023

Tesla Solar Roof Cost vs. Solar Panels: worth the premium?

Tesla Solar Roof Cost vs. Solar Panels: worth the premium?

Solar Roof Cost

In the spring of 2017, Tesla announced the price of its new sunroof product (the Tesla Sunroof), a replacement roof for your home. And as of January 2019, Tesla is producing the sunroof at its Buffalo Gigafactory, albeit slowly. Installations have begun for the first on their waiting list, although availability in the mass market is not yet clear.

The new solution requires you to replace your existing roof with Tesla’s combination of non-solar glass tiles and solar-enabled glass tiles. It’s a sleek new product, designed with great aesthetics, and due to its immense popularity, we wanted to explore the question: does installing this new ceiling make financial sense for your home? After initial analysis, we found that for most homeowners the answer is “not yet.” Unless you’re looking for a roof replacement, Tesla’s new solar roof is simply too expensive for the average American homeowner to justify as a home energy upgrade.

Tesla Solar Roof cost

According to Tesla, the average cost of a Tesla solar roof that a homeowner can expect to pay is around $ 21.85 per square foot. This estimate was made on the basis of a roof made with 35 percent solar shingles. As an estimate, if you need 2,000 square feet of roof in your home, a Tesla solar roof will cost a little less than $ 44,000 (according to Tesla themselves).

However, according to an Electrek report referencing an actual Solar Roof quote, shingles alone cost about $ 35 per square foot, which adds up to more than $ 64,000 for shingling a roof alone. 1,862 square feet.

You can see a more accurate estimate of the Tesla sunroof cost for your property using the Tesla sunroof calculator.

Tesla solar roof cost: is it worth the premium?

To easily explain the cost of the Tesla sunroof and its price premium, we will detail three different scenarios below. Read on to see which one describes you best! We will use a 3,000 square foot home in Southern California with a monthly electric bill of $ 200 in our example, although we did this analysis for several different states and house sizes and the results are still similar. Additionally, we will use cost data from Tesla’s own cost calculator, even though real-world quotes have shown that those numbers may not be reliable.

Scenario 1: You are interested in going solar, but don’t need to replace your roof

This is the most common scenario for the vast majority of homeowners in the US today. You have been interested in installing solar panels for a while and find that the costs have dropped enough that it is an achievable home improvement. You’ve also heard a lot of rumors in the media about the Tesla sunroof lately, but you’re not sure if it’s worth the cost. Most importantly, you don’t need to replace your roof in the next three to five years.

If this description sounds like you, the simple answer is that the Tesla sunroof will not make financial sense for your home. Here’s why: it’s both a new roof and a solar installation. If you don’t need a new roof, you risk selling more on a product you weren’t even buying in the first place. And the price of this upsell is hefty. While the owner of our 3,000-square-foot home in California would normally install an 8.5 kW solar panel system for $ 26,030 before rebates, Tesla’s roof calculator shows that only a 6.25 kW solar roof is possible at a price of $ 50,900. The upshot is that Tesla’s solar roof will cost nearly $ 25,000 more than installing solar panels, yet it will only deliver 77 percent of solar electricity (due to being a smaller system). You’re paying more for less, and that just doesn’t make financial sense.

Tesla Solar Roof Cost vs. Solar Panels: worth the premium?

Scenario 2: You are interested in going solar, and you also need to replace your roof

While this is a less common scenario, it may be right for you if your current roof is nearing the end of its useful life. In general, asphalt shingles tend to last 20-30 years, and metal and slate roofs can last over 60 years (we recommend that you check with a local roofing expert for details on your property). This scenario may also be suitable for you if you are in the process of building a new house from scratch and have not yet chosen your roof material. In this scenario, unlike the first, you are in the market and actively buying both a new roof and a solar panel installation.

If this description fits you better, the Tesla sunroof may make more financial sense. In this case, you have the option of replacing your roof first and then installing traditional solar panels, or combining both with the installation of a Tesla solar roof. For our example homeowner in California, we used Tesla’s own estimate of $ 5 per square foot for an asphalt shingle roof replacement and assumed 1,600 square feet of roof space, which equates to a total of $ 8,000. in roofing costs.

When we add that to our initial gross cost of $ 26,030 for a Scenario 1 solar panel installation, a new asphalt shingle roof and solar panels will cost $ 34,080 in total. The Tesla solar roof costs an additional $ 16,870 for our California owner, which is equivalent to a 33 percent price premium for Tesla’s attractive glass roof tiles. Lastly, as in the first scenario, it is worth mentioning that the Tesla solar roof will only produce about three-quarters of the level of solar electricity compared to traditional solar panels, which means that your electricity bill will not go down. as much as I could.

Tesla Solar Roof Cost vs. Solar Panels: worth the premium?

Scenario 3: You love new technology, want solar, and have money to spend

Certainly there are homeowners who simply want the newest technology possible regardless of price. For buyers in this category who are considering installing a sunroof or even a new roof, the Tesla sunroof could be a good option. In fact, we think the majority of Tesla sunroof buyers will come from this third category. At EnergySage, we believe that more solar on roofs is always better than less, and we hope this group of early adopters will install this new roofing product in their homes.

Early adopters of new technologies tend to be more likely to tolerate the setbacks that often occur with new products as well. While solar panels have been offered by other companies before, these products have historically been difficult to install and offered mixed performance results. Although Tesla has proven to be unpredictable in the initial quality of some of their products, they are also known to work with their first users to correct these quality problems over time. We hope that if quality issues arise, Tesla will take the same action here and resolve them quickly.

If you are a homeowner and are trying to understand what all your solar options are, we always recommend that you get as many different quotes as possible so that you can compare the pros and cons of each offer. Try EnergySage’s free solar calculator to better understand the economics of putting solar panels on your roof, and once you’re ready for actual quotes, join the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to receive offers on competitive solar installations from our network of more. of 500 pre-selected solar installers. Backed by the U.S. Department of Energy, our mission is to make solar power as easy as booking a flight online.