What Are Solar Roof Tiles
The traditional solar energy system requires solar panels to be installed on your roof where they can soak up the sunlight. The energy from the sun is then converted into usable electricity for your home. It’s better for the environment as it reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and better for your energy bills, but not necessarily for the aesthetics of your home.
There’s a limited range of panel designs and, as they sit on top of the roof tiles, they tend to protrude out. Finding panels that blend in with your roof can be a challenge.
Rather than installing solar panels on top of your existing roof, solar roof tiles could replace your entire roof so the structure of the roof has solar technology built in. They are designed to ‘complement your home’s architecture’ rather than detract from it.
While the concept of integrating solar technology into the structure of the roof itself has been developing for some time, it appeared that it was Tesla Energy which had forged ahead with what they refer to as ‘beautiful solar’ for your home.
Why Tesla Solar Roof Alternatives Are Viable
Despite being the most popular brand, Tesla still has a long way to dominate this market due to high price points, broken promises, and limited service area. These gaps are why other solar roof companies still have a shot at competing in the solar roof space.
As a summary, here is a table illustrating the estimated cost per company that offers solar roofs:
|Company / Product Name|
|$ 5.32 per watt|
However, please note that these calculations are based on limited information and general housing conditions that Climatebiz could grasp. There will be price variations from project to project due to supplier-specific materials, services, and jurisdiction adjustments.
But the critical factor remains. As Ennogie showed, the goal is to enjoy savings for solar roofs. It is an investment rather than a liability.
The development of this technology highly depends on demand and mass production. Once the green energy consumers and manufacturers both satisfy these conditions, we can all expect significant price reductions and slick solar rooftops in the future.
Gustav has a Bachelor of Engineering and is currently practicing as a senior-level electrical engineer specializing in research. He is eager to deliver his analyses in a comical fashion while providing you with the right amount of scientific information. He believes that, with a bit of help, a well-informed decision is rewarding to make, it saves you money, and it is a win-win for all – the planet included.
Consider The Tesla Solar Roof If:
- You have the financial means to make a substantial investment into a new roof
- You like to get your hands on cutting-edge technology and dont mind joining the waitlist
- You dont mind performing more regular maintenance on your solar panels
- You live in a populated region with access to Tesla-certified installers
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Tesla Solar Roof Cost
The Tesla Solar Roof also undercuts the cost of buying a roof and panels separately. Tesla says a 10-kilowatt roof in California will cost around $33,950, equating to $5.60 per square foot or $2.11 per watt. That, Tesla claims, is cheaper than spending $54,647 on a premium roof and retrofit solar panels .
Tesla Solar Roof tiles were first announced in October 2016, but except for a small number of installations in the spring of 2018 they never seemed to materialize in bulk. Reports at the time suggest installations measured in just the 10s of houses. But Tesla partnered with a Chinese supplier for the third-generation tiles, and previous supplier Panasonic ended its agreement to produce the tiles this week.
As Tesla starts to raise the roof, here’s how to get the roof installed.
How Many Solar Panels To Charge A Tesla Car
The answer to this question depends on the size of the battery in your Tesla, and how far you drive your car on an average day. A Tesla Model S, for example, has a 75 kWh battery, meaning youd need a whopping 75 kW of solar panels to charge your drained Tesla battery fully, every day.
In general, youd need around 3kW of power, or ten 300-watt solar panels to charge a Tesla car for daily use. Advertisements
On average, a Tesla car can drive for a mile on 100-watts of charging, with the daily average for most commuters being 30-miles per day. Naturally, if you drive further on average per day, youll need more power and thus more panels.
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How Much Does A Tesla Powerwall Cost
Once again, cost will be a major question and consideration for potential Powerwall owners. The main factor that will determine how much your Tesla solar battery setup will cost is how many Powerwalls you actually need based on the size of your panel system.
While every system will differ, each installation type will be unique and your mileage may vary, we reached out to Tesla to ask about general cost estimates and found the right rule of thumb to consider is:
- One Powerwall: $10,500
- Two Powerwalls: $17,000
Is It Worth Buying A Tesla Solar Roof
The main reason to go with Tesla Solar Roof is for visual appeal. However, we want to point out that solar roofs are not as commercially matured as solar panels. Therefore there is an ample opportunity that the cost will go down some more in the future.
Now, is it worth buying a Tesla Solar Roof?
For us, this option only makes sense if you are entirely sold into great aesthetics and completing your Elon Musk product fleets such as the Tesla Cars and Powerwalls. Aside from those reasons, we think that solar panels are still the best choice for those looking to get their investment back as soon as possible.
Either way, you are still choosing to use solar for your electricity, which counts as something.
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Tesla Solar Roof Availability: Who Can Buy
At the moment, the Tesla Solar Roof is being installed in various locations across the United States.
At the October 2019 unveiling, Tesla’s senior director of energy operations Kunal Girota explained that Tesla is installing retrofit solar panels in 25 states, and it will be offering the roof in all of those states. The goal, however, is to expand across the country with both the company’s internal teams and third parties.
At the time of writing, Tesla’s website accepts orders for its retrofit solar panels in 24 locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusets, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
The Tesla Solar Roof section of the website accepts orders for all 50 states bar Minnesota. Inverse has reached out to Tesla for more information.
As for international buyers, there may be some good news on that front. Musk stated on Twitter in February 2020 that he was “looking forward to international expansion later this year.”
Dont Expect Big Money From The Grid
When the solar roof is harnessing energy and the Powerwall is fully charged, users can send the surplus energy back to the grid. While Tesla designs the roof to match energy needs, prospective buyers may find the idea of making some money by selling power back to the grid a tantalizing prospect. Toblerâs advice is to forget it.
âThe amount they pay you for it, if you have an excess of what you use, is practically nothing,â Tobler says. âItâs not like itâs an opportunity to make some money.â
Details will vary depending on suppliers, but Tobler estimates they sell power back at around two and four cents per kilowatt-hour. Using power from the grid, on the other hand, charges a lot more.
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How Much Will My Electric Bill Go Up With A Tesla Car
In the United States, the average price for 1 kW of power is 13.31 cents per kWh, so you can expect to pay around $15 for a full charge, or roughly $150 extra per month, depending on your use.
Also, there are numerous free or very low-cost charging stations around the country for Tesla cars, so you can charge your car there to save a bit on electricity bills.
Why Should A Home Go Solar
Given the extensive costs and considerations pertaining to Tesla solar, is solar energy even worth it for your home? The upfront costs of these systems are a serious hurdle for many homeowners, but if you have the capital available, there are numerous reasons to consider going solar:
- With the climate crisis worsening, installing solar on your home is a direct way for you to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and potentially even start a trend of neighbors adopting clean energy after seeing you do so.
- Monthly power bills can be high and volatile, so the more energy you can generate self-sufficiently for your home, the less you’ll pay in utility bills.
- In many areas, the owners of a solar system can sell their excess energy back to the utility company, which can give you a greater return on your solar system investment.
- Rooftop solar combined with energy storage is a great way to reduce how likely your home is to be impacted by power outages.
- Installing solar panels ups the market value of your home, and with a sleek Tesla solar system, they can also make a home more aesthetically appealing.
While the high costs to install may be frustrating, it’s important that potential customers research or talk to experts about available tax incentives that come from federal, state and local governments. These incentives come as credits, rebates, low-interest loans and other tools to help make solar power accessible to more homes.
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Tesla Is Under Investigation By Us Authorities Over Fire Risks With Its Solar Panels
Tesla is now under the watchful eye of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission , based on a complaint raised against the company’s solar panels.
The BBC reports that this complaint came from a so-called whistleblower, who claims that the popular EV manufacturer “failed to notify” the public and its shareholders about fire hazards involving their solar power systems.
The alleged whistleblower, Steven Henkes, used to be a field quality manager for Tesla.
However, this investigation comes over a year after Henke’s original complaint. Back then, he alleged that the company didn’t properly inform the public about defects concerning the electrical connectors of their solar panels.
These connectors, according to Henkes, are sub-par enough to cause a house fire potentially. But then, Tesla reportedly downplayed the incident instead of telling customers to perform maintenance in light of the apparent fire hazard.
As of this writing, though the US-SEC made it clear that while they’re investigating Henkes’ complaint, it is not a clear indication that Tesla had committed any violations.
Furthermore, the US-SEC is not the only governing authority actively looking into this case. Back in March, the Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed that they’re considering Henkes’ testimony as evidence in a case, reports CNBC.
Henkes maintains that the fire risks remain a real threat to Tesla’s customers who are using the company’s solar panels-especially daily.
Teslas Customer Service Comes Up Short
Its true that youll probably get the lowest price for going solar when you go with Tesla. But the price of solar also includes the cost of the long-term relationship that you get with your solar installer, and that seems to be where Tesla cuts costs.
Unfortunately, Tesla has historically been known for having pretty shoddy long-term customer service – which you can read about in customer reviews here on SolarReviews. Because they are such a large company, they don’t have the ability to give you the type of one-on-one service that you need when going solar.
Teslas customers have reported that its hard to get ahold of them if theres a problem with their system, and it can take even longer to get someone out to check on the issues. This can actually cause you to lose a substantial amount of money.
If your solar panels arent producing energy properly, you have less electricity to power your home, and thus a higher electric bill. The longer it takes for someone to fix your system, the more money you lose.
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Are Tesla Solar Panels Worth It
At first glance, a Tesla solar panel installation seems like a no-brainer. They have an easy ordering process and they offer good-quality solar panels at an insanely low price. All we can say is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
When it comes to solar, the communication between you and your solar company is key. Youll be dealing with them for 25 years, at least! Teslas track record shows that they might not be the ones you want to rely on if something goes wrong. Cutting costs wont be worth the potential headache you could incur after the solar installation.
We recommend getting quotes from a few local solar installers before you decide to go solar with Tesla. A local installers prices will most definitely be higher than Teslas, but the cost includes the value of a long-term customer relationship, and to us, thats priceless.
Find out how much you can save this year by installing solar
Solar Roof Pricing Estimator
If you go to the Tesla website, you can plug in your street address and get a rough custom price estimate. The online estimator uses satellite images to automatically estimate your roof area, and your monthly electricity cost to estimate how many panels youll need.
Be aware that you should toggle the âshow incentivesâ button to see the gross price of the system. As you can see, my quoted system is $22,380 before incentives. For comparison, my 18 panel 4.6 kW system cost me $18,000 before incentives in 2013. If I bought a conventional solar system today, the price would be quite a bit lower.
You can visit their website to learn more.
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Tesla Solar Roof Specifications
As of February 2021, these are the published specifications for the Solar Roof:
- Tile warranty: 25 years
- Wind rating: ASTM D3161 Class F
- Fire rating: Class A
- Hail rating: ANSI FM 4473 Class 3
- Roof pitch: 2:12 to 20:12
- Inverter power: 3.8kW / 7.6kW
- Inverter dimensions: 26″ x 16″ x 6″
- Inverter warranty: 12.5 years
Some thoughts about this: the tile warranty is similar to other high performance solar panels with 25 year warranties such as LG and SunPower. The warranty also includes labor.
The inverter described is a central inverter similar to those offered by SolarEdge and SMA. Its warranty length is similar to a central inverter, which is half the duration of the 25 year warranty offered with Enphase microinverters . No word about how much an inverter replacement would cost.
Tesla Solar Roof Cost: Is It Worth It
That depends on the situation! While Tesla claims its third-generation tiles are competitive with the cost of a roof plus solar, it’s still a big ask to replace the roof. If you don’t need to spend the money it might be worth looking at alternatives like a retrofit. There’s also a number of competitors on the market like Luma Solar, which may be worth exploring before taking the plunge.
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Who Should Buy A Solar Roof
The initial appeal of the Tesla Solar Roof will target the wealthy, tech-savvy homeowner with a passion for renewable energy. Due to the solar roof cost, the purchaser of a solar roof will have a deep passion for aesthetics.
There is certainly a risk-reward aspect of being one of the first owners of a Tesla Solar Roof. The reward is obviously being able to be one of the first owners of this beautiful technology. The risk is the same. Being the owner of the first version of anything comes with the risk of having to be patient while kinks are worked out.
If you want to be an owner of the Tesla Solar Roof you will need a large amount of expendable cash and an even larger amount of patience as it could take years for the solar roofs to get installed.
Watch Out For Big Changes In Energy Use
Tesla will ask for evidence of energy usage to take an average and design a roof to fit your needs. Tobler provided one yearâs worth of energy bills, far more than Tesla needed but enough to take an accurate reading. Unfortunately, her energy uses changed after installation.
âWe added a second EV, but when they did their first estimates, I was not driving an EV,â Tobler says.
Originally, the family had one Nissan Leaf. The Tesla app shows this uses between eight and nine kilowatts when charging. Tobler then bought a Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan, which has 40 miles of electric-only range. That can bring energy usage up to 10 kilowatts when charging with other people using electronics in the house, a significant change in usage.
âWe only opted for one Powerwall ,â Tobler says. âHaving a second Powerwall would be pretty nice. If my husband were to charge his car completely, it would deplete the entire Powerwall.â
Depleting the solar power storage system while the roof is inactive, like during the night, means the system buys energy from the grid. Fortunately, buyers can add more Powerwalls after installation.
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