Evaluating The Pros And Cons Of The Tesla Solar Roof
Tesla is a company with a certain mystique about them people get super excited about every announcement they make. So it comes as no surprise that people constantly ask us what we think about the new Solar Roof.
We wanted to take a deep dive into what we know about the Solar Roof to help you determine whether its a viable option for your needs.
First, a quick summary of the pros and cons:
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Power A House
The number of solar panels you will need to power your house will depend on two factors:
- The amount of electricity you use
- Your location, as where you live determines how much electricity your solar panels can produce
Our online solar calculator can take your monthly power bill and location to work out how many solar panels you need, as well as the cost based on the prices of solar companies near you.
See how many solar panels you need for your home
Make Final Connections To The Consumer Unit
After the panels are wired to the inverter, the final connections to the consumer unit will be made. A generation meter will also be connected, which measures how much electricity your panels actually produce. Smart meters and solar panels work together very well and can make meter reading far easier.
Also Check: How Much Are Solar Panels Per Watt
Estimate Solar System Size And Installation Costs To Answer Are Solar Panels Worth It
Next, youll need to determine what size solar panel system you need and the estimated cost of solar panels:
1. Estimate the size of your solar system. Use our solar panel cost calculator to determine what size system you would need to cover your usage. You just need the 2 two figures above, along with your ZIP code .
The calculator returns a system size and cost estimate to use for our purposes here. You can also compare the system size recommendation to our pre-packaged systems to hone in on an exact cost for solar financing.
Example: This 6.3 kW system produces about 870 kWh/month, perfect to offset our usage of 867 kWh/month from step 2. The system costs $9,669 at the time of publication. Well add another $1,500 as a rough estimate for taxes, shipping and permitting fees. Total cost estimate: $11,169.
2. Add installation costs. Local solar installers charge around $1/watt to install a system, which would amount to $6,300 for the 6.3 kW system linked above.
Many of our customers choose to install their own system to save this chunk of cash which dramatically changes the payback calculations. If you do decide to hire someone to complete the solar panel installation, add that fee to the total cost of going solar.
Example: $6,300 if installed by a contractor / $0 if you DIY install.
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Keep An Eye On Trade Policy
Changes in government trade policy also impact prices. In January 2018, President Trump imposed a four-year tariff on imported solar cells and panels that started at 30% and was set to drop 5% each year until February 2022. In 2020, the tariff rate for the fourth year was raised from 15% to 18%. The tariff resulted in a 16 cent per watt increase for the average consumer in 2018, which translated to an overall increase of $960 for a six-kW system, according to EnergySage.
The cost of foreign-manufactured panels may still drop, lessening the tariffs effect over time.
Theres Nowhere Else To Put Solar Panels
The roof is the most common place to put solar panels but its not the only place they can go.
You will find homeowners placing solar panels in other places, such as in their backyard or on secondary structure on their property.
If both of the circumstances below apply to you, then youre out of luck.
- Ground-mounting isnt possible for you: Ground-mounted solar refers to solar panels installed on the ground using special mounts to angle them towards the sun. While this may be an option for farms and ranches, it is rarely feasible in cities and suburbs where there is less open space to work with.
- No other structure available: The last option to consider are buildings like carports or sheds, or backyard structures like gazebos, pergolas and patio covers. If you dont have any of these, or they lack suitable surface areas, it means that youre going to hold off on solar panels for the time being.
Read Also: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need For A Camper
Youre Not Eligible For Incentives And Rebates
When it comes to solar power, government incentives and rebates are extremely important.
The most important of these is the solar Investment Tax Credit , which is offered by the federal government and has helped grow the solar industry by 10,000% since its enactment in 2006. The ITC is currently worth 26% you can use it to save over a quarter of the price of your solar system. This incentive can play a huge role in improving the payback period of a solar system purchase.
Additional incentives are usually available at the state level, and sometimes at the local level, as well. Right now, 38 states offer net metering, a valuable incentive that allows you to sell your electricity to the utility company at retail rates, while other states, such as New York, offer state tax credits worth thousands of dollars.
But if youre in a situation where you dont qualify for incentives the federal tax credit, for instance, only applies if you pay federal taxes to begin with then solar energy may not be right for you.
Account For Solar System Part Replacements
You also need to take into consideration the added expenses for solar part replacements to answer the question of is solar worth it. To estimate the costs:
1. Look up the warranty on other components, especially the inverter. Budget for inverter replacements over the life of the system if necessary.
Panels are warrantied for 25 years, but some parts have shorter warranties. For example, the SMA warranty is 10 years, and SolarEdge is 12 years. However, Enphase micro-inverters also have a 25-year warranty, so you dont need to factor in replacement costs on those.
2. Calculate the costs after deducting the value of the tax credits. Those replacements will happen in the future, after the federal tax credit has expired. In our example, well assume 2 SolarEdge inverter replacements at their current cost of $1,595 each.
Example: $12,927 + = $16,117.
This is our lifetime cost of solar ownership. It includes equipment, installation, and replacement over the 25-year life of the system.
Read Also: Is Home Solar Cost Effective
But Will The Prius Solar Roof Be Worth The Cost
The solar roof option on the new Prius Prime may not seem like it cranks out much power, but 3.7 extra miles a day for an average commuter will certainly add up over time. How does that translate into dollars and cents?
The 180-watt module will generate differing levels of energy depending on where your car is parked or where youre driving. In sunny Las Vegas, Nevada, for instance, it would churn out roughly 270 kilowatt-hours per year according to the National Renewable Energy Labs PV Watts solar calculator.
Now lets do the math using the national average price of $0.13 per kWh, and account for the average rate increase for utilities of 2.6% annually. To buy 270 kWh per year for an 18-year stretch using these standards, it would cost around $750 in total.
So there it is the new 180-watt solar system on the Prius Prime would need to be priced under $750 to be cost-effective to auto buyers at least in the southwest.
Clean Green Energy Machine
Unlike petrol, coal, or gas, the energy that solar panels produce is entirely clean. Installing a solar panel system can stop up to 1.6 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere every year.
The industry is also futureproof, as evidenced by its resilience during the coronavirus crisis.
But you came to this article looking to see if they were a good investment, so let’s get onto the money side of things.
Also Check: How To Start A Solar Farm Business
How Much Does The Tesla Solar Roof Cost
However, we can use numbers provided by Tesla and numbers provided by real-life solar estimates from Tesla to compare the costs of a Tesla Solar Roof versus a conventional solar installation.
According to Tesla, their Solar Roof costs $21.85 per square foot with the assumption that 35% of the roof will be covered by non-energy producing tiles. That means a 2,000 square foot roof would cost about $44,000. Keep in mind that this includes the cost of replacing the entire roof material in place of solar tiles.
However, according to actual solar estimates from prospective Tesla customers, the actual cost of a Tesla Solar Roof comes out to approximately $35 per square foot. That adds over $26,000 to the cost of a 2,000 square foot roof.
As you can see, the pricing difference between what Tesla estimates and the ultimate price can be quite different.
The unfortunate task of getting a true price estimate for a Tesla Solar Roof is that not many have been installed yet. Tesla, not known for their transparency, has not provided numbers about how many Tesla Solar Roofs have been installed, nor provided much information about the ultimate costs of those installs.
Cost Of Solar Panels Based On System Size
The average domestic solar panel system costs £5,000 to £10,000. The total cost of solar panels depends on how many panels you need for your home, which in turn is dependent on your energy consumption.
Generally, the more expensive the system, the more electricity it can generate and therefore, the more savings it can bring. The table below shows the annual savings on your electricity bills per system size, how much you can earn through Smart Export Guarantee payments, and ultimately, how long it can take to break even.
A small house with 1-3 residents can sufficiently cover their electricity costs with a 3kW solar panel system, which costs £5,000-£6,000. With that system, you can save £160 per year on your electricity bill thanks to the free energy produced by your panels. Whats more, with SEG payments you can even earn £75 per year.
A household with a family of 3-4 people would commonly have a 4kW system installed, which has a price range of approximately £6,000-£8,000. In this scenario, you can save approximately £270 on your electricity bill annually, and can even earn £100 per year on top of that.
For larger homes that house 4+ people, a 6kW solar panel system would be required. This can be anything from £8,000 and upwards. With a 6kW system, you can save a whopping £430 on your electricity bills every year, and earn £151 from SEG payments additionally.
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Solar Panels Are Not Worth It For You If
- Your home doesn’t get enough sun exposure: If you know anything about how solar panels work, it won’t be a surprise that darker areas benefit a bit less from this renewable energy source. If your roof tends to be shaded for long stretches of the day , then your solar panels may not get the sun exposure they need to generate a solid ROI. That being said, solar panel efficiency in cloudy regions may surprise you and â fun fact â solar panels are actually slightly more effective in the cold.
- You’re ineligible for incentives and rebates: Certain municipalities and utility companies offer incentives on top of the federal tax credit, which can have a big impact on your solar payback period. If your local government or power company doesn’t have its own incentives, or has a poor or non-existant net metering policy, a solar investment may not be worth it for your home.
- You have low costs for electricity: If your electrical bills are already fairly minimal, then installing a residential solar system will yield more modest savings.
- You don’t have the right kind of roof: Certain types of roofs just aren’t as well-suited for solar power installation. For example, older or historic homes, homes that have overly tiled roofs and homes that have larger skylights may not be good matches for solar energy. Homes that aren’t facing the best direction for solar exposure may not be the best candidates.
Solar Thermal Systems For Hot Water And Heat In Your Home
Solar thermal systems convert sunlight into heat energy through solar thermal collectors, usually mounted on rooftops.
These collectors circulate a fluid which is heated by the sun’s radiant energy. The heated fluid can then be pumped through a heat exchanger to heat water, provide space heating for your home or even heat your swimming pool.
Read Also: How To Mount Flexible Solar Panels
Scenario : Youre Interested In Going Solar But Dont Need To Replace Your Roof
This is the most common scenario for the vast majority of homeowners in the U.S. today. Youve been interested in installing solar panels for a while, and realize that costs have come down enough for it to be an achievable home upgrade. Youve also heard a lot of media buzz around the Tesla Solar Roof lately, but arent sure if its worth the cost. Most importantly, you dont need to replace your roof in the next three to five years.
If this description sounds like you, we typically would recommend that Teslas Solar Roof wont make financial sense for your home. Heres why: it is both a new roof and a solar installation. If you dont need a new roof, you risk getting upsold on a product that you werent even shopping for in the first place. And the price tag of this upsell is considerable. However, in November 2021, electrek reported that Teslas new tile datasheet mentions that the solar tiles can now be installed over existing roofs, which might be a game changer for the cost-effectiveness of this system. Because these details have not yet been released, for our example, well assume youre replacing your full roof.
Who Are The Best Solar Panel Installation Companies Near Me
As the largest consumer reviews site for the residential solar industry, we have reviews of most solar panel installation companies.
We also have rankings for solar energy companies so that you can refine your search for the best local solar company to only those companies that service your local area.
Compare the prices of the best-rated solar providers near you online
Solar Panels Vs Tesla Solar Roof: The Biggest Differences Broken
Tesla is now innovating your home well, specifically, your roof.
When you think of solar power systems, you probably imagine the classic solar array: some black panels that point toward the sky and absorb the energy of the sun’s light and convert it into usable electricity. But if you look closely at the roofs of some houses, you might just notice a surprise.
In 2016, Tesla — yes, that Tesla — introduced something novel. Instead of solar panels that sit in your front yard or stand out on the roof, Tesla decided to turn every shingle into a solar panel. The Tesla solar roof replaces an existing roof and captures sunlight to help power your home in a clean and streamlined manner.
The Tesla solar roof system has not had the smoothest of rollouts, but the company recently announced plans to double down on the concept and try to turn what is currently a pricey project into a reality for consumers.
For homeowners interested in solar energy, that creates the ultimate question: Should you go with the standard solar panel system or try the less intrusive but still unproven Tesla solar roof? To help you with your buying questions, I have compiled all the biggest differences between the two solar options below.