Is Tesla The Best Choice
As with any major purchase, you should get multiple quotes from multiple companies. Make sure they answer all your questions and provide the information you need. While Tesla’s press office was not responsive, its customer service representatives were easy to get in touch with and seemed knowledgeable. Still, it shouldn’t be your only call.
Tesla’s price match means it will always be competitive in terms of cost. Likewise, the estimates it provides online come in well below the national average. If the look of your panels is really important, Tesla’s do sit closer to the roof and look sharp. Tesla also offers more information up front about its warranty than some of the other players. Still, make sure you can view it in detail before committing.
Powerwall is widely considered an industry leader for batteries. It sets the Tesla’s equipment apart, but it’s also available from some other installers.
It’s also important to note that I researched this as deeply as was practical and tried to provide the clearest answers, but I didn’t go through the purchasing process, interact with customer service as a buyer, or base my assessment of Tesla’s performance on any first-hand experience. This category is a hard one to review in the traditional sense, so if possible, you’ll want to make sure to get multiple estimates from the different providers in your area before you make a purchase decision.
The Tesla Solar Roof: What You Need To Know
The Tesla Solar Roof is a building-integrated photovoltaic product that takes the functionality of solar panels and integrates it into roof shingles. A home with Tesla roof shingles installed would have a protective and complete roof with the capacity to generate solar energy. By installing the solar roof, you dont have to install solar panels to generate electricity, which some property owners find visually unappealing.
Some solar industry stakeholders believe that solar needs to be rebranded as an aesthetic and technical improvement that can be a part of a home renovation rather than a hefty module affixed to your rooftop. That sentiment was emphasized in Elon Musks October 2016 launch of Teslas first roofing product. With the solar roof, the company aims to bring solar further into the mainstream by removing any sort of aesthetic concerns that homeowners may have.
I think theres quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not, I think its going to be a night-and-day difference, said Musk in a statement before the official launch of Teslas first solar roof. Two months later, he unveiled the solar roof using a crowded, suburban event in California to demonstrate that his panel design was so seamlessly integrated that the entire audience of press needed to be altered to its presence on the house in front of them.
Tesla Solar Roof Availability: How To Order
Arranging an order for the Tesla Solar Roof is simple. Visit the Tesla Solar Roof designer website and enter the information. It can also be accessed at the following address: https://www.tesla.com/solarroof/design
The first four fields will calculate the roof’s price: location, home square footage, number of stories, and average electricity bill. Tesla needs to determine how big the roof will be, how much sunlight it’s likely to receive, and how much energy the house uses. The solar roof uses a combination of fake and solar tiles, meaning the roof isn’t entirely made of solar panels. These figures will determine the appropriate mix of fake and solar tiles.
The website will inform you that a non-refundable order fee is due today. Curiously, an information box also informs you that “if you feel strongly about this, we’ll give it back to you.” The pricing breakdown will demonstrate how much the roof will cost after incentives and assuming 25 years’ worth of savings. It also offers a comparison with other options like retrofit solar panels.
Once you’re satisfied, enter your home address and contact information. Then enter your payment information.
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Tesla Solar Shingle Specs
Teslas solar shingles are a sleek, slate grey at 15×45 and come with a 25 year tile, power, and weatherization warranty. The tiles have an ASTM D3161 Class F wind rating, and a ANSI FM 4473 Class 3 hail rating. Thats all fancy jargon to say the tiles are tested to hold up to 110mph winds and 1 ¾ inch hail.
Does Tesla Operate In My State How Do I Order
The only surefire way to know if Tesla’s solar panels are available in your area is plug your address into their website and check. I found services in parts of 25 states. That means it’s available in a few more states than some of the other major solar companies, like Trinity and Sunrun, though SunPower serves more.
The ordering process is fairly straightforward: Enter your address. Enter your average monthly electricity cost. Tesla will then spit out a suggested solar array and number of Powerwall batteries. It also provides an estimated cost and a visual mockup . You can add or remove solar panels and Powerwalls from your order and see how it will affect your estimated electricity usage and storage capabilities.
When you’re satisfied with your setup, you can place your order with a refundable deposit of $100.
From here, you’ll need to submit your utility bill and take a few pictures of your roof. Tesla uses that information and satellite imagery to design your system.
While it may seem strange that Tesla doesn’t send someone out to view your roof before designing your solar system, the idea here is to reduce costs.
At this point, you’ll sign a contract and installation moves ahead largely as it would with any installer. Permits are pulled. Tesla sets an install date . A local team puts panels on your roof.
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How Long Is The Installation Time For A Tesla Solar Roof
Exact installation time depends on the size of your roof and how difficult the installation process is. However, Tesla states that most installations take approximately one week to complete. Keep in mind that the entire process may be delayed if there are issues with third-party authorizations, financing or even the weather.
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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What Do I Get From Tesla Solar Panels
Tesla offers four sizes of solar panel installations measured in kilowatts: 4.25kW, 8.5kW, 12.75kW and 17 kW. Tesla allows you to package your solar panel purchase with a Powerwall, their well-regarded battery system that can store power for use during surge pricing, outages or after the sun sets.
As you might expect, Tesla boasts about its panels’ sleek, low-profile design. To my eye, Tesla’s installations are indeed less obtrusive than others. If that’s important to you, Tesla might have an advantage here.
Unless you’re really particular about who manufactures your panels, what’s really important is how long they’ll last and how well they’ll work. Tesla’s warranty says your panels are guaranteed to work at 80% capacity for 25 years or it will replace them. That’s roughly in line with other companies, though the specific details of the warranty aren’t available online and Tesla, which dissolved its press office last year, did not respond to requests for comment.
Tesla’s first foray into solar power was not with panels, but with storage. Its Powerwall battery is still one of the top choices in the industry, to the point that other major solar companies offer Powerwall with their installations.
You can install Powerwall batteries indoors and outside of your home. They’re roughly 6 inches deep, 2 and a half feet wide and almost 4 feet tall, so they shouldn’t be difficult to tuck away somewhere.
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.
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Does The Tesla Solar Roof Qualify For The Solar Tax Credit
Yes, the portion of costs associated with the active solar shingles and the battery qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit.
For example, if you have a $50,000 Tesla solar roof and $20,000 of it represents the cost of the inactive roofing materials, only the remaining $30,000 for the solar shingles and Powerwall would qualify for the federal tax credit. Once the 26% tax credit is considered, the solar and battery costs would drop to $22,200, and the total cost for the entire roof would fall to $42,200.
Learn How Much Solar Can Save You Today Before You Make Your Decision
Just as Tesla doesnt make electric vehicles for the masses, Teslas solar roof isnt feasible for every home. In many ways, the companys solar roof product is similar to its first electric car. If you are an early adopter of newer technologies, dont care about price, and are prepared to wait for a product with an uncertain manufacturing timeline, then waiting for Teslas solar roof could be the right decision for you.
However, there are always risks associated with installing newer technology, especially when Teslas solar roof lacks so much transparency. Unlike Teslas solar shingles, many of the premium solar panels currently available on the market today are sold by well-known consumer electronics manufacturers that have been producing solar panels for a decade or more.
Additionally, waiting to go solar has its risks, even if youre interested in the solar roof. The cost of going solar is falling every year, and there are premium solar panels already available today that come with high-efficiency ratings and a sleek black design. If you wait years for the Tesla Solar Roof, you will lose out on years of savings on your electricity bill. You also run the risk of missing out on financial incentives for solar: many state tax credits have already expired and as of now, the federal investment tax credit for solar will be lowered to 22 percent in 2023.
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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.”
Solar Roof Efficiency Vs Solar Panel Efficiency
The brand new solar roof will be entirely manufactured in the United States. Tesla plans to manufacture all of their solar tiles at their Buffalo facilities using solar cells provided by their partner, Panasonic. Peter Rive, the CTO at SolarCity had previously claimed the efficiency of one of their solar tiles was equivalent to a standard panel. However, according to SolarCitys website the colored film of the solar tile allows the cells to blend into the roof while minimizing solar efficiency loss. While it appears this would mean the efficiency of solar tiles would be lower than those of solar panel, this isnt necessarily the case.
Currently, Panasonics N3300 HIT modules have an efficiency of 19.7%. The have developed solar cells as efficient as 23.5% in their labs. The solar industry average for solar panels is approximately 16%, while Pick My Solars installers come in at around 19.5%. So even if the colored film of the solar tiles lessens the efficiency by a few percentage points, the solar tiles efficiency still may be equivalent to that of standard solar modules.
When it comes to the efficiency of Teslas solar roof in comparison to standard solar panels, there is no clear cut winner. Just make sure that if your home is very limited in regards to roof space, you go with the highest efficiency module possible to power your home.
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How Much Does The Tesla Solar Roof Cost
With the new complexity categories explained above, its a bit difficult to fully estimate the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof. The cost varies significantly depending on whether your roof is simple or complex and depending on the square footage of your roof. Teslas estimate calculator shows that if youre installing a system on a simple, small roof, the price is fairly comparable to that of a new asphalt roof installation plus solar panels. However, as you increase the size and/or complexity of your roof, this number quickly skyrockets.
For an 8.2 kilowatt system in northern California, Tesla estimates that the solar roof will cost $48,460 before incentives if you have an intermediately complex, 2,000 square foot roof. However, if you update your roof to be considered complex, the price increases to $54,940 and if your intermediately complex roof is 2,500 square feet instead of 2,000 square feet, the price jumps to $56,460. You can dig further into these calculations in our comparison of the cost of the solar roof vs. standard panels.
The Tesla Solar Roof: Pros And Cons Of Installing Solar Roof Tiles
Teslas Solar Roof tiles have been creating plenty of buzz in the world of solar power, and some people want to know more about these tiles and if Namasté Solar installs them. Namasté Solar does not currently install Solar Roof tiles, but we can help you cut through some of the media hype to decide whether solar roof tiles are a good option for you. In this post well look at the pros and cons of the Tesla Solar Roof for your residential solar energy system.
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Cons Of Tesla Roof Tiles
Cost: To install Teslas Solar Roof, youre required to replace your whole roof even if you dont need a new roof right now. That means youre paying for the cost of both a solar energy system and a new roof. According to EnergySage, on an apples-to-apples comparison: Teslas solar roof will cost nearly $25,000 more than installing solar panels, and yet will only deliver 77 percent as much solar electricity .”
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 , 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.
What Is The Production Of Solar Roof Tiles
Efficiency numbers for Solar Roof are not readily available. In a recent analysis, PV Magazine estimated Solar Roof efficiency between 4-11%. Total system production depends on the density of solar tiles to non-solar tiles in the final design.
As a comparison, most modern solar panels operate between 15% to 22% efficiency. Overall production depends on the number of panels installed.