Ergosun solar roof tiles: what to know about Tesla’s newest competitor
Individual panel prices
Prices of DIY kits
Installed system prices
Ergosun Integrated Solar Roof tiles made their U.S. debut at Intersolar 2020, and are now officially available to homeowners in the U.S. The company has one major competitor: Tesla. Despite being tied to the concept of a solar roof, Tesla hasn’t seen a whole lot of success with it until recently.
Will Ergosun be able to compete with the tech giant? In this blog, we’ll compare the two products to get a better idea of how they stack up.
Ergosun is owned by Solarmass Energy Group, a U.K.-based company that opened its doors in 2014. Their solar roof tiles have been installed throughout the United Kingdom, Canda, Sweden - and most recently the United States.
The company opened a manufacturing facility in San Diego, California, where they also run their U.S. sales team. Currently, Ergosun solar tiles are available in Colorado, California, and New Mexico, and they have their sights set on expanding nationwide.
Ergosun’s solar roof tiles are designed to seamlessly integrate solar power with your roofing material, so they don't stand out like traditional solar panels do.
This allows homeowners to enjoy the benefits of installing solar modules (most notably, electricity bill savings) without having to compromise their home’s aesthetic.
|Specification||Ergosun solar tiles|
|Price||$3.63 per watt|
|Power output||15.37 W|
|Dimensions||11.73" x 13.19"|
|Power warranty||80% production at 25 years|
|Product warranty||10 years|
Each Ergosun solar shingle consists of solar PV cells attached to a Boral roofing tile. You can choose between two different styles: charcoal or terracotta clay. Terracotta clay tiles must be specially ordered.
The remainder of your roof can then be covered by conventional concrete or clay tiles to match your Ergosun solar tiles. Most Ergosun customers choose Boral tiles to match, but you can choose any brand you’d like.
Ergosun’s most popular option is the charcoal tile. Image source: Ergosun
If you already have a tile roof, you don’t have to completely replace your existing roof. However, most Ergosun customers do strive to make sure their roof looks as uniform as possible.
As of February 2021, Ergosun has installed around 80 solar roof systems worldwide and are hoping to increase that number as they expand in the U.S. Many of Ergosun’s installations have been part of new home construction projects.
|High efficiency and power rating||Expensive|
Ergosun’s solar roof tiles are more efficient than Tesla’s solar roof tiles - meaning they convert more of the sunlight that hits each tile into usable electricity.
This has to do with the design of Ergosun’s tiles - unlike the Tesla version, they don’t have a glass surface. The matte finish allows them to convert more sunlight into electricity and perform better in low-light conditions.
Although at first glance it seems like Tesla has a higher power rating, their shingles are substantially larger. If scaled up to the size of a Tesla shingle, Ergosun’s power output would be about 62 watts, which beats out Tesla’s 58.47 watts.
The high efficiency of Ergosun solar tiles make them a great choice for homeowners with limited roof space.
What’s great about Ergosun’s tiles is that they come in two different style options: concrete or terracotta clay. This makes it easy to match your home’s aesthetic, which is the whole appeal of solar roof tiles.
Tesla only offers one style. While it is a sleek look, it doesn’t necessarily match every home’s design. Ergosun gives homeowners a little more flexibility when it comes to the look of their roof.
Ergosun allows you to cover your roof with either concrete or clay tiles - two of the most durable roofing materials available.
Concrete and clay tiles have lifespans that can exceed 50 years. They also hold up great under extreme conditions, such as harsh cold temperatures or earthquakes. Ergosun tiles have a Class A fire resistance rating, as well.
Aside from producing clean solar energy for your home, Ergosun utilizing concrete and clay tiles makes them even more green: the materials used in the concrete and clay tiles are easily recyclable.
Plus, concrete and clay roofs are excellent at insulating your home. This means your house can stay warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer - all while keeping your electricity bill low.
Because Ergosun is a relatively new company (and relatively small), it’s likely they will be able to give you personalized customer service.
Unlike Tesla, Ergosun’s only product is solar shingles, so they are allocating their resources solely to their solar roof product. Plus, Tesla has historically been known to have not-so-great solar customer service in the long term.
Ergosun tiles cost $3.63 per watt, compared to Tesla’s $1.80 per watt. This is a pretty big price difference.
Some of the cost discrepancy can be attributed to how long the company has been around: Tesla has a lot of money and recognition behind their name, which allows them to keep prices low.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Ergosun is giving you a higher efficiency solar technology and a durable roofing product, which drives up price. However, when you take the federal tax solar tax credit into consideration, the cost for Ergosun tiles would fall to about $2.54 per watt.
While using concrete and clay tiles for their product does provide some advantages, it does bring one big disadvantage: weight.
Ergosun’s tiles weigh about 12 pounds per square foot. While this is lighter than some concrete tile options (which can reach up to 100 pounds per square foot), it’s still heavier than conventional asphalt shingles.
That’s a lot of weight to put on your roofing structure, and not all homes can handle it. So, if you don’t already have a concrete or tile roof, you’ll have to hire a structural engineer to make sure your roof can handle an Ergosun solar roof.
Ergosun’s warranty isn’t bad - but it isn’t the best either.
Ergosun’s production warranty states that by Year 25, your solar tiles will operate at no less than 80% of their original capacity. This is pretty standard when it comes to solar panels.
However, the issue is that Ergosun does not specify a yearly degradation rate. When solar panel warranties include a yearly degradation rate, you can get a better idea of how much energy your system will produce each year. Without it, your solar systems production can fall off substantially, and there’s nothing you can really do about it.
So, in an extreme scenario, say your Ergosun tiles could start producing at 80% capacity after 2 years (which is very rare) and it would still be within the warranty terms. According to the warranty, as long as they are operating at at least 80% of their original power by Year 25, they’re within the terms of the warranty.
To be clear, the chances of having the production drop that steep is extremely low. But because there is nothing in the warranty that suggests that can’t happen.
Ergosun’s solar tiles are a great way to power your home with renewable energy and are one of the few alternatives to Tesla’s solar roof. They offer a different style that may be better suited to the design of your home. And Ergosun’s higher efficiency and power production per square inch are a huge plus.
Because Ergosun is such a new and small company, it is a bit of a risk if you choose to install their product. Plus, it’s hard to say exactly how they compare to Tesla’s solar roof in real-world applications. You could also say that about Tesla though because there’s no official count of how many have been built, and they don’t explicitly state their solar roof efficiency and wattage on their website.
So, while Ergosun’s prices are higher and their warranty could be better, they do let you know all of their specifications right off the bat. At the very least, it’s worth it to get a quote from Ergosun if you’re in their service area, especially if you want a concrete or tile roof.
Working with an installer is the best way to ensure you get the best solar system installed on your roof - for your specific needs.