Tesla Solar Roof

Image source: Tesla

The Tesla solar roof has made giant strides in improving the aesthetics of residential solar panels. For owners of existing homes that already have a perfectly good roof the cost of the Tesla solar roof probably prices it out as an option for those wanting to cut their electricity bill by installing solar panels. However, for new homes, or for those who need to reroof anyway, the high efficiency and high power output that a Tesla solar roof generates makes the comparison with conventional solar panels much more interesting.

Rooftop solar technology has come a long way over the years. Not only has it become more cost-effective, but it has evolved beyond the big solar panels that you may associate with solar power. Tesla has developed glass solar tiles that blend better and appear identical to non-solar roof tiles to create a more seamless, aesthetically appealing roof. Tesla solar roof tiles give you the opportunity to provide efficient, environmentally friendly power with a sleek design.

Of course, these tiles come at a premium, so the pricing may not make sense for everyone interested in rooftop solar. If you are considering Tesla rooftop tiles, take the time to get a quote and find out what the best option is for you.

How Much Are Tesla Solar Roof Tiles?

Tesla has announced that an average price for a solar roof is $21.85 per square foot. This is for a roof with 35% solar tiles and the rest of the tiles non-solar. That cost increases for higher percentages of solar tiles, with Tesla offering up to 70%. To purchase a recommended Powerwall battery to store the energy the roof generates, you can expect to pay an average of $7,000 more.

How Many Tesla Solar Roof Tiles Will I Need?

The number of solar tiles you purchase depends on your energy needs. Tesla estimates that the 40% solar option will be sufficient for most, and that more than that may generate more energy than you need to use. While some utilities allow reselling back to the energy grid, many have pushed for regulations preventing this. Identifying the energy need you have is key to getting the number correct. You should work with certified solar installation experts to determine just what you need for your home. The Solar-Estimate solar panel cost and savings calculator is the most accurate free online calculator that allows you to enter your location, utility and power use and then works out how many kw's of solar panels you need, the likely savings and an estimate of the cost of this size solar system based on prices available in your city.

How Much Power Does A Solar Roof Generate?

Tesla has not provided an estimate of kilowatt-hours its tiles will produce-and that comes in part because of the large number of variables that come into play. On average, a roof with 40% solar coverage will produce less than one with 50% or 70%, but all of this depends on a number of factors, including:

  • amount of sunlight provided during the day (in turn dependant on your location)

  • pitch and direction of your roof

  • percentage of solar tiles on the roof

If you plan to get a Tesla solar roof, you will need to look at your current energy usage to determine just how much solar energy you will need to produce. This can be difficult if you are thinking of installing the Tesla solar roof on a new home because you don't have a history of energy use to draw from.

From there, work with the experts at Tesla to identify how to configure your roof to generate the right amount of energy going forward.

A Tesla solar roof requires a greater investment than traditional rooftop solar panels, and therefore will not be the best option for everyone. For those willing and able to spend more, the aesthetics may make it a great option for you, and the warranty certainly adds to the appeal. When you are ready to make the move to a rooftop solar system, you should look at it as one of your options and weigh the value and appeal against your needs.

How Much Will It Cost for the Entire Roof?

The total cost for the Tesla solar roof tiles can vary widely depending on the percentage of solar tiles you include. The average house in the United States is 2,467 square feet. If you opt for 70% solar, a roof on this size of house will cost $51,200, and with the Powerwall battery, that cost climbs to $58,200. The cost decreases if you go with a lower solar percentage; a roof.

With 40% active solar tiles, which Tesla estimates will be the average percent required, an average roof size of 2,467 square feet and Tesla's published estimate of $21.85 per square foot the Tesla roof cost will be $43,700 for that average-sized roof.

However, this is just the material cost and it compares with a material cost of only around $6,000 for a shingle roof. Obviously, normal roof shingles aren't also a power station and over 25 years these power savings will usually make up the difference. In some cases much more than the difference.

Of course, available tax credits help defray the cost. You can get tax credits on solar roof installations of over $15,000 for the 70% solar roof. The cost is still substantial, but may be more manageable with credits factored in.

Other factors come into play as well. If you are already going to replace your roof soon, you should compare the cost of the roof to what you were already going to pay. On the other hand, if you have a newer roof and would not need to replace it for years to come, the cost of replacement can seem more onerous.

How Long Is the Warranty for Tesla Solar Roof Tiles and Regular Tiles?

Tesla's tempered glass solar roof tiles are designed to be three times stronger than standard roof tiles. Tesla backs this claim with a warranty of infinity. In other words, if the tiles are ever damaged, no matter how long you have had them, they are covered. This can be another long-term way of defraying the cost of a Tesla solar roof. However, note that the power and weatherization warranties are both 30 years.

How Long Before My Tesla Solar Roof Tiles Pay Themselves Off?

Like any savings calculation for solar, the time it takes for a Tesla solar roof to pay for itself varies not only by current cost considerations in different locations, but also on assumptions of what incentives will be in place and how costs will change over time. Consumer reports ran calculations based on specific home sizes in New York, Texas, and California, and came to very different results. Over 30 years, the estimate showed that the roof paid itself off comfortably in New York and by an even healthier margin in California. The Texas estimate, though, had the roof still not returning on the investment after 30 years. Different factors will change the results with each state, city, and home-but working with a solar expert can help you estimate your chances on a strong return on investment.

Is a Tesla solar roof a better option than regular solar panels?

There are two ways to look at this. Economically the average reroof for an average sized home would cost around $6,000-$8,000 in materials. The average 6kw solar system, using regular solar panels would cost around $19,000 before any incentives.

And so you can get a new roof and an equivalent amount of solar generation as a Tesla solar roof for around half the cost of a Tesla solar roof. 

The SolarReviews last word on the Tesla solar roof

However, the Tesla solar roof has something that the other alternative doesn't...it is cool in spades. Let's face it none of us want to build a boring home. We want a home that is a statement about who we are and buying a Tesla solar roof is both a statement in style and a statement that you are prepared to spend a premium amount on your hard earned cash to support a company whose innovations across electric vehicles and battery energy storage are probably doing more in the fight against climate change than any other single company in the world has.

If cash is tight by all means just buy a normal solar system but if you can then buy a Tesla solar roof...its cool...and the planet needs Tesla to succeed.