What is the Tesla Solar Roof?
The Tesla Solar Roof is a premium tile roof with integrated solar. The industry terminology is Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Instead of depending on solar panels installed above the surface of the roof, the Solar Roof is a dual purpose roof that both protects the home from the elements and produces electricity for home use. These textured glass shingles can either be active photovoltaic producers or inactive. The two types look nearly identical and give your roof a sleek uniform look without the look of solar panels.
Installing a Tesla Solar Roof means you will have to replace all of your old roof with a new premium tile roof. Keep in mind that the Tesla Solar Roof is the only roof on the market that will actually pay for itself over time with the electricity that it produces!
How Much Does The Tesla Solar Roof Cost?
There are three main factors:
- The size of the solar system (measured in kW)
- The size of the roof (measured in square feet)
- The complexity of the roof (pitch, obstructions, roof characteristics like valleys, hips, dormers, etc.)
The cost of the solar system, or active solar tiles, is about $2.50 per watt. In addition, the cost of home run wiring, balance of system, and inverters can bring the total cost up to a total of about $4.00 per watt installed.
The cost of completing your roof with inactive shingles ranges from $18 to $24 per square foot, based on the complexity of your roof’s design and the pitch of the roof. The overall cost will of course depend on how much energy you want the system to produce, the overall square footage of your roof, and the complexity of the roof’s design.
To give you an idea of what this means in practical terms, let’s look at an example home that has a moderately complex roof with a pitch of 4/12 (18.5 degrees) and totals 1,700 square feet. If we’re assuming an average monthly electric bill of $100 per month, on a home in Portland, OR with decent sun exposure, it’d require a 8 kW System for 100% offset.
The cost of the solar system would be roughly $36,000. While the cost of the inactive shingles to cover the remainder of the roof is estimated at $34,000, for a total cost of $70,000.
After all solar incentives and tax credits are applied, the total cost could feasibly be dropped to around $45,000. With a system of this size, the homeowner would be expected to save more than $50,000 in energy costs over 25 years, taking into consideration the rising cost of power. In the long run, the roof completely pays for itself.
Although it’s a big upfront cost, the Tesla Solar Roof provides a positive return on investment. What other roof can do that?
Traditional Solar Costs vs. Tesla Solar Roof Costs
On a per-watt basis, Tesla’s price of $2.50 per watt is cheaper than the average cost of traditional solar in Portland which is roughly about $3.10 per watt. But of course, a Tesla roof also involves an entire roof replacement. To fairly compare these costs, we need to look at the price of solar panels plus the cost of a traditional roof replacement.
For a comparably sized 9 kW traditional solar panel system with an average price of $3.10 per watt, the total cost would be $27,900 before incentives. Replacing a 1,700-square-foot roof with a premium tile roof, based on average U.S. prices, costs approximately $17,000. This brings the total cost of a traditional solar package to $44,900, which would be approximately $35,000 after solar incentives are applied.
If comparing these costs to the solar roof example in the section before, a fully-integrated Tesla Solar Roof is only about $10,000 more in this instance–for a beautiful solar roof, that’s not bad. Don’t forget that your home’s resale value will be much greater with a solar roof and may likely compensate you for that $10k premium.
Tesla Solar Roof Tiles Specs
Most traditional solar panels are tested against 1” diameter hail which is considered severe, but Tesla shingles are even sturdier. Wind speeds of 140 mph are equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane, and most solar panels are built to withstand that level of wind. But Tesla also outdid this metric, with the shingles able to withstand even higher wind speeds.
However, Tesla roofs do require a grid connection – you can’t go off the grid with a Tesla Solar Roof. This means that if your local power grid has an outage, your shingles will stop producing power as a safety precaution to protect workers repairing the grid. But, if you have a solar battery installed (such as a Tesla Powerwall), you can use the power stored in the battery and continue to have power during outages. In this scenario, your solar system would continue to operate and charge the Powerwall during an outage.
What is the Tesla Solar Warranty?
Tesla offers a 25-year shingle performance warranty, which covers the tiles themselves, the power output, and the weatherization of the shingles. They also offer a 10-year comprehensive warranty on their solar systems that covers any necessary maintenance or repair costs.
A 25-year warranty is fairly typical in the Pacific Northwest solar markets and most traditional solar panels are covered by a similar guarantee.
Top 3 Tesla Roof FAQs
Here are the top 3 questions we get asked most about the Tesla solar roof tiles the Portland, area:
It does not, you can install a solar roof without a Powerwall battery. However, remember that your solar roof will stop producing power if there’s a grid outage, and a Powerwall can store energy to tide you over until power is restored.
If you are looking to add a solar energy system to your home and your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, the Tesla Solar Roof could be a good solution for you. However, if your roof is still in fine shape, traditional solar panels would probably be the best option for you.
The Tesla solar roof will likely not need any maintenance, especially with the amount of rain that we get here in the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise, occasional cleaning might be a good idea to keep the solar tiles producing their very best!