Is a Tesla Solar Roof the Best Solar Option for You?

Is a Tesla Solar Roof the Best Solar Option for You?
pic credit: CNET

Solar panels are being installed on rooftops at an increasing rate. Analysts predict adoption to pick up as solar installation costs continue to fall, especially if the federal solar tax credit remains in place.

When Tesla purchased SolarCity in 2016 and increased its solar installation capacity, it made the biggest inroads into this industry. It has grown to become one of the country’s largest solar installers. However, in addition to its regular solar panel installations, which are among the most affordable in the business, Tesla now provides Tesla Solar Roof, which replaces a traditional roof with electricity-generating shingles.

Customers will pay a premium to create solar power without seeming like it, according to the company. Solar Roof is an option to explore if you’re disturbed by the appearance of solar panels and are changing your roof at the same time. If you don’t mind the aesthetic of solar panels and want to get the most electricity for your money, Tesla’s Solar Roof might be more expensive than it’s worth.

Because Tesla no longer has a press office, the following information is limited to what is publicly available online. Requests for comment made to Tesla’s still-active press email went unanswered.

What do You get from the Tesla Solar Roof?

Solar Roof is being marketed by Tesla as a technological and design breakthrough. While Solar Roof isn’t the first building to incorporate solar power into its architecture — the practice is known as building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPV — it is by far the most well-known.

You don’t get solar panels to cover your roof when you get a Tesla Solar Roof; you get a new roof made up of normal and photovoltaic shingles. The end result is a roof that powers your home and keeps you dry while appearing to be a regular roof to passers-by.

This will necessitate the scrapping of your existing roof. While Tesla just announced that Solar Roofs will be installed on top of some newer, single-layer roofs, roofs constructed of metal, clay, wood, or architectural shingles will need to be replaced. Tesla Solar Roof isn’t compatible with flat roofs, although ordinary solar panels may work.

Solar Roof, unlike Tesla solar roof panels, comes in more than four sizes. According to Electrek, which obtained the shingle’s specifications, Tesla’s solar shingle has a maximum output of 71.67 watts. As a result, the Solar Roof may be more precisely adapted to your energy requirements.

A 25-year warranty against shingle faults and a 25-year warranty against your Solar Roof leaking is included with your Tesla Solar Roof. Your Solar Roof is also covered by a production warranty: after five years, it will produce at 95 percent of its rated electricity, and after 25 years, it will produce at 85 percent. This compares favorably to several solar panel manufacturer warranties.

Tesla sells its own Powerwall battery, which is commonly installed by various companies. Powerwall can store 13.5 kilowatt-hours of energy and power most appliances, while 240-volt appliances like air conditioners may require additional batteries. The amount of energy you utilize determines how long 13.5 kilowatt-hours last. (During the day, the Solar Roof will generate power and perhaps replenish your Powerwall.)

Powerwall batteries can be installed both indoors and outdoors. They’re 6 inches broad, 2.5 feet deep, and over 4 feet tall.

Tesla claims that its solar inverter, which converts the direct current electricity generated by your panels into alternating current that your house can utilize, is 97.5 percent efficient. That places it near the top of the normal range. Tesla also makes the Powerwall Plus, which combines the inverter and battery into one device and has a higher output.

What do You get from the Tesla Solar Roof?
pic credit: CNET

When off-grid, a Powerwall can discharge electricity at a constant rate of 5.8 kilowatts or a peak of 10 kilowatts, whereas a Powerwall Plus can discharge energy at a continuous rate of 9.6 kilowatts or a high of 22 kilowatts. When the sun isn’t shining, the values drop (seven kilowatts continuous and ten kilowatts peak), but they’re still greater than Powerwall.

You can track your energy production and consumption using Tesla’s slick-looking app. You can also adjust how your Powerwall works if you have one. You can program when you use your Powerwall, how much backup energy it stores, and how much energy it stores before a storm. You can also use it to request and schedule service if you need it. I did not put the app through its paces. On Google Play, it has a 4-star rating, and on Apple’s App Store, it has a 3.8-star rating.

Is it worth it to invest in a Tesla Solar Roof?

A Solar Roof will be more expensive than conventional solar panel systems. Depending on the state of your current roof, the cost may be more or less justified. You’ll be writing a huge check anyway if you’re due for a new roof.

A Tesla Solar Roof isn’t for you if your goal is to generate solar for the least amount of money possible. Tesla’s online estimate for a house in Oregon ranged from $20,200 to $23,400 for 5.49 kilowatts of solar power. At $19,294, Tesla believes that installing 9.6 kilowatts of solar panels will still be cheaper.

According to that Solar Roof estimate, the base price ranges from $8,100 to $11,300, with the solar portion of the roof costing $9,900 and the pulling off of the old roof costing $2,200. Powerwalls are available for an additional $10,500 apiece.

The system costs $4.26 per watt without batteries. According to the National Renewable Energy Lab [PDF], this is more than the national median price of $3.80 for 2020 and some state median prices. According to EnergySage, typical installation prices ranged from $2.33 per watt in Arizona to $3.41 per watt in Washington, DC. If you don’t need your roof torn off, Tesla’s estimated cost per watt is closer to $3.86.

The complexity of your roof is another issue that could affect the cost of your system. Steep climbs, various levels, and numerous obstacles may increase the cost.

Tesla advises expert maintenance on a regular basis, albeit the contents of that advice are unclear.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was reported to be examining a whistleblower complaint that Tesla wasn’t being honest in its efforts to replace solar panels that were on the verge of catching fire in December 2021. While it did replace them, the complaint claims that it did not offer to turn off at-risk systems or give shareholders or consumers upfront explanations.

Does Tesla operate in your state? How do you order?

To see if you’re in Tesla’s service region, go to the company’s website and enter your address for an estimate. Tesla’s Solar Roof service area has apparently been expanded to include the whole United States, while certain addresses still show as unavailable when requesting an estimate. In other cases, Tesla will direct you to the website or phone number of a certified third-party installer in your area.

Create an account with Tesla to place an order. Tesla will next use satellite imagery of your roof to build a system and provide a price estimate, which will be completed when a Tesla representative visits your home to confirm the roof complexity, size, and a few other aspects.

After you and Tesla have agreed on a design, Tesla will obtain permissions and schedule your installation. Tesla works with certified third-party installers as well as in-house teams.

Is Tesla’s Solar Roof a good value for money?

It’s crucial to browse around for any large purchase. This is especially true in the case of solar, where a local provider may be able to outperform national enterprises with higher administrative expenses. Tesla has made significant efforts to reduce the cost of its equipment, however, the Solar Roof is a difficult comparison to make.

Among the commonly available solar solutions, Tesla’s Solar Roof is the least visible. The roofs appear sleek and a little gleaming in photographs, so while they appear to be similar to any other roof, there are some peculiarities. Other firms, including GAF Energy earlier this year, have launched their own solar shingle solutions. While GAF costs aren’t available, a spokesman indicated in January that it would cost approximately half as much as Tesla’s Solar Roof. Their solar shingles resemble a normal roof less than Teslas.

If you despise the appearance of solar panels but adore the appearance of the Solar Roof, it could be the ideal decision for you. Tesla’s Solar Roof is unlike any other solar product on the market. You’ll have to pay a premium for that look, however how much depends on your roof’s condition and form.

Tesla has a referral scheme as well. If someone orders a Solar Roof through your link, you’ll receive $500 once their system is up and running.

Other firms can install Tesla’s Powerwall batteries, which are among the best and most commonly utilized.

It’s crucial to note that, while I tried my best to research Tesla’s Solar Roof, I didn’t test it in any hands-on or empirical way. In the traditional sense, reviewing solar products is challenging. Obtain numerous quotations from a variety of installers, including those who are local to your area, if possible.

Also Read: How Much Does It Cost to Set Up an Amazon Smart Home? Explained

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