What Are The Advantages Of Solar Roof Tiles
Solar tiles could be the go-to solution for solar energy generation if:
- You value the aesthetic of clean roof lines.
- You live in a heritage conservation area that prevents the installation of solar panels.
- Your north-facing roof area faces the street.
- Your sunny roof area is the wrong shape or size for conventional PV panels.
Theres no need to drill holes in the roof to install the tiles. Theyre not bolted onto the roof, so theres no extra strain from natural wind flow. Theyre much more resistant to cyclonic winds than solar panels, and in strength and impact testing for hail damage, they often perform as well or better than conventional roofing materials.
Alternative Building Integrated Photovoltaics
Solar roof tiles are also known as building integrated photovoltaics . BIPVs are part of the roofing material, discreetly integrated with similar-looking non-solar tiles.
Apart from Tesla, other manufacturers of solar tiles are:
Australian company Tractile has developed a patented, interlocking roofing tile. They provide an innovative combination of interlocking system, high performance composite materials, and solar technology to deliver a 4-in-1 solution for roofing, insulation, electricity, and heated water. Theres a 30 year product review.
As reported in Greentech Media, sonnen plans to release its solar product in September and start targeting the 102,000 new-build homes expected in Australia during 2018.
A future alternative to solar panels?
Is The Tesla Solar Roof Worth It
As you can see, there are many variables and many numbers to consider when comparing the Tesla Solar Roof with a conventional solar panel installation. It can be difficult to truly compare apples to apples.
In many cases, homeowners are not looking to reinstall their roof along with installing solar panels. Most of the time in this case, just installing solar panels is a better option than installing a whole Tesla Solar Roof.
However, if you are considering reinstalling your roof along with installing solar panels, the pricing becomes more competitive. It would be a good idea to analyze the chart above to estimate how much reinstalling your roof might cost. From there you can speak with both your local solar company and Tesla to get an estimate of how much installing solar panels vs installing a Tesla Solar Roof might cost.To get a free solar estimate, or if you have any questions about how solar works, Green Ridge Solar is here to help. Contact Green Ridge Solar today for a free solar analysis, or check out our Solar Calculator to see how much you could save with solar.
How Do The Savings Of The Tesla Solar Roof Compare To Traditional Solar Panels
Now we know the cost of a solar roof compared to a traditional solar installation and roof replacement, but how do the savings stack up?
A traditional 8.18 kW solar system in California will produce around 17,688 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. Based on an electric rate of $0.20 per kWh, that would save about $3,538 per year, and about $88,450 over the 25-year lifetime of the system.
Teslas production estimates for the solar roof would bring yearly savings to around $2,469 and the lifetime savings to $61,720.
The lower solar production from the solar roof is mainly because solar shingle orientation is determined by the slope of your roof. Rack-mounted solar panels are able to be oriented for ideal solar generation, giving you higher energy bill savings.
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You May Become Internet
As one of the first to receive a solar roof, Toblerâs house has seen widespread online coverage. Thatâs filtered through into some neighborhood recognition.
âI did have a guy knock on my door that lived in some other California city that Iâd never heard of,â Tobler says. âHe was driving by to visit his dad, and he looked overâ¦he said he actually recognized my house from the internet, and right away said âthatâs the one! Thatâs the one with the solar roof!ââ
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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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Whats The Latest News On The Tesla Solar Roof Tiles
Tesla has now installed solar roofs across the country, though the exact number of installations is unclear. The product has been gaining popularity among some consumers, leading to long installation wait times for customers who sign contracts. In April 2021, many of these customers were shocked when they received emails from Tesla quoting higher costs than their contract prices. The lack of explanation and transparency caused confusion and frustration among consumers, especially if they could no longer afford the hefty price tag.
During Teslas quarterly earnings call in April 2021, Elon Musk affirmed that demand remains strong for the Tesla Solar Roof, despite the price increases. He did concede that Tesla basically made some significant mistakes in assessing the difficulty of certain roofs. To its solar roof calculator, the company added a roof complexity estimate, which adjusts the systems price based on roof complexity. On its website, Tesla divides the complexity into three categoriessimple, intermediate, and complexbased on the following criteria:
- Simple: single-level roof, uncrowded mounting planes, few obstructions , low pitch
- Intermediate: multi-level roof , more crowded mounting plane, more obstructions , higher pitch
- Complex: multi-level roof , heavily crowded mounting plane, many obstructions , steep pitch
Based on Teslas calculator, the price of a Tesla Solar Roof varies substantially depending on what you put for your roofs complexity.
Tesla Solar Roof Available In Central Oregon Bend Resident Says Extra Cost Is Worth It
BEND, Ore. — A new way to do solar roofing has arrived in Central Oregon, and it’s backed by Tesla, the high-profile electric car maker.
Jake Hermeling is the first Central Oregon homeowner to have a Tesla solar roof built on a house.
I think the beauty of the product is that you cant tell its solar, Hermeling said Monday.
The roof has solar tiles that are designed to look like shingles, instead of the typical solar panels.
Most people come by, they have no idea, Hermeling said.
The roof was installed by Greenlee Roofing, a Bend-based company that received clearance from Tesla last January.
The company’s website said the solar roof tiles are “are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles.”
A few other companies have clearance throughout the state, but Director of Sales Hobie Smith said Greenlee is the first and only in Central Oregon.
Smith said a roof like Hermelings would roughly cost $18,000 to $20,000 for typical shingles. The solar roof is close to $25,000 to $30,000 more.
But Hermeling said having a “net positive house,” with the opportunity for a tax rebate, is worth the upfront cost.
As I was factoring it into my build cost, it was not a difficult decision for me, on the financial side, he said.
Smith said the solar roof could eliminate a homeowner’s typical monthly energy cost.
Everything that he would be spending per month, whether it be $150 to $200 per month, hes gaining back, Smith said.
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Who Are Teslas Solar Roof Competitors
Though the buzz around Teslas illustrious roof product has made it appear like its a new concept, it is merely the continued repackaging brilliance that some call the Musk effect. Development of solar roof tiles and solar shingles has been evolving for many years, and a number of companies have taken a stab at designing a versatile, subtle rooftop solar medium that could be considered a genuine roofing material rather than a module add-on. Here are some of Teslas solar roof competitors that offer similar BIPV products:
Its important to note that the solar shingles and tiles offered by these companies do still stand out against other roofing material. None can compete with Tesla in terms of aesthetics or subtlety, but they do offer low-profile BIPV solutions that may alleviate aesthetic concerns for some solar shoppers.
How Do They Work
They work the same way that conventional solar panels work, by converting sunlight into electricity.
However, theyre structurally different to conventional solar panels. These roof shingles are composed of three separate layers. The innermost layer is the high-efficiency solar cell. The middle layer is film that covers the cell and makes it invisible to people. The outermost layer is tempered glass.
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Tesla Solar Roof Backup Protection
The Tesla Solar Roof comes with its own backup protection in the form of the Tesla Powerwall. The Powerwall is a home battery that comes with every Tesla Solar Roof purchase.
The Powerwall stores the energy you produce with your Solar Roof. As your Solar Roof generates energy throughout the day, that energy gets used by your home or stored in the Powerwall. Then, when your home needs to use power at night or during a power outage, it relies on the Powerwall.
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.
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Winner For Most: Solar Panels
For now, conventional solar panels are the safer bet if you are looking to make the switch to solar power. They are a proven product. They are also typically cheaper and offer a bit more flexibility in terms of how you install them.
Tesla’s solar roof shows a lot of promise, but the custom tiles can be cost-prohibitive and early troubles with the product make it hard to recommend at this stage. Future versions of the Tesla solar roof may improve and make good on the promising concept. For now, stick with what works so you can save on your energy bill and shrink your carbon footprint.
Tesla Solar Roof Controversy: Whats Next For The Solar Roof In 2021
The Tesla Solar Roof project has faced delays, lawsuits, and criticism since announced in 2016. As of 2021, however, many of those issues have started to smooth out, and Teslas Solar Roof could face a brighter future.
Elon Musk announced the Solar Roof all the way back in 2016, when the company was in the process of acquiring SolarCity. Musk was the chairman and largest shareholder for SolarCity, and his cousins effectively ran the company. Some criticized the deal for being rife with conflicts. Despite the criticism, the SolarCity board agreed to a $2 billion buyout from Elon Musk.
Since 2016, Musk has fired executives and involved himself personally with the project. According to Bloombergs Dana Hull, Musk sees the Power Roof as essential to his vision of becoming more than just a car company.
Today, Tesla continues to install Solar Roofs across the United States. However, the company has faced criticisms for its slow rollout.
In 2019, Musk claimed Tesla would launch a new Solar Roof that would be cheaper, faster, and easier to install. He wanted Tesla to install 1,000 Solar Roofs per week, with sales continuing to grow like kelp on steroids over the coming months and years.
Two years later, Tesla is purportedly struggling to hit 200 installations a week. Tesla has also faced criticism for hiking the price of the Solar Roof after customers are already under contract.
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The Final Verdict: Should You Buy A Tesla Solar Roof
The Tesla Solar Roof is a gorgeous product with a prohibitively high cost to install. Right now, its largely a premium solution for early adopters who dont mind paying more to access cutting-edge technology in high demand. Anyone who invests in the Solar Roof should also be willing to contend with more frequent maintenance than a traditional solar array might require.
Lastly, you should be willing to wait for production to catch up to demand. Just know that youll be running on Teslas schedule, and theyre a lot better about generating hype around new products than meeting production deadlines.
A Versatile & Pleasing Design
Tesla Solar Roof relies on a combination of energy producing and non-energy producing tiles to easily integrate with a wide variety of roof shapes and sizes. Completely indistinguishable from one another, both tile types come together to create an invisible solar array that’s aesthetically pleasing at any angle.
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How Much Does The Tesla Solar Roof Cost
However, we can use numbers provided by Tesla and numbers provided by real-life solar estimates from Tesla to compare the costs of a Tesla Solar Roof versus a conventional solar installation.
According to Tesla, their Solar Roof costs $21.85 per square foot with the assumption that 35% of the roof will be covered by non-energy producing tiles. That means a 2,000 square foot roof would cost about $44,000. Keep in mind that this includes the cost of replacing the entire roof material in place of solar tiles.
However, according to actual solar estimates from prospective Tesla customers, the actual cost of a Tesla Solar Roof comes out to approximately $35 per square foot. That adds over $26,000 to the cost of a 2,000 square foot roof.
As you can see, the pricing difference between what Tesla estimates and the ultimate price can be quite different.
The unfortunate task of getting a true price estimate for a Tesla Solar Roof is that not many have been installed yet. Tesla, not known for their transparency, has not provided numbers about how many Tesla Solar Roofs have been installed, nor provided much information about the ultimate costs of those installs.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Tesla Solar Roof
While the cost of switching to solar is high, and the news and information surrounding Tesla Solar Roofs can be confusing or nearly obsolete, its important to research each product, company, and topic before making a decision. Learn more about the Tesla Solar Roof by reading these commonly asked questions:
Is Tesla currently installing solar roofs?
Depending on your location, Tesla will send its own installers or contractors to set up your system after purchasing a Solar Roof.
Are Tesla roofs durable?
Tesla claims that their shingles are three times stronger than the average roof tile and are built to endure all weather conditions. They have the highest fire rating and are built to withstand 110 mph winds , so you can feel confident even in extreme weather conditions.
How long will a Tesla Solar Roof last?
Tesla offers a 25-year warranty on the systems tiles, power, and weatherization. Plus, its inverter has a 12.5-year warranty, giving homeowners peace of mind regarding their investment.
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Tesla Solar Roof Versus Hail
If youre spending tens of thousands of dollars on a roof, then you need that roof to withstand hail and other physical damage. So how does the Tesla Solar Roof fare against hail?
Part of the reason Tesla delayed the rollout of the Solar Roof was to make the system as strong as possible. The shingles are called solarglass because the top layer is made from glass. It sounds like glass shingles would do very poorly against hail, branches, and other physical damage to your roof. However, thats not the case.
Tesla claims their Solar Roof is more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. The company has engineered the solarglass for all-weather protection. Plus, the tiles are backed by a 25-year warranty.
Of course, Tesla can make all of the claims it wants but it doesnt matter if the roof cannot survive a real hailstorm. In July 2021, Good Faith Energy showing how the Tesla Solar Roof fared against baseball-sized hail.
Texas experienced several serious hailstorms at the end of April that set new records in the state. One homeowner in Wichita Falls, Texas with a Tesla Solar Roof recorded the aftermath. Large hailstorms fell on the roof for 20 to 30 minutes. Most of the hailstones were the size of golf balls, but there were several hailstorms the size of baseballs.
How Much Do Tesla Solar Tiles Weigh
Per Tesla, their new solar tiles will be approximately half the weight of a standard roof tile. This is a hard claim to make without defining the standard roof tile being used in this statement.
To understand the range of tile weights, lets look at this:
- Concrete Tiles between 9.5 12 lbs. per square foot
- Asphalt Shingles between 2.5 4 lbs. per square foot
- Spanish Tiles between 6 19 lbs. per square foot
- Slate Tiles between 7-10 lbs. per square foot
Our approximation when taking all of the solar tiles components into consideration is that the tiles will weigh about 15 20 lbs. This is a rough estimate due to Teslas ambiguity when discussing the weight of their solar tiles.
We reached out to one of our excellent roofing partners, Chandlers Roofing, to get their perspective on Teslas new solar product
Aesthetically the Solar Roof is beautiful, but well need to wait and see how Tesla will resolve taking it to market, says Trevor Leeds, President of Chandlers Roofing, Roofing is a different animal than solar. There are different variables that have to be considered like waterproofing and the roof-attachment method. Compliance codes for roofing are also much different than solar. Will Tesla figure out how to be a national roofing contractor? Is Tesla looking to assume this liability and overhead? All of these unknowns will need to be worked out.
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