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Solar Roof

Tesla Solar Roofs: The Ultimate Guide

Tesla Makes a Roof?

Tesla Powerwall battery system


Installing a solar panel on your roof is an excellent way to generate free, renewable energy for your home, but there is one significant drawback: it’s often not pleasing to the sight.

Tesla’s most recent product, the Tesla Solar Roof, remedies this problem entirely by embedding solar cells into the entire roofing surface of any house, so you can’t tell. Tesla’s roofing tiles are built with a tempered glass containing a solar cell inside.

The Solar City division publicly revealed Tesla Solar Roof during a special Tesla event last October. In 2017, Tesla acquired Solar City, a San Mateo, CA-based company that offers energy services including designing, funding, and installation of solar energy systems. Musk is a co-founder of SolarCity.

How Does Tesla Solar Roof Work?

Tesla Powerwall battery system

Integrated Powerwall

Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles convert sunlight into power, which is a good first step – but to harness this energy when you need it, you have to store it.

With an incorporated Tesla Powerwall battery system, the energy accumulated y Tesla tiles during the day is saved and made accessible any time, “effectively turning your home into a private utility,” Tesla explained.

This also provides whole-home uninterrupted power supply during grid outages, which means that hurricane-prone coastal regions such as Florida will find this especially appealing.

Tesla’s Solar Roof attaches to the Powerwall 2, the second-generation of its home battery, and is capable of storing up to 14kWh of electricity. It supplies power in a 5kW maximum sustained draw with a 7kW peak.

Solar Tiles + Non-Solar Tiles

Tesla really offers two varieties of glass tile – a solar tile and a non-solar tile – and both look almost identical from street level.

You’ll customize the mix of solar tiles you need based on your latitude and average days of sunshine in your area, and each solar tile is warranted for the duration of your property.

During a seminar, Musk said that in some circumstances based on the roof angle and local factors, some clients may need to deploy up to 70 percent solar tiles, but typically the mix is going to be about 40 percent solar to 60 percent regular tile.

Tesla provides a calculator on its website so you can get a quote of what you require.
All of the solar tiles are made with tempered glass and are three times stronger and last longer than normal roofing tiles.

They are also printed in a way so that they are not visible from the street and should seem opaque or perhaps be mistaken for regular roof tiles (unless you are looking down on them from above).

Tesla said the tiles won’t degrade over time as conventional asphalt or concrete tiles do.

Various Styles

While there are only two kinds of tiles being provided by Tesla, solar and non-solar, there are actually four distinct styles available: scan, slate, textured, and smooth.

The first two, textured and smooth are moving into production this summer. Tesla said it chose to proceed with these two styles first since they received the maximum number of queries after being declared last autumn.

You can learn more about these styles on Tesla’s website.

Solar Roof Experience

Tesla stated that every customer who requests a solar roof will get the complete “Solar Roof experience – from the removal of your current roof through design, installation, permitting, maintenance, and operations of the new Solar Roof.”

The organization estimated the installation should take approximately the same time as a standard roof installation – about five to seven days total.

How Much for a Tesla Solar Roof?

Solar Roof by Tesla

Here is what Tesla says on its site about pricing:

“The expected price of your Solar Roof involves materials, installation, and also the evacuation of your old roof. Permit fees, taxes, and additional production expenses like a significant gutter replacement, or skylight replacements, structural updates, aren’t included.

Tesla Solar Roofs price is based on projected roof square footage for your house, given by Google Project Sunroof wherever possible, and the part of your roof containing solar tiles.”

According to Tesla’s calculator, average US homeowners will likely pay $21.85 per square foot for solar panels.

A Solar Roof by Tesla for a two-story, 2,000-square-foot house in New York State will probably cost about $50,000 after federal tax deductions.

However, Tesla Solar Roofs will provide $64,000 in energy savings within three years, so Tesla explained the high upfront cost is “more than offset by the value of power that the tiles create.”

Tesla adds a 14kWh Powerwall 2 in each quote. It can be eliminated, but Tesla believes most people will want the house battery pack for backup power.

Tesla also estimated that its non-solar tiles tend to be less expensive than regular tiles.

Does Tesla Offer Financing?

Yes. Tesla started offering to finance for Solar Roofs in the US during late 2017.

When Will Tesla Solar Roof Be Accessible?

Tesla has begun taking pre-orders for its Solar Roof.
A $1,000 deposit is required when purchasing online from Tesla.

Homeowners outside the US can also place orders, but apparently, they should not expect installation until 2019.

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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