When you think of solar power, you probably think of the easily recognizable rectangular, ungainly solar panels. All-black panels can blend into the background a little better, but in most cases, solar panels aren't exactly bursting with personality.
This is part of what makes Tesla's solar roof shingles and its comprehensive solar roof system so unique and eye-catching. This sophisticated system turns your entire roof into a renewable power source. You won't find big boxy solar modules anywhere. But it comes at a cost.
Let's take a closer look at when Tesla solar roof shingles are and aren't right for your home.
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What is Tesla Solar Roof?
The idea behind Tesla's solar roof is to create photovoltaic modules that double as roofing material and at the same time collect energy from the sun to power your home. Rather than the large standard rectangular solar panels we're used to seeing on countless rooftops and other locations, Tesla's solar roof consists of a small solar shingle and a matching blank shingle. Solar shingles look somewhat similar to traditional shingles, but are made up of solar cells.
It makes a lot of sense. Solar panels, like other roofing materials, are built to withstand the elements such as hail, wind, and water. This means that in most cases, your Tesla Solar Roof will actually replace your existing roof. The top of the house has a durable skin that generates power and maintains a sleek appearance without being compromised by large, ungainly panels mounted above.
read moree: Best Solar Roofing Sheet
How big of a Tesla solar roof do I need?
In most cases, Tesla solar roofs completely replace or cover your existing roof. However, not every part of your new roof needs to generate energy. Tesla also uses glass and steel roof panels. Therefore, the amount of solar shingles that are actually installed on your Tesla's roof will depend on how much energy you want to generate. This varies from house to house. Some jurisdictions and utilities may not allow the installation of solar energy systems that exceed a set kilowattage.
Understanding the potential wattage of a Tesla roof is essentially the same as determining the total wattage required from any other solar array. Check out this CNET article to learn how to determine how much solar power your situation requires. The same should apply to Tesla's solar roof.
This means you need to have a good idea of your energy usage and how much solar radiation your roof receives. From there, you can size your solar roof to meet your energy needs by estimating how much energy it will generate from the available sunlight.
Tesla solar panels vs Tesla solar roof
The biggest difference between Tesla solar panels and Tesla solar roofs is the way these systems are installed in your home. Tesla solar panels are mounted on the roof and Tesla solar roof is integrated. into the your roof. Solar shingle products are designed to generate solar energy, but can also be harmonized with traditional roofing materials. This provides an unobtrusive way to install a solar power system on your roof.
However, installing solar shingles may require replacing the entire roof, which can be significantly more expensive. If you choose to install a Tesla Solar Roof, you must also purchase at least one Powerwall battery with your system. This adds an additional $10,000 or more to the overall cost. Although both products have similar features to meet your power needs, installing a Tesla Solar Roof will likely cost more than traditional solar panels.
Tesla solar roof cost and solar panel cost
The basic tradeoff with Tesla Solar Roofs is that they look sleeker than solar panels and double as roofing material, but solar shingles are more expensive and less efficient than traditional photovoltaic modules.
“For most people, using framed modules rather than solar shingles will probably be cheaper per watt and allow you to put more power generation capacity on your roof,” said Corey Ramsden of Solar United Neighbors. It can be installed,” he said.
Although Tesla does not currently operate a press office to answer specific questions about pricing, we used the company's solar roof estimator tool to calculate the following estimates based on a home in Houston. .
The price of a solar roof without a powerwall is almost three times the cost of covering the same roof with regular Tesla solar panels.
Tesla roof cost estimate
The cost of a solar roof depends on the size, shape, and location of the roof you are replacing. The following estimates were collected from Tesla's cost estimates for specific homes in Houston. This estimate includes incentives and was obtained on February 5, 2024.
|System size (kW)
|Average price per watt
|Estimated total cost
|No battery storage
|1 power wall
|two power walls
Factors influencing pricing
Tesla Solar Roofs can be installed over existing, not-so-old shingle roofs, new construction, and a few other limited scenarios. Otherwise, installation typically involves ripping out the old roofing material and replacing it with solar shingles, which comes at an additional cost.
Tesla considers many factors when determining roof complexity, which can also affect price. These factors include the number of roof surfaces and obstructions such as chimneys, skylights, fans, and vents.
In general, the roof must be in good enough condition to support the weight of the Tesla Solar Roof. If you install a solar roof over existing shingles, the shingles should have a significant amount of useful life left in them. If any of these conditions are not met, additional costs may be incurred.
Pitch is another factor Tesla considers when determining roof complexity. Don't get too hung up on the numbers, just remember, the steeper the hill, the cheaper it is.
Each home and its wiring is different. There may be additional costs to accommodate the special requirements of your home's electrical system to ensure that your solar roof can be safely connected up to code.
number of panels
Obviously, this will depend on the size of your roof and how many panels you need are solar powered, regular glass or steel.
additional battery storage
There is an additional charge to add one or more Tesla Powerwalls to your system to store on-site generated power. Incentives and bundle discounts help you save money as you add more storage.
Incentives: Federal and State
Tesla's solar roof may be the only way to get a new roof and have the government pay for 30% of it through the federal renewable energy tax credit. Many other state or local incentives may further reduce prices.
Subcontractor installation company costs
Tesla may not be able to perform direct installations in all locations and may rely on certified third-party installers. Prices in your area may differ from the prices shown in Tesla's quote tool.
Is it worth getting a Tesla solar roof?
Economics ultimately comes down to how much of a premium you're willing to pay for more sophisticated solar modules, and whether you need a new roof anyway.
“If you're replacing an expensive roof, like a slate roof or a metal roof, that number might work,” said Lumsden of Solar United Neighbors.
Tesla's solar roof should qualify for a 30% federal tax credit and other incentives, making its installation an opportunity to get a new roof and have Uncle Sam pay for nearly a third of it. There is a possibility that it will happen. However, be sure to double-check your situation with your tax professional.
For the average person who's just interested in a cool-looking solar roof or the Tesla brand, it's not economical to have to tear down an old roof to install an expensive solar system when the panels are fully functional. may not be reasonable. 1/3 of the cost.
For additional installation scenarios and cost estimates, check out CNET's detailed review of the Tesla Solar Roof.
Tesla Solar Roof Frequently Asked Questions