All You Need To Know About The Tesla Solar Roof

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Since Elon Musk and Tesla announced the Tesla Solar Roof, Tesla has completely overhauled its website and created a lot of frenzy surrounding the product.

Although Tesla has made a point to express the benefits of this solar roof, they have failed to answer some of the most important questions surrounding the system, such as solar panel efficiency, durability, or complete cost.

For this reason, we have created a comprehensive analysis of the Tesla Solar Roof. In this article, we will look at the Tesla Solar Roof description, weight, efficiency, durability, cost, and ideal buyer.

Let’s get started.

What Is The Tesla Solar Roof?

The Tesla Solar Roof is designed to replace your current roof with modern, sleek-looking solar tiles. How the Tesla Solar Roof works is that it integrates solar cells and modules inside the structure of the roof, as opposed to solar panels that simply sit on top of a roof.

In theory, the Tesla Solar Roof is supposed to be about half the weight of a standard roof, making it a lighter option. Tesla’s statements about the Solar Roof’s weight is ambiguous though, since “standard roofs” can weigh anywhere from 2.5 lbs. to 19 lbs. per square foot.  

We approximate that the Tesla Solar Roof weighs around 15 lbs. to 20 lbs. per square foot, which is lighter than most traditional roofs with solar panel attachments.

Is The Tesla Solar Roof More Efficient Than Standard Panels?

The Tesla Solar Roof is manufactured in the United States, and it uses solar cells provided by Tesla’s partner Panasonic, which has been one of the leading solar panel manufacturers in the nation since the 1970s.

Peter Rive, the CTO at SolarCity, commented that the Tesla Solar Roof is just as efficient as a traditional solar panel. However, the Tesla Solar Roof has a colored film that allows the panels to look like a natural roof while minimizing the efficiency of the panel.

This does not mean that the Tesla Solar Roof is less efficient than standard panels, though. Panasonic has developed panels with an efficiency as high as 23.5%, while the average solar industry efficiency is only 16%. With this in mind, the Tesla Solar Roof could be just as efficient as standard panels even though it has colored film.

Overall, it is unclear if the Tesla Solar Roof is as efficient as standard panels. Most likely, they are about as efficient as standard panels.

Is The Tesla Solar Roof More Durable Than Standard Panels?

According to Elon Musk, the Tesla Solar Roof is highly durable. In fact, he has claimed that the Tesla Solar Roof comes with an “infinity warranty” or for the lifetime of the home, whichever comes first. So, Tesla promises the Tesla Solar Roof to be highly durable.

With that being said, the Tesla Solar Roof has not been field-tested, meaning that there is no formal evidence of the roof’s durability. Standard panels, on the other hand, are field-tested, and most models offer a 25-year warranty.

There are some videos online of people throwing bricks and other heavy objects at their Tesla Solar Roof, meaning to prove the durability of the model.

The durability of the Tesla Solar Roof will be tested as their efficiency decreases over time. The decrease in efficiency leads us to wonder how much it will cost to upkeep a Tesla Solar Roof. Unlike standard panels that can be fixed individually, the Tesla Solar Roof may require much more extensive labor in the case that one cell or module should break.

How Much Does The Tesla Solar Roof Cost?

The price of your Tesla Solar Roof will be determined by the size of your roof and the average amount of your electricity bill. Obviously, the bigger your roof, the more panels you will need. Similarly, the more energy you consume, the more solar tiles you will need than regular roofing tiles.

To help you better approximate the cost of your Tesla Solar Roof, Tesla has created a total value estimator. This estimator does not compare the roof cost to standard panel costs, and it does not show the power ratings of the Tesla Solar Roof.

You can also calculate your own cost for the Tesla Solar Roof, which will allow you to better compare the roof price to the price of standard panels. Here’s how to calculate the cost yourself:

  1. Multiply the roof square footage by the solar tile percentage
  2. Multiply the number from step 1 by $42, which is the average cost of a solar tile
  3. Divide the number from step 2 by number of watts

Using this formula, the Tesla Solar Roof is about $6.30 per watt, but there can be about ± $0.50 per watt difference because the Tesla solar calculator uses increments of 10%.

With this cost in mind, the Tesla Solar Roof tiles can cost nearly double the price of standard solar panels. In other words, the Tesla Solar Roof will probably be about $25,000 to $30,000 more than standard panels.

Does The Tesla Solar Roof Qualify For Federal Solar Tax Credit?

Tesla claims that the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) applies to the entire solar roof and home storage battery. However, this is not fully true because the Tesla Solar Roof technology does not fall completely under the structure of the current ITC.

In order for the Tesla Solar Roof to fall under the current structure of the ITC, they must decide which parts fall under the ITC: the entire roof or just the solar parts of the roof?

The answer to this depends on how the IRS views the Tesla Solar Roof. If they view that the non-solar tiles are necessary for the solar-tiles to work, then the entire roof will fall under the ITC. However, the process of determining the solar roof is incredibly lengthy and difficult.

By 2022, though, the federal solar tax credit will be completely phased out. As a result, you may miss out on the chance to claim the federal solar tax credit if you take the time to buy and install a solar roof, which is a lengthy process.

Who Should Buy A Tesla Solar Roof?

Since the Tesla Solar Roof is very expensive, it is specifically targeted to the tech-savvy and highly wealthy who have an expendable income and care about aesthetics over function.

One of the main reasons that the Tesla Solar Roof is targeted to tech-savvy, wealthy homeowners is that the roof comes with a risk-reward aspect. Since the Tesla Solar Roof is so new, many of the kinks and issues have not been resolved yet. As a result, new Tesla Solar Roof owners run the risk of a dangerous or inefficient purchase.

At the same time, the Tesla Solar Roof may be completely worth the price; we just do not know yet. So, purchasing the Tesla Solar Roof is a bit of a gamble.

Additionally, the Tesla Solar Roof is only suitable for people with roofs with a 14% incline. So, flat roof homeowners should not and cannot buy this system.

Overall, you will need to have a large amount of expendable cash to purchase the Tesla Solar Roof. It is incredibly expensive, has a risk-reward aspect, and can take years to install. More so, you need a non-flat roof.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the power rating of the Tesla Solar Roof?

    Although Tesla claims to be transparent about their products, they do not list the power ratings of the solar tiles.
  2. Can the Tesla Solar Roof work on a flat roof?

    Unfortunately, the Tesla Solar Roof is not suitable for flat roofs. The minimum roof pitch needed for the installation is 3:12, or 14%. At the same time, regular tiling is also not recommended for flat roofs because of the potential for leakage. If you have a flat roof, you will need to purchase regular solar panels. Traditional panels will look bulkier than the Tesla Solar Roof, but they will work for your roof type.
  3. How can you monitor the electricity created by the Tesla Solar Roof?

The Tesla Solar Roof comes with the Tesla app. With this app, you will be able to manage the solar system and home energy consumption from your phone.

Final Thoughts

The Tesla Solar Roof certainly is an interesting and exciting invention, but it is currently too expensive and risky for the average buyer. Over the upcoming years, we will gain a better understanding of the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this system.

For most homeowners, traditional solar panels will work just as well, if not better, as the current edition of the Tesla Solar Roof.

If you have the money for the system and care about the aesthetics of your home, however, certainly consider purchasing a Tesla Solar Roof. This system is by far the most attractive option on the market, ensuring that it elevates the appearance of your home.

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