The “Tesla solar roof” has been a subject of conversation and controversy for the last couple of years. But what does Tesla solar roof really mean? Here is Yes Solar Solution’s take on definitions and pros and cons.
Tesla Solar Glass Tile Roof
The solar glass roof is one solution Tesla offers. It replaces the actual roof shingles, which are removed, a waterproof layer added, and then the solar glass tiles are installed.
In a recent case study, the Tesla website recommended a 13.2 kW system for a 3,000 square foot house with an average electricity bill of $200 a month in North Carolina. The cost of solar glass was $48,680 before incentives. At $3.68 a watt, that is at least $1.00 per watt more than just solar panels or $15,000 more. The roof has about 720 square feet of roof usable for solar, making the Tesla glass shingles $67.61 per square foot, although 22% of that in 2021 can be taken as a federal tax credit, or a net $59.49 per square foot.
It is beautiful, and Elon Musk is committed to reducing costs to a point that is competitive with a complete re-roof plus solar installation. Tesla claims the solar glass roof is three times stronger than a tile or shingle roof, but solar panels are too. The warranty is comparable to most other manufacturers of solar panels at 25 years for linear production, and 10 years for inverter, Powerwall and roof leaks.
The package includes roof removal, a waterproof layer, and glass tile installation. On the Tesla website, you can “order” the roof for a non-refundable $100, agreeing to the price quoted on the site. In the case of the 3,000 square foot home, this amounts to $48,680. Depending on where you live in the U.S. 13.2 kW of solar panels could cost between $27,000 and $33,000 (if you pay cash; financing a system increases cost). The other 770 square feet of roof, at an average $3.5 per square foot, could cost about $2,700. Together with the cost of solar, the same 13.2 kW and roof would be $35,700, almost $13,000 less than the Tesla solar glass tile roof.
The Tesla solar glass roof is not yet available in NC, but when it is, it will likely be previously certified Tesla installers, like Yes Solar Solutions, that will offer the roof.
Tesla Solar Panels
Tesla’s alternative to the solar tiles, is a typical solar panel installation, consosting of the modules, the inverter, mounting system, etc.
For the same 3,000 square foot house with an average of $200 in energy cost, Tesla’s website and online calculator recommendation is 12.24 kW., which is about $2.00 a watt. While at the low end of the cost for solar, there are many caveats to ordering a solar panel system from Tesla’s website.
Design is done remotely with satellite imagery, permitting is done remotely, and installation is done through subcontractors. The much-promoted $1.49 a watt is after federal tax incentives and assumes the homeowner is eligible for the tax credit, which may or may not be the case. Without a dedicated solar consultant to help the buyer determine the best choices, it may be a risk.
Most local installers do at least some of the sizing and design using drone software or Google Earth-type applications, but most also put eyes on a project before final design, engineering, and permitting. Permitting can be time and resource-consuming, and can sometimes hinge on personal communication and relationships between inspectors that have worked with and trust an installer, and jurisdictions that have esoteric requirements. The panels used are not manufactured by Tesla and according to their terms of the agreement, may be changed after the contract to another brand as long as the price doesn’t change. Warranties are 12 years for defects and 25 years for production.
Utility interconnection is also an area in which the follow-up and reliability of the installer add credibility to the process going smoothly. In North Carolina, the Duke rebate may play a significant role in the homeowner’s decision to invest in solar, and the rules for application and qualifying for the rebate are not always easy to navigate. Consumers rely on local installers to coach and guide them through the process.
Because Tesla does not have local offices, installation is subcontracted to installers and electricians. Post-installation service issues are handled by a remote office where response time and efficiency can be a challenge and any problems need to be sub-contracted.
Yes Solar Solutions – Tesla Solar Certified
Fortunately, there is a third alternative. Yes Solar Solutions, in Cary, NC, is a certified Tesla Solar installer and can handle your needs if Tesla Solar panels are how you decide to invest. A Yes Solar Energy Specialist can walk you through all the solutions and recommendations based on your energy goals, your budget, and aesthetic needs. Yes Solar’s full-time employees will install a Tesla solar system with our in-house process, along with the Tesla Powerwall if that is your choice, handle all the permitting, engineering, interconnection, and provide post-installation support from our in-house dedicated Service Department.
Our goal is to help you make the best decision for you. Solar is a wise investment but not a small one. Evaluating your options is a smart decision, and we are here to help. To learn more, contact us today and request a free quote using the form below
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