Tesla Roof Tiles – Are They Worth It?


Tesla Roof Tiles - Are They Worth It?

As technology involving renewable energy advances, there are newer options available to accommodate homeowners who are concerned about the most important parts of their home. The Tesla roof tile is a multi-purpose product that may meet your needs.

The Tesla roof tiles can fulfill two vital needs for your home: roofing and electricity. Depending on the size of your home, the amount of sunlight exposure, and your average monthly electric bill, this product may be a worthwhile investment if you also need a new roof.

Let’s take a look at more detailed facts and scenarios to find out if a Tesla Solar Roof is the right roof for you.

Tesla and the Smart-Home

There is no doubt that Tesla is one of the most innovative companies out there. Tesla has developed three versions of the Tesla Solar Roof and is attempting to increase efficiency with each iteration. Elon believes that eventually, all roofs should be able to generate electricity.

Additionally, with the Tesla Powerwall and different types of interfaces that come along with a solar energy system, it is clear that Tesla is a leader when it comes to the “Smart Home” evolution in society. The items that Tesla offers increase convenience, access to renewable energy, as well as transportation.

Another example is Tesla’s potentially new project, an HVAC system. For the sake of convenience, homeowners who undergo multiple major renovations may want to stick with the same company. This will allow for more efficient communication and interfacing between items.

As we step into the future, we should keep a close eye on Tesla along with its growing and innovative product line. It is clear that this company is going to play a major role in the future of the “Smart Home.”

What is the Real Cost?

According to Tesla, the cost per square foot of the Solar Roof is $21.85. This price does not take into consideration installation costs, additional hardware such as the Tesla Powerwall, and any maintenance that needs to take place. For comparison, the cost of a standard 30-year asphalt shingle roof is between $2.00 to $7.00 per square foot, depending on your geographic location.

Unlike the asphalt shingle roof, the Solar Roof has the ability to recoup its costs and save you money in the long run. While the cost may be higher upfront, it is possible to gain back more money over the long term. Time is an investor’s most valuable asset, and that concept applies here too.

In order to get an idea of whether the Tesla Solar Roof is right for you, we are going to look at two different scenarios that will compare the price of a new roof to a new Solar Roof.

There are going to be several different factors we’ll analyze in these scenarios, such as the height of the house, square footage, and average monthly electric bill. Lastly, the most important factor that we will modify is the geographic location of the installation.

Further on in this article, we will also look at issues related to maintenance, competitors, and resale value. Each individual who is considering the Tesla Solar Roof is going to have their unique circumstances they must consider when moving forward with the process of installation.

Scenario

For this scenario, we’ll look at a smaller house of around 1,500 square feet that has an average monthly electric bill of $150 and is two stories tall. We will also say that the roof on this house is extremely old, and it absolutely must be replaced.

So now the owner or potential homebuyer is looking at two different options: do they pay for an expensive Solar Roof, or do they get cheaper asphalt shingles and continue paying their electric bill?

According to Tesla’s calculator, this would cost $16,319 to install just the Solar Roof without any Tesla Powerwalls. That number includes the installation cost and also takes into consideration a federal tax credit, which we will discuss later, of $3,399. If you wanted to follow Tesla’s advice and install the Powerwalls, the cost after incentives would be $29,579

Remembering that this homeowner must repair their roof, let’s look at the cost of installing a shingle roof. Considering the average cost of roof shingles, a high-end premium asphalt shingle installation with a 30-year warrant would cost around $7,810.

Medium grade shingles that would also last about 30 years would cost around $5,988. This does not count installation, which usually costs between $1.50 to $5.50 per square foot, depending on your contractor.

There is clearly a big price difference. With the Tesla Solar Roof, you will get a 25-year warranty. Warranties for shingles will be dependent on your supplier; however, they are known for lasting at least 30 years and have traditionally been the “go-to” for roofing material.

Both these products will also literally give you a roof over your head. Let’s look at the cost savings analysis regarding your electric bill, though.

The Electric Bill in the Scenario

We can quickly establish that your electric bill will not change much with a new shingle roof. While it may not generate electricity, a new shingle roof may provide added insulation to help keep heat inside during the cold winters. However, the benefits of your electric bill stop there.

In this scenario, the previously mentioned factor of geographic location plays a huge role in determining whether the Solar Roof is worth it. With the Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall installation, you would breakeven on year 24 if you were located in a state like Vermont (or probably any other cold, wintry New England state).

Over the course of 25 years, you would save $2,326 in electric bills. The solar energy system on this house would reduce the cost of your monthly electricity by around $83. There would be a remaining $67 to pay each month.

Let’s take these same facts and numbers but change one small thing: location. If this Solar Roof installation happened in sunny San Diego, you would break-even in year 10. That is a significant difference of 14 years, and you would save $35,736 over 25 years.

Is it worth it?

If you stay in the Vermont version of this house for at least 25+ years, you would see a positive return on your investment. That is quite a long time to be in one location and this would require you to think about the important facts in your life: will you or your spouse be moving? Is the house the right size for you to spend that much of your life in it?

If you stay in the California version of this house for 10+ years, you’ll see a much quicker return on investment. You’ll also see positive gains after 25 years and will have saved tens of thousands of dollars on your electric bill. That new monthly bill will only be $15, with the rest covered by your solar roof.

This scenario demonstrates that your location is perhaps the key deciding factor in determining whether or not the Solar Roof is worth it. Before you finalize your purchase, you will want to go through Tesla’s calculator that will analyze your state’s average electricity cost as well as sun exposure.

There are also additional incentives and rebates that may help you level out the cost and get to a break-even point sooner.

Federal and State Incentives

While you are considering what type of investment you will do for your home, you must also consider the different incentives that are available. According to the Department of Energy, you can apply for an income tax credit and deduct a portion of your solar costs from your taxes. You can also perform a search to find out about different state incentives.

State incentives may be helpful but will vary depending on your location. Rhode Island and Massachusetts currently are considered the most helpful states when it comes to incentives. This topic again reiterates the importance of considering your geographic location when contemplating this investment.

Lastly, you will also want to look at the incentives offered by your utility company. Some companies require a minimum payment each month even if you are not using any of their electricity. Other companies will actually pay you for the energy you generate, whereas others will give you “solar energy credits,” which is known as net metering.

Your individual situation will require you to perform the research based on your location and what utility company will service your home. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself in the right location and be able to cash out on some great incentives that will significantly offset the high cost of the Tesla Solar Roof.

Resale Value

This article has looked closely at the benefits of having your electric bill reduced or non-existent. However, we have not yet considered the resale value of having a Tesla Solar Roof installed when you sell your home.

Considering that real estate may be one of your biggest assets, it is important to take a look at how much value the Tesla Solar Roof will add or subtract when you plan to sell your home.

When potential buyers are looking at a new home, the vital characteristics of the building are at the forefront of their minds. For example, they will wonder if the boiler works and is modernized, or if it is 20 years old and can barely keep the water warm. They will also wonder about the condition of the roof.  

A standard non-metal roof can typically last around 30 years before the owner needs to start considering repairs or replacement.

 If you are in a scenario where you breakeven very quickly, and there is still a lot of “life” left in your Tesla Solar Roof, you can not only save money from having no electric bill for a while; you can also make money from having a modernized renewable energy source on your roof.

Resale Value Broken Down

As with most issues, it is impossible to predict precisely how much a solar roof will increase the value of your home. Different buyers may have different opinions on solar, and some may be nervous about potential maintenance issues or having to replace an expensive roof in 15-20 years.

However, according to Zillow, solar energy systems on a home can increase the value by approximately 4.1%. Again, the importance of location plays a role here. In New York, the median value increased by 5.4%, whereas in California, the median value increased by 2.7%.

In New York, that increase of 5.4% would add $23,989 to the value of a median-priced home. That amount, depending on the size of the system, could potentially cover most, if not all, of the price of the system and installation.

Maintenance

Most homeowners will admit that the biggest hassle of owning a home is the constant maintenance. Depending on how old your home is, there is always a pipe that needs to be replaced, a wall that needs to be repainted, or a garden that needs to be spruced up.

When it comes to one of the most critical components of your house, let’s see what kind of maintenance the Tesla Solar Roof needs.

According to Tesla, there will be a minor level of maintenance. In order to obtain optimum performance, the solar panels will have to be cleared of dirt, dust, snow, or any other natural debris that can obstruct the panels’ access to sunlight. You will also need to make sure that nearby trees are not creating too much shade.

You will also be able to monitor the performance of your roof through Tesla’s apps. This will help give you an idea if your roof is not performing at maximum efficiency or if any issues have arisen. Tesla’s apps also allow you to tap into other components of a smart home system if you have any other Tesla items.

The added steps for roof maintenance are indeed more than what you would expect if you have an asphalt roof, but not by much. Keeping solar panels clean, whether they are free-standing or your roof itself, is an expected task if a person intends to utilize solar energy.

Other Roof Tile Systems

Although Tesla is an innovative company, they are not the first to come up with the concept of solar roof tiles. Some other companies that are also involved in developing and installing solar roofs are SunTegra Solar Roof Systems and RGS Energy.

RGS Energy filed for bankruptcy in 2020, so it would be ill-advised to seek them out for your solar roof installation.

SunTegra offers homeowners similar-sounding benefits to what Tesla has offered with their solar roof tiles. However, no pricing appeared readily apparent on their website, so it is difficult to create a price comparison between the two companies.

However, it is clear that the SunTegra tiles only come in one style and seem to be compressed solar panels that mesh with the roof. With the Teslar Roof, there appear to be several varieties or colors of roof tiles available that are much more aesthetically pleasing. The aesthetics of the installation can be a big factor when calculating resale value depending on who your buyer is.  

Conclusion

The Tesla Solar Roof can be a worthwhile investment, depending on a few important factors. You will have to research and keep in mind the specifics of your situation, primarily your location and whether you need a new roof or not.

If you live in an area that is ideal for producing solar energy, such as California, you are more likely to see a quicker return on your investment. It is also important to consider whether you need a new roof or not. Installing a Tesla Solar Roof if you do not need a new roof is unlikely to be a worthy investment.

However, if you must replace your roof and you want to consider the possibility of harnessing renewable energy while saving money in the long run, the Tesla Solar Roof may be right for you. It comes with a 25-year warranty that will help keep your peace of mind for this newer technology. It will also pay for itself if you stay in the same location for a long period.

Lastly, it is also necessary to consider the effects of climate change. Of course, everyone wants to make sure their bottom line is positive; however, if you are thinking of renewable energy, you are also likely thinking about how to combat climate change. The Tesla Solar Roof is another product from Tesla that will help reduce your carbon footprint and leave a cleaner future for the next generations.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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