Tesla Solar for Flat Roof – Here’s What You Need to Know


With the popularity of solar on the rise, Elon Musk and Tesla have invested a lot of money in creating a solar panel grid that supplies users with energy and makes them money. However, not all roofs are created equal, and there has been a question whether or not Tesla’s solar will work for flat roofs.

Unfortunately, for homeowners with a flat roof, Tesla’s solar roof will not work for you. The Tesla’s solar roof requires a roof pitch of 3:12 or about 14 degrees. If you have a flat roof and can’t use Tesla’s solar roof design, there are other Tesla solar options that you can incorporate into your home.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t benefit from the innovative Tesla solar design just because you have a flat roof. Read on to learn more about some of the things you can do with a flat roof and Tesla solar.

Tesla’s Solar Roof Vs. Tesla’s Solar Panel

Even though the name sounds very similar, there is a massive difference between the Tesla’s solar roof and Tesla’s solar panels. Just as you might believe, the solar panel can be installed on any roof (including flat ones) and can get installed in any size. However, Tesla’s solar roof completely replaces your home’s roof, which is why it cannot be used on a flat roof.

Suppose you get faced with the uncomfortable truth that the Tesla solar roof will not fit on your flat roof. In that case, it may give you solace to compare many of the great features of a traditional Tesla solar panel to the aesthetically pleasing and futuristic design of the Tesla Solar Roof.

Tesla Solar Panel

Tesla has had solar panels for years and now offers what they call the least expensive solar panels in America as a guarantee. They also offer 24/7 monitoring and troubleshooting help, which is pretty standard for the industry.

Now, just because you can’t afford the new and improved Tesla solar roof doesn’t mean that you can get solar panel technology installed at your home from Tesla. Tesla has offered quality solar panels with Powerwall battery technology and a price match guarantee for years. This price match guarantee for any solar installation in the United States gets coupled with competitive financing rates.

It is a better option for many residential solar panel customers than installing the new Tesla Solar Roof.

The solar panels’ design is unlike others on the market because of their low profile and sleek design. They appear without an edge and don’t have noticeable grid lines.

Even though there are obvious reasons why you would want the Tesla solar roof over the Tesla solar panel, the solar panels are still of great value and excellent design. Here are some of the pros and cons of the Tesla solar panels:

Pros:

  • Will work with a flat roof
  • Less expensive than the Tesla solar roof
  • Price match guarantee to any solar panel company in America
  • Sleek design rivals the appearance of the Tesla solar roof.
  • Monitoring system and troubleshooting 24/7
  • Better return on investment than the Tesla solar roof

Cons:

  • Gridlines that are obvious and not very stylish
  • Efficiency fluctuates due to weather conditions.
  • Smaller system size may only deliver about 77% of energy needs for large homes.
  • The maintenance costs are not known since the company solar panels are relatively new.

(Source: Tesla, Namaste Solar)

Tesla Solar Roof

If your roof is compatible, Tesla’s solar roof is a revolutionary idea that will replace the roof on your home with non-solar glass tiles and solar power generating tiles. The install can happen in as little as one day and has the internet all a-buzz about solar’s new future. 

Although the idea is innovative and could be the future, it may never come to fruition. Though it may be true that you can get Tesla’s solar roof installed on your home today, there are many pros and cons to weigh before making that decision. Read on to find out more about the benefits and negatives of Tesla’s solar roof:

Pros

  • Innovative design: The innovative design of the Tesla solar roof allows for maximum energy collection from the sun. The design utilizes much more square footage of your solar ray collection roof and transfers it into solar power.
  •  Quick to install: As with most things in the Tesla world, the Tesla solar roof is designed with the consumer in mind and can get fabricated, fitted, and installed on your home’s roof in as little as one day.
  • It looks great: The Tesla solar room design is impressive and made to look sleek with minimal lines and low-profile solar glass panels. The seamless design creates a high tech and classy aesthetic.
  •  

Cons

  • Much more expensive: At almost $25,000 more than traditional solar panels, the Tesla solar panel roof is not financially feasible for homeowners unless they are already in the market to replace their entire roof.
  • The panels aren’t as efficient as others: Tesla’s solar shingles on the solar roof are a little less efficient than other company’s solar panels. Since the cost-effective and efficient solar collection is the main reason for going solar, this is a big problem.

(Source: EnergySage)

Best Features of Tesla Solar Technologies

It doesn’t matter which Tesla solar technology you choose, each of the panels and the solar roof share some of the best features that Tesla has to offer. Just because you have a flat roof and cannot purchase the solar roof doesn’t mean you are out of luck.

Battery Backup

One of the best features that Tesla solar power offers its customers is the technology that gives you access to store and use your solar panels’ energy collection at any time. With Tesla’s extremely advanced battery technology, you get some of the most advanced batteries for storing your solar energy on the market.

There is also a market for your stored energy. You could use it yourself or sell it back to the utility company and make money off your solar panels. Since the gig economy and becoming an entrepreneur is a motivation behind much of what Elon Musk does, it only fits that Tesla solar panels would begin to pay their owners.

The battery backup system itself is quite robust. It gets linked to the cloud and can even pick up information about energy surges, storms, and power outages. Once these warnings are detected, the battery backup takes your home off the grid and supplies it with the solar energy you have stored.

Sleek Design

Both the Tesla Solar roof and Tesla solar panels are designed to look good. Either of these options is better than the traditional grid-lined and bulky design of ordinary solar panels.

The Tesla solar panel is more like a traditional solar panel array. It is still rectangular and has minimal grid lines. However, it is sleek and uniformly colored and has less profile than standard solar panels, giving it a slimmer appearance when it is on your roof.

The Tesla solar roof is on another level for sleek design. The solar panel glass itself gets made into panels that get shaped like roof tiles. These tiles are installed across your existing roof and look like a solid roof from the gutter to pitch.

(Source: The Verge)

Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Tesla is known for customer service, and their solar power division for residential solar power is no different. Your solar panels are monitored all day, every day. The system also creates alerts sent directly to your email or phone SMS when anything is out of the ordinary.

Tesla solar panel technology works with the battery storage to conserve energy when needed, like in an outage. Your troubleshooting is intuitive, and customer service offers tips and tricks when you need a repair or a replacement.

(Source: Tesla)

How Does Tesla Solar Work with Federal Tax Credit

One of the best incentives for installing solar panels or the Tesla solar roof on your home is the federal tax credits that you receive. You could be eligible for thousands of tax credit dollars offsetting the purchase of your solar panel technology for your home. These tax credits might even be higher if your state also offers incentives.

Only the solar technology and Powerwall battery parts of Tesla solar roofs are eligible for the federal tax credits, called Federal Incentive Tax Credit (ITC), not the shingles themselves.

The United States federal government wants incentives working with people interested in adding sustainable green energy to their homes.

Calculating Tesla Federal Tax Credit

The money you get back from the installation and purchase of solar panel technology for your home is a great incentive for many homeowners to add green energy technology.

The idea of getting money back from the federal government is pretty easy to understand. Still, the process and calculations are a bit confusing. Read on to find out how to calculate Tesla’s federal tax credit for your home installation and purchase.

Current Percentages

Since the current Federal Tax Credit for solar panel technology applies for the purchase and installation of green energy solar technology for your home, only the components of solar panels installed are eligible.

The percentage of your tax credit reflects the date that the solar technology equipment was installed. The eligible solar panel technology must get installed on your home on or before December 31st of that year for that year’s eligible Federal Tax Credit. Also, only a certain percentage of these eligible costs get applied for the Federal Tax Credit incentive. The incentive depreciates each year and is:

  • 26% in 2021
  • 26% in 2022
  • 22% in 2023

These percentages and dates reflect the most recent legislation passed by Congress in December 2020 called The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 extended the incentives program for solar panel installation by two years, reflected in the chart above.

Getting money back on your solar panel technology is not guaranteed. The outlook for incentives for consumers who invest in green energy technology for their homes and businesses looks better under the Biden presidency. It may be the best time to take advantage of these tax credits or start saving for your solar installation before they expire after 2023.

(Source: Tesla, Solar)

IRS Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits Instructions and Overview

After getting your solar panels installed, you need IRS Form 5695 for that current tax year. The form is a little confusing, especially for those who have not had green energy products installed before and are looking to cash in on the residential energy federal tax credits available for the purchase and installation.

Please read on below to find out more about what the IRS Form 5695 residential energy credit is and who should apply for it:

  • What it is: The IRS form 5695 is intended for residential energy credit or efficient property credits in the United States.
  • What it replaced: Form 2555-EZ is now a historical document and is no longer used. Form 5695 has taken its place.
  • Who should use it: Anyone who has energy-saving improvements for their residential address in the years 2021, 2022, or 2023 should fill out the form so they get Federal Tax Credit money for the purchase and installation of said improvements.
  • Requirements for the Tax Credit Form: Several requirements apply directly to those trying to fill out the form for their residential green energy installation and purchase tax credits. Those requirements are:
    • Main residential home address: It does not have to get installed at the residential address whey you currently reside. In other words, you should get federal tax credit dollars back for the installation of solar panel technology on your second home or vacation home, or rental property.
    • Completed project: The Tax credits should only be applied once the work on installing and purchasing the energy-saving improvements get completed.
    • Materials: The only materials covered for tax credits are actual energy-saving improvements and installation. No additional materials, such as the construction of parts or whole roofs, should have tax credits applied to it.
    • Joint occupancy: If you live in a home with someone other than your spouse where energy-saving improvements get properly completed, each of you must complete a Form 5695 for that tax filing year. You each should detail how much you spent on the installation and materials. 

Tips for Filling out Tax Form 5695

The IRS Tax credit form has additional lines for details of the costs incurred for installation and purchase. Make sure to have documentation of your purchase and documentation of the installation estimates, as well as the total invoice at the end of the installation. Also, keep any repair estimates each year, as these are tax write-offs, though not eligible for tax credits.

You need documentation of other things during your purchase and installation, as well. When the solar panels or roof are getting installed, make sure you get notes on:

  • Labor costs for the preparation of the roof and materials on your residential site
  • Labor time and costs of assembly of the solar panel materials on your residential site
  • The original installation, not including any repairs that might occur in the first year

The tax credit is also available for homes that are still getting constructed. So, suppose you are thinking of purchasing or have already purchased a new construction home. In that case, it may be wise to consider installing solar panels to take advantage of the tax credit in your first year of home taxes to ease the expense burden.

(Source: IRS)

If I Am Already Getting Rid of My Flat Roof, Should I Switch to Tesla Solar Roof?

Early in 2016, Tesla unveiled its first working solar roof designs and products. At the time, the Tesla solar roof information was limited, but the potential was there. As time has progressed, Tesla is still working on perfecting their solar roof and have completed the third rendition of it in 2020.

The Tesla solar roof statistics, also called the “Tesla glass roof,” are impressive but not ideal for most consumers. Here are some of the key statistics you need information about before deciding if the Tesla solar roof is right for you. Right now, even Elon Musk admits that the Tesla solar roof only makes sense on new homes or if you already need to replace your roof.

The Cost

As with most of the Tesla products out there, you pay a premium for the luxury associated with Tesla products. However, that premium price is slowly getting whittled down. New renditions of poplar products are coming out more as relatively easier to install and more cost-effective each year.

Having said all that, the roof materials and installation of the Tesla solar roof shingles cost $42,500 for a two thousand square foot home. That is more money than the brand new 2021 Tesla Model 3 car costs! (Source: Tesla)

Overall, the square footage breaks down to about 21 dollars per square foot for installation. Compared to other solar panel companies, or even the Tesla solar panels (instead of the solar roof glass shingles), the cost is very high for the solar roof.

Even though the price has come down since the Tesla Solar roof came out in 2016, the high cost for installation is still tricky for justifying by most average consumers.

The Power

Tesla solar roof produces about 10kW of solar capacity. That is enough for powering most small homes. However, what is strange is that although the Tesla solar roof replaces the entire roof, only about forty percent of that square footage is the glass solar shingles.

Once the shingles suck up the sun’s rays, that solar energy is converted into usable kilowattage and stored on-premises in your Tesla battery.

The Warranty

With your Tesla solar roof, you get a twenty-five-year warranty. The twenty-five-year warranty from Tesla for its solar roof is right in line with the average timeline for a composite shingle roof installation warranty.

When it comes to roof warranties on the market, Elon Musk has said that the Tesla solar roof should be comparable at this point. Most composite shingle roofs get about 20-30 years as part of the basic installation warranty. However, some roofs may only last fifteen years and some upwards of fifty or more.

(Source: Universal Windows Direct)

Currently, there are many people with complete solar roofs installed on their homes. Since this technology has only been around for a few years, these residential solar roof customers are the faithful test subjects of the twenty-five-year warranty. The glass shingles get built to last longer than the warranty and solar technology and battery power for storage.

You also get maintenance, monitoring, and repair services twenty-four hours a day every day with Tesla. So, the warranty gets backed by good customer service. You won’t be left wondering where your power will come from if there are any errors or damage to the solar panel system.

(Source: The Verge)

The Design

One of the most excellent benefits of the Tesla Solar roof is that it looks like an actual roof. The glass shingles or tiles are in rows and curve to the edge of the roof. They look like futuristic homes in science fiction movies. The Tesla Solar Roof aesthetics appeal is worthy of an appearance in a magazine for current technology.

The sleek design of the Tesla solar roof gets accentuated by the tinted grey-black color. The sun’s reflection from the tiles shows anyone passing by that your home collects the sun’s rays while also acting as a roof. The design was inspired to create a flawless appearance with minimal lines so that solar technology integrates seamlessly with your home. It also reinforces the existing structure and is built as structural support and solar panel energy collection and conversation technology.

Overall, the new glass shingles got designed differently than previous versions of the Tesla solar roof. Their size increased from 8.65 inches by fourteen inches on the old design to fifteen inches by forty-five inches on the new design.

The redesign and subsequent increase in size make it so installing a Tesla solar roof takes about fifty percent fewer shingles than the first versions did. The fact that installation requires fewer shingles means that the installation costs may get lessened by the end of the construction. However, the repair costs of a larger shingle are higher if there is any damage to the roof during weather or other events.

(Source: Inverse)

Is It Really for Me?

If you own your home and are looking to incorporate alternative energy sources into your power usage and delivery, solar is a great choice. Not only does adding solar collection panels or glass shingles to your roof increase the value of your home, but you will save some money on your utility bill and possibly even make money from selling power back to utilities.

Tesla’s solar roof is a luxury option for home solar collection technology. The Tesla solar roof places a premium on the design of its glass shingles. Although the Tesla solar roof may look futuristic and sleek in design, most solar energy consumers may not be suitable. However sweet of a design the solar panels are, they can’t touch the design and functionality of the Tesla solar roof. If you are going to get Tesla and don’t have a flat roof, you may consider the Tesla solar roof.

The high price of installing the Tesla solar roof is because there are move materials involved. Only about forty percent of the materials used on your Tesla solar roof are actual glass tiles collecting the sun’s rays for electricity. The cost gets offset by government incentives for green energy, but not enough to make a big difference.

In the long run, installing a Tesla solar roof only makes sense for building new homes or those who need to replace their roof anyways. The roof structure costs a lot of money to complete and is not a viable investment for those whose roofs are in working order.

(Source: Namaste Solar)

In Conclusion

Tesla solar offers high-quality solar panel technology at competitive prices. They offer two lines of solar panel technology. Still, only the traditional solar panel grids are available for those residential homes with a flat roof. The new Tesla solar roof is not eligible for installation on a residential flat roof at this time.

Even though you can’t cash in on the aesthetically pleasing Tesla solar roof, Tesla’s other residential solar technology options are robust and offer a lot for your home. You get more tax credit proportional to the purchase cost if you buy only the panels compared to the whole solar roof. In the end, Tesla solar for flat roofs is affordable if you go with the panels, not the new Solar roof installation.

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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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