As humans realize the negative impact we can have on the earth, scientists develop ways for us to reduce our carbon footprint. Rather than utilize solely fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas, many nations are turning toward more renewable energy. Hydropower, wind turbines, and solar energy are all great examples of energy for the future.
Solar power is the least expensive alternative for the home, which is why Tesla came out with solar panels and the Solar Roof. Solar power from Tesla is great at cutting electricity costs on your home, but the maintenance is not so cut and dry and they have yet to work out all the kinks.
In this article you will find the pros and cons of implementing a Tesla solar-powered roof on your home. Accessing solar energy from your roof could certainly help the environment, your home’s value, and your wallet, but the real question is if the output is worth the price and the labor of keeping up the maintenance of your solar panels.
The Tesla Solar Roof
From reducing your electricity bill to having the solar system pay for itself within 8 years, everything sounds so great. However, you have probably heard the old saying that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You are probably wondering if this applies to the Tesla Solar Roof.
Tesla brags that in addition to producing clean energy for your home, their beautiful solar-powered tiles are three times stronger than average roof tiles. With a 25 year warranty and its unique ability to potentially both save you money now and later, the Tesla Solar Roof really does seem to be too good to be true. So where is the downside?
Although Tesla claims 100% responsibility for the design, permit, and installation processes, more than a handful of consumers have found the customer service experience seriously lacking, especially time-consuming, and needlessly frustrating. Since the actual product is insured for 25 years, customer service is kind of important.
Another issue many consumers have faced is keeping the panels or tiles clean enough to work at optimum levels. Though this seems to be more of the nature of the beast, if your area is particularly dusty or cloudy, this might be a problem you face. If your town experiences more rain and snow than sunshine, you might go with a traditional roof.
Reasons to Go With Tesla
Most Tesla products from the electric car to the flamethrower come with a certain feeling of exclusivity. Because so much of the tech this company uses is so cutting-edge, purchasing a Model Y car from Tesla Motors feels like being in an elite club. Getting the Tesla Solar Roof is no exception and will likely make you the envy of the neighborhood.
In addition to looking absolutely stunning as a roof and being discreetly a source of solar energy for your home, each tile on the Tesla Solar Roof is actually a small solar panel. These tiles come in four different, but uniquely beautiful styles:
- Smooth glass
Each of these designs have been backed up by multiple tests as being up to 3x stronger than your typical roof tiles. This is smart of Tesla since each individual tile probably has more tech in it than your average landline. The tiles received the highest grade in standard tests in withstanding everything from hail to wind to fire.
Before the tiles are placed on the roof, contractors rip out the old roofing materials (if necessary) and layer weather-proofing materials to prevent any moisture from slipping in between the tiles and running into your home. This can also protect the tiles from shorting out.
Possibly the biggest advantage of having a Tesla Solar Roof is that in extreme weather, when everyone else loses their electricity, your roof can keep the power on. This prevents the food in your fridge and freezer from spoiling and keeps your home and water at the ideal temperature.
The Downside of Tesla Solar
Probably the biggest complaint consumers have that prevents them from purchasing a Tesla Solar Roof is the high cost. It is no question that the Solar Roof is much more expensive than purchasing and installing a brand new asphalt shingle roof, even if you added solar panels onto that popular style.
Customers that have gone with Tesla for their solar roof seem to be overall pretty satisfied with their product, but do not have many kind things to say about the customer service experience that they have received. There also seems to be a comparatively long wait time to get permits accepted and to install the actual roof.
Although it is so innovative to have each of the tiles be in and of themselves an individual solar panel, this increases the amount of working parts and therefore increases the amount of things that could go wrong. Not to mention that with newer technology comes unforeseen problems.
There is also the potential for low return on your investment, meaning the cost of the solar roof is greater than the amount you save from the solar energy your home uses. Added along with extra maintenance for the tiles and you could be facing a number of unexpected issues.
Individual Parts of the Solar Roof
There is definitely a stark difference between the Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Solar Panels. The solar roof is installed as new tiles on a new building, or replaces an older roof which then, of course, has to be removed first. Panels are applied to an existing roof as an addition to help boost energy savings.
If your old roof has seen better days and you are looking for a new and innovative roof option, you might consider the Tesla Solar Roof. However, if your roof is in excellent condition and you merely want to take control of your energy bill and consumption, then panels are the way to go.
|Product||Tesla Solar Roof||Tesla Solar Panels|
|Price||Just over $56,000*||$8,200-$32,800|
|Appearance||Discreet, sleek, stylish||More obvious, clunkier|
|Installation Time||On average, 1 week**||On average, up to 2 days|
|Average Energy Output||On average 95 kWh||About 1 kWh per panel|
*Not including the Powerwall, which is about $8,000
**This is not including the time it takes to remove an older roof or go through the proper channels to get the permits required.
It is worth mentioning that while Tesla is the creator of the tiles that make up the solar roof, they do not actually have their own brand of solar panels which they also sell. Tesla will typically outsource solar panels from third parties, but they still coordinate the installation and guarantee the warranty.
At the end of the day, panels are less expensive but they just do not look as nice. The tile roof will cost you quite a bit more upfront, but the look is absolutely gorgeous and if you can swing the price, being a Tesla Solar Roof owner feels so futuristic and exclusive.
The Tesla Powerwall is much more than a simple battery that hangs outside your house or in your garage. The Powerwall distributes and stores energy from your solar panels or roof and is able to help protect you against outages. It can even predict and detect outages and then automatically turn itself on when needed so you never lose power.
Because the Powerwall is completely self-sufficient when paired with solar panels or your solar roof, you can skip the noise and smelly gasoline of a generator. Sunlight recharges your Powerwall battery so you could potentially run on solely solar power for days at a time! The Powerwall is also great for powering your house:
- During a blackout or extreme weather
- At nighttime
- When the sky is overcast or the sun is not shining
The Powerwall is a must if you are getting Tesla solar power as it is compact and attractive, can store 13.5 kWh, is weather resistant, and is completely pet and child-friendly, free of exposed wires or hot vents. You can even connect up to 10 Powerwalls as is needed to fuel all your home’s needs. That is over 130 kWh!
The Powerwall is definitely the best way to get the most out of your Tesla solar-powered products. It has a handy app that can help to control and regulate how much electricity and how much solar power you use and how to most efficiently run your home. Consumers say that it is very impressive and Tesla hit it out of the park with this one.
Does the Cost Pay Off?
Although the Tesla Roof is much more expensive than your typical asphalt roof, Tesla makes the argument that the Solar Roof is not a typical roof. With assets such as super durable tiles, a generous warranty, and the ability to run your home fully independent of the grid, it makes sense why the costs for a Tesla Solar Roof add up quickly.
It is worth mentioning that the Tesla Solar Roof costs less, even with the solar capabilities, than slate roofs or even traditional tile roofs that have any brand of solar panels on them. If you do not mind the look of a typical solar panel, you might as well save yourself a little bit of money and maybe go with a different provider.
The cost will certainly pay for itself in time, but only with a certain type of home, and only in a certain climate. Unless you live in a smaller home with a smaller roof, in an area with very dependable sunlight, you may not see your return on investment for a long time.
Granted, there are plenty of consumers in California for example, where the sun shines so readily that they are able to sell back some electricity to the power companies, while still hanging onto enough solar energy to power their homes and store in their Powerwalls. Unfortunately, this is not the norm throughout the world.
Keeping the Lights On During a Storm
The ability to have uninterrupted power for your home and family is nothing short of a modern-day miracle. Consumers have said that with both Tesla solar power and a Powerwall installed, while other homes lost electricity during a storm, their lights did not do much more than flicker and then resume full power.
Being about to keep running appliances and lights in your home provides a certain sense of safety and definitely a substantial amount of comfort. Being less likely to have your freezer defrost or your phone run out of charge can save you a big headache in the long run, especially if you are planning to revamp your roof anyway.
With the Tesla app helping you to control your output, the Powerwall can recognize and predict power outages and conserve more energy to save up in anticipation of a blackout. Then, in the middle of the day when your house is light enough to see inside anyway, the Powerwall will focus on taking in more sunlight to save up storage again.
The battery can even power certain appliances or certain rooms at predetermined times. For example, if you are not doing any laundry, you may not need power to your washer and dryer and the Powerwall would conserve energy from the laundry room during an emergency.
Is Tesla Right for You?
There are many factors to be considered when looking for a solar panel brand. No one can beat the classy and understated look of the Tesla Solar Roof, but if you do not mind the look of solar panels, you could save a lot of money by going with another brand like:
- Panasonic solar panels
- CertainTeed Apollo II
- Luma Solar Roof
- Suntegra Tile and Shingle
You may not be worried about the time it takes to see the return on investment with your solar tiles or panels. If this is the case, Tesla does an equally good job as any other provider. Be forewarned though, higher cost does make your return on investment take longer as well, so if money is a factor, you should keep this in mind.
If you are not necessarily concerned with the cost of the Tesla roof, or you were considering a slate roof for your home anyway, there is nothing to lose. Tesla’s app makes communication effortless and if you decide to add a Powerwall to the system, there really are not many obstacles Mother Nature nor the grid can throw at you.
How Does Tesla Compare to Others?
Tesla is a good company with a good name. Luxury brands are supposed to provide superior products, but solar panel technology for the masses is still a relatively new concept. The way things are looking in the solar power market today, technology has more or less reached its limit with everything we understand right now.
Based on the current state of technology, solar power that is available to the average consumer is severely limited in its efficiency- both in power produced and cost. Tesla products seem to produce the same amount of electricity as other similarly sized panels from other competitors. Unfortunately, Tesla charges the consumer quite a bit more.
The cost per watt on the Tesla Solar Panels are about $0.40-$0.60 more per watt rated for that panel produced. This cost might be justified if the result was so much faster or had a cleaner transfer than the others on the market, however, Tesla unfortunately does not set itself apart in this way.
In a way, you end up paying more for the Tesla name, but if you go with Tesla Solar Roof or Tesla Solar Panels, you also have the advantage of being able to track your usage and production with the app. No other brand provides the same level of communication to the owner as Tesla does.
It makes sense that high end products would cost more. When a company claims to use the best materials and the best technology, the consumer expects to get the best product for their dollar. Despite the good name Tesla has created for itself, it does not give the consumer the most efficient product, especially not for the higher cost.
If you do not mind a waitlist, you do not mind the added maintenance on your solar roof tiles, and you have the financial ability to invest in the Tesla Solar Roof, the end result will help you save money on electricity and boost the sale value of your home.
If you tend to be a little more frugal or are scared of the negative customer service reviews out there for Tesla solar power, you can always go with another stable product from a different line. Tesla has some great products, but their solar line is still not their best work. In a few years, this could all change, you may just have to wait and see.