Elon Musk promised to make solar power accessible to everyone- and he is holding up his end of the bargain. The solar roof is, at last, expanding outside the US market, with orders now open worldwide. Overall, Tesla has a history of success internationally, but much not so much in Japan- so what is the company up to in the country now?
Tesla’s past failures in Japan stem from weak brand identity, poor customer care experiences, and a small car dealership network. With the release of the new solar roof, Tesla has reset their eyes on the Japanese market to correct these weaknesses and push consumers towards solar-powered energy.
Tesla’s slow roll-out of their solar roof meant that, for the first few years, the Californian market had sole access to the product. Now, post-February 2020, the Asian market will get to experience Tesla’s innovative solar roof as well- but that’s not all. Keep reading to find out what else Tesla is up to in Japan.
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Tesla Solar Roof Japan – What’s Tesla Up To Now?
Tesla, as a company, much like the new solar roof, is innovative in many ways. With a market capitalization of over $206 billion, Tesla beats out its major competitors by a mile, including GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler. Despite its widespread success, Tesla has still managed to fall short in the Japanese market.
The company’s projected popularity in the country meant that their eventual short-comings came as a surprise to everyone. Many point their fingers at three culprits, including:
- Brand identity: Tesla has very poor brand recognition in Japan. According to a poll by Nikkei Research, only 50% of participants recognized the Tesla logo. This contrasts with 98% who easily recognized the Nissan Leaf.
- Customer care: Japanese culture is very much so centered around kindness and hospitality. It’s no wonder the direct-to-consumer model Tesla uses has not been well very well received in Japan.
- Small dealership network: Though many Japanese customers appreciate and believe in the product, they feel that will such a small presence in Japan Tesla would not be able to provide appropriate customer care. This goes back to brand recognition as well.
Learning from these mistakes, Tesla has now set their eyes on expanding to another market. With the release of their new solar roof v3, there is a new goal in sight: to make a lasting impact on the Japanese solar energy industry.
In 2017 major powers around the world, including the US and China, saw a solar power boom. In contrast, Japan saw a decline that year. With solar power coming at a premium, Tesla’s appearance on the market promises to make clean energy accessible for both major companies and individual homeowners.
Tesla Solar Roof: What’s all the Buzz?
On to the scene comes the solar roof. With Tesla’s new design that incorporates both functionality and aesthetics, the version 3 roof has already made a splash in Japan. This is a major feat as many companies, namely Dow Chemical Co., have tried and failed where Tesla has not.
However, there is still a lot of stiff competition popping up, like Solar Frontier. The Japanese company is not messing around when it comes to innovative and functional clean energy. They have managed to incorporate solar panels not only into roofs but even building materials, like walls.
Despite that, Tesla puts up a tough fight with their new solar-paneled shingles. Tesla crafted their product to resemble a standard shingled roof, complementing your home instead of clashing with it. Each roof incorporates a ratio of both photovoltaic and non-photo voltaic panels based on various factors, including:
- Size of the home.
- Amount of sunlight the roof receives.
- Quantity of energy needed.
Though you’ll have to get an entire roof replacement, the fact that Tesla solar panels are extremely durable makes up for it. Shingles are covered under a 25-year tile, power, and weatherization warranty and are extremely resistant to wind, hail, and fire. However, the question still begs to be asked: is the solar roof worth it?
Is the Solar Roof Worth it?
The answer is yes, it definitely can be. Tesla solar roofs are meant to pay for themselves in the long run and have a lifetime warranty, so there isn’t much to dislike.
So let’s talk about price. Before incentives, the price per watt per photovoltaic tile comes in at about $2.01, or about 208.72 Japanese Yen. Non-photovoltaic shingles are priced at about $7.65, or 794.38 Japanese Yen, per square foot. Tesla estimates that a 10kW roof with incentives will come in at about $31,133, or 3,253,618.72 Japanese Yen.
However, the actual price you will pay depends on the size of your home and your monthly energy usage. On average, the cost of a new Tesla solar roof is cheaper than installing traditional solar panels. However, if you don’t need a brand new roof installed you may want to consider other options before committing.
Tesla recommends a 2,000 square foot home that has an average electric bill of about $200 would need about a 7.8kW solar roof. Factoring in the price of both the photovoltaic and non-photo voltaic tiles, the price with incentives would come to about $21,000.
When compared to the price of a new roof replacement, and solar panel installation on the same home, the Tesla roof comes in cheaper overall. Overall, if you need a roof replacement and solar power energy, the Tesla roof is a perfect option. If you don’t need to replace your roof, you may be better off with a standard solar panel installation.
In addition to the new solar roof, Tesla’s Powerwall battery is causing a stir as well. The Powerwall battery is a storage system for all the solar energy your panels produce. Though it is not necessary to purchase a battery with your Tesla solar roof, especially with your area already offers net metering, it’s a fantastic product that is worth the price.
However, you may get a little sticker shock with the price. The product itself retails at $7,000, or 726,880 Japanese Yen. Installation of the battery will run you another $4,500, or 467,280 Japanese Yen. Though the price is steep, anyone can install and use a Tesla battery, even if they don’t have the Tesla solar roof.
The Powerwall can store up to 13.5 Kilowatt-hours of energy, one of the highest capacities on the market for residential consumers. It can output 5kW of energy to power standard things in your home, like:
- Electric outlets.
- Small appliances.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of these batteries is the three operating modes that allow you to control, how, why, and when your solar energy is used. This is especially important for consumers living in Japan, where blackouts due to natural disasters are common. The three modes are as follows:
|Solar Self-Consumption Mode||In this mode, your home will only use the solar energy it needs to power your home as it’s being generated, then store the rest for later use when panels are no longer producing energy.|
|Time-Based Control Mode||The star of the show: this mode detects the varying prices of electricity during the day and automatically switches to solar energy when electricity is more expensive, saving you more money on bills.|
|Back-up Power Mode||In this mode, the battery will be charged with solar energy stored in case of eventual grid outages. The battery can detect a blackout, and instantly switch over to reserve energy for seamless and continuous electricity flow.|
The Powerwall battery beats out its competition by a mile, especially with its time-based control mode, overall battery capacity, and low price tag. The best part is Tesla has begun rolling out installations in Japan, though there may be a long waitlist for getting one.
Tesla has thought of everyone when producing their solar power energy options. That means that industrial batteries called Powerpacks are now available for commercial and utility storage on the Japanese market.
Larger than its Powerwall counterpart, these Tesla Powerpacks come in three different sizes depending on your energy needs, including:
|40 kW||Produces on average 4,330-5,000 kWh per month. Best suited for buildings of about 10,000 sq ft.|
|120 kW||Produces on average 13,000-15,000 kWh per month. Best suited for buildings of about 30,000 sq ft.|
|240 kW||Produces on average 26,000-30,000 kWh per month. Best suited for buildings of 60,000 sq ft.|
For power like that, there is no wonder the price for one Powerpack comes in at around $172,000, or 17,860,480 Japanese Yen. Though the price is steep, you get all the benefits of a Powerwall battery, but on an industrial level. These benefits include:
- Peak shaving: solar energy is used when power demands are highest, reducing your demand charges.
- Load shifting: the option to shift energy consumption on and off to avoid paying high electricity prices.
- Emergency backup: energy is stored in the event of a grid outage. The battery will detect an outage and start using power automatically.
- Demand response: energy is discharged instantly and automatically when system loads are peaking.
Tesla Powerpacks have already begun rolling out in Japan. Most notably their largest installation of 42 Powerpack batteries was completed in 2019 in Osaka, Japan for Kintetsu Railway. Kintetsu operates its electric trains on 500km of railroad tracks. Tesla batteries can help power trains for at least 30 mins after a power outage occurs.
This massive installation is notable for many reasons, including:
- The 42 batteries were installed in only two days, showing that Tesla can get the job done, and quick
- Batteries ensure trains can make it to the next station in the event of grid outages, meaning train travel is safer and more reliable.
- This installation is a testament to the power of industrial solar energy and is living proof that it is accessible on a large scale.
Tesla’s solar energy mission is hitting the Japanese market at all levels. From large industries to private consumers, everyone can do their part in reducing carbon footprints- but how exactly do you get your hands on all this stuff?
How do I get a Solar Roof?
If you’ve decided to commit to a Tesla solar roof, you may be wondering just how exactly you can get your hands on one. For starters, it’s good to note that Tesla has now officially made orders available on an international level, and that includes Japan.
To place your order you will need to first ensure that Tesla services your area. Once you have verified this, follow these few simple steps, as follows:
- Step 1: Navigate to the Tesla website. You will then click on the ‘Energy’, then ‘Solar Roof’ tabs.
- Step 2: Next, you will scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find a ‘Place Order’ option. Click on the button to begin your order process.
- Step 3: You will be prompted to provide your personal information, including name, address, telephone number, and average monthly energy consumption.
- Step 4: Tesla will then assess your home to determine how large your roof is, how much sunlight it gets, and how many photovoltaic vs. non-photo voltaic panels you need to power your home.
- Step 5: After building permits are approved, Tesla will contact you to step up a time and date for installation.
Though orders are available, as we know Tesla can be notoriously unreliable when it comes to their customer service. Besides, some consumers have even reported that orders have been canceled years after they were originally placed. Hopefully, with their new goal in mind of improving their brand image, this won’t be the case for you.
Once your date has been set, Tesla promises to complete the installation process in less than a week from when they begin. Once your roof is installed, you can begin reaping the benefits of clean solar energy right away. If you choose to get a Powerwall battery to optimize your energy usage, this will be installed at a time of your choosing.
What about the Powerwall battery?
If you’ve recently had your Tesla solar power roof installed, you may now be interested in getting full control of your clean energy by installing a Powerwall battery. The best part of Tesla’s batteries is that you don’t even need to have a Tesla roof to benefit. Any kind of solar panels installed on your home can function with the battery.
To order a Powerwall battery- or two or three- for your home, follow these few simple steps:
- Step 1: Check if Tesla currently installs in your area. If they do, navigate to the Tesla website. Click on the ‘Energy,’ then ‘Powerall’ tabs.
- Step 2: To place your order you will need to enter similar information necessary for a solar roof order. This will include your name, address, and phone number.
- Step 3: Tesla will then conduct an energy assessment on your home to determine the right hardware for your energy consumption needs. They will also determine the most ideal placement for your new battery in your home.
- Step 4: you will go over your Tesla agreement, which includes hardware and installation prices. Once you have agreed on terms and signed the papers, Tesla will work on getting permits approved for installation.
- Step 5: once permits have been obtained, Tesla will contact you to determine a good date and time to install your new Powerwall battery. Your home will lose power for around four hours during this process.
- Step 6: Once your battery has been installed, it’s time to download the Tesla Powerwall app! The app is available for Apple and Android and will allow you to monitor your energy levels anytime, anywhere.
It is important to note that though orders are now available for the Powerwall in Japan, there may still be an extensive waitlist, and therefore waiting period between the time you place your order and actual installation on your home. If you are looking for immediate access to a solar power battery, you may want to explore other options.
With the release of the new solar roof v3, Tesla has been up to a lot- and that includes in Japan. The company indeed had a rough start entering the market with their electric cars due to poor brand identity, consumer care issues, and a small company network. Now, the revamping of their energy sector is a promising new beginning.
Japan has lagged behind other countries when it came to solar power, but Elon Musk has promised to change that. Now that solar roofs are available to order, they are accessible to all consumers. Together with the innovative Powerwall and Powerpack batteries, Tesla has shown Japan that they are holding to all of their promises.