How the Tesla Roof in Snow Works


The Telsa roof is a marvel of modern engineering, bringing both solar panels and contemporary roofing styles into harmony. Resembling dark shingles in themselves, they act much like a standard roof would during all times of the year.

The Telsa Roof may lose some functionality in winter from snow and even overcast conditions, requiring greater reliance on grid power. It would be best if you treated it as you would any other roof, allowing snow to slide off. The efficacy of solar production is reliant upon several independent factors.

The Telsa Roof is unique in its functionality when compared to traditional solar panels. When considering purchasing it, there are several factors to consider if you live in an area where snowfall is expected. How it works and what to expect in the winter can be quite a mystery I am to solve here.

Tesla Roof in Snow

Since the Tesla Roof is run by solar power, there are some questions surrounding it’s functionality when the roof is covered with snow or when the sun is blocked and can’t reach the roof… how can you have solar power without the sun? Up next, we’ll outline how the Tesla Roof functions in these conditions.

Snow Will Affect Energy Production of Tesla Roof

Commonly, your roof may not function at peak performance during periods of heavy snowfall, as a thin layer of snow is unlikely to cause a noticeable difference. This loss of energy production can be due to several factors, not just the snowfall itself.

Your reliance upon the grid may increase during the winter. However, the panels will still function to reduce traditional energy consumption.

The Pitch of Your Roof Can Directly Impact Production in Snow

Telsa Roof panels support a broad spectrum of roof pitch. If you have a steeper angle of a roof, there is a much larger chance that the snow will slide off once it’s built up from a storm.

Sliding is more common on the sides of the home where the sun makes direct contact. The roof’s tendency to heat from absorbing solar energy and from your home’s ambient heat will produce a slush that the snow will hopefully slide down.

The Tesla Roof’s unique design outperforms traditional panels in this regard, as snow does not gather beneath the panels themselves.

Snowy Times of Year Are Less Than Optimal

Even if you already have a layer of snow on your roof, it’s likely not to change the level of power output. Due to the cloud cover that accompanies extended snowfall, solar panels will not absorb ample light in the first place. This less than favorable cloud condition is compounded by the fact that the day is considerably shorter during winter.

Can the Tesla Roof Handle Heavy Snowfall?

Tesla advertises its roof as being nearly three times as strong when compared to standard tiles. Whether exaggerated a bit or not, this durability means you can walk up on your roof just like a non-solar one. If your roof didn’t leak before being replaced, it most likely won’t with the addition of Solar Tiles.

How Much Snow Can the Roof Handle?

Most roofing codes in the US require them to handle up to 30lbs of snow per square foot. 30lbs of snow is nearly 3ft of fresh powder upon your roof. Usually, 3ft will slide off when the building is constructed correctly with a sloping roof. Most houses are built with a higher level of durability than even that, and if the top were to collapse due to weight, it would not matter if it were Tesla Roof tiles or not.

Should I Shovel It Off?

The Telsa Roof’s durability allows you to walk on it or clean it off in much the same way as you would a regular roof. Despite this durability, it is not recommended to shovel off your roof in times of heavy snow. It can be incredibly dangerous, and deaths from sliding off of roofs are a yearly occurrence.

You should keep an eye out for icicles building up, as they can be dangerous, causing injury if shaken loose above a door or outdoor gathering area. The solar roof’s natural tendency of heating up can cause melted snow runoff to crystalize into hanging ice more often than a traditional one.

Don’t Sweat A Little Bit of Snow.

A thin layer of snow on your roof is not likely to lessen solar output. Light can still penetrate a small amount of the fluffy stuff, scattering and charging the battery. The reflection of light off of the white snow can increase power production slightly.

What About Water and Flooding Under the Panels?

Tesla states that all of their roofs have a durable layer of waterproof insulation to prevent leaks. This water insulation comes with a standard 25-year warranty, along with the rest of the roof. You should not have to worry about water damage any more than you would with any other traditional shingle.

Tesla Roof Is Not Raised Like Normal Panels

Because the Telsa Roof replaces your current one, there are no extra holes drilled into your roof. Most traditional systems have a small gap between the roof at the panels themselves. This gap can become filled with snow and ice, causing your panels to be colder and not aid with sliding snow off.

How To Mitigate Power Loss During Heavy Snowfall

The main benefit of going solar is to lower your dependency on antiquated systems of energy production. Cloudy days and a thick layer of snow on your roof can hamper these benefits.

Get A Battery or Tesla Powerwall

Batteries like the Telsa Powerwall can store energy for use later and lower the reliance upon grid power. Depending upon how much energy you use, the extra you produce during sunny periods, and the number of batteries installed, you can power your home during extended periods.

The Powerwall and Tesla Roof can both be monitored from your phone to optimize their usage. Using both in conjunction with one another can allow you to set up timers and engage the Powerwall should your home utilize high energy devices such as a washer or heater.

Other Considerations for Tesla Roof in Snow

Yes, snow can impact Tesla Roof’s functionality. And you now know how to mitigate those issues. But here are a few other things to keep in mind regarding snow and Tesla’s solar panel roof.

Solar Panels Operate Better When Colder

Just like any other electronic device, solar panels will operate slightly more efficiently when it is cold. Due to a smaller amount of energy lost due to heat, there can be a net gain of power during cold periods.

The temperature does not affect whether your panels will work or not. Only a thick layer of snow or cloud cover can stop them from functioning.

Possible Future Improvements

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated interest in developing a heating element for areas where the temperature does not get above freezing all winter long. As of right now, this innovation has yet to be proven energy-efficient enough to be a reality.

The power required to heat the roof sufficiently to cause a snow slide is currently more significant than what you stand to gain. However, improvements in efficiency and heating can allow this to be a possibility in the near future.

Final Thoughts

While the Tesla Roof will lose some power output in heavy snow build-up, it can still function during snowfall periods of all severity. You can expect to lose functionality during the winter regardless of snow due to shorter days and higher cloud cover. Solar panels, and by extension, the Telsa Roof, can still be useful during snowy periods, lowering your carbon footprint and reducing your overall electricity consumption.

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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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