In 2016 Tesla, and owner Elon Musk got into the residential solar panel market when they purchased the company, Solar City. Tesla solar panels were supposed to be revolutionary with their sleek designs, sturdy builds, and state-of-the-art Tesla technology. They offer two forms of panels, a Solar Roof and traditional solar panels.
If you live in Quebec, Canada, and are looking to get a Tesla Solar Roof, you may have to wait until Tesla expands into Canada. For a variety of reasons, the option for Canadians to purchase a Solar Roof has been delayed until later this year.
There are pros and cons for purchasing a complete Solar Roof system when they do become available in Quebec. There is a lot of technology and specificity that go into the look and design of the roof. There are issues to consider when purchasing a roof through Tesla, namely pricing and energy output. If you want to know about your options for a Tesla roof in Quebec, keep reading.
What is the Complete Tesla Solar Roof System?
First things first, you should know exactly what you are getting when ordering a Tesla Solar Roof. It looks just like a normal roof, if not sleeker and aesthetically pleasing. However, many of the Solar Roof’s shingles are actually small solar panels that provide your home with energy. These solar shingles contain solar cells that work with the Tesla Solar Inverter. You can access the energy anytime, even during grid outages or at night.
If you have solar panels through Tesla, you will have a Tesla Solar Inverter installed in your home. The Tesla Solar Inverter is an integral part of the Tesla home solar system:
- It converts direct current power from solar to an alternating current for power use in your home.
- It runs through the Powerwall 2 battery manufactured and installed by Tesla.
Powerwall 2 is the second generation battery from Tesla. The Powerwall 2 can be used in either residential homes or for light commercial use. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery allows energy storage from either solar option on your roof to be used at your convenience, even during outages. It is easy to install and is known for its low-profile design.
Using the Tesla app, you are able to manage your solar system and watch your energy output. This way, you are able to see if your panels are losing any efficiency over time. After installation, the panel roof connects to the Powerwall battery and is capable of providing a 5 kW continuous power draw. The battery can store up to about 14 kWh of energy.
The Complete Solar Roof System in Quebec
After purchasing SolarCity, a company run by Musk’s cousins, in 2016, Musk immediately turned the company into what you see today. Tesla has a robust solar website featuring both the complete Solar Roof system and the Tesla solar panels. The customer can do almost everything they need to do here:
- Design schematics
- Place orders
- Schedule new installations
But, Tesla did not start increasing their Solar Roof production until the last quarter of 2019 and into early 2020. On Twitter, Musk announced that Tesla’s complete Solar Roof system would become available in Canada at some point in 2021. While that remains to be seen, you can assume Musk is right. There is plenty of reason to start making plans for Tesla’s Solar Roof if you live in Quebec.
How Much Will a Solar Roof Cost in Quebec?
In the United States, Tesla says the average homeowner should expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof. One analysis says in the U.S., a 3,947-square-foot Solar Roof will range between $79,938 and $100,621. In 2019, just as Tesla was ramping up their production, they quoted a much lower price tag for a roof.
The lower price is likely due to the many incentives, tax breaks, and rebates that are available for solar customers. You should take these into account when you are totaling up the cost of your Solar Roof. While the initial price tag can seem overwhelming and impossible, there are many programs and discounts geared toward incentivizing people to go solar.
In Canada, the numbers above translate, with the same sized roof and a 12.3 kW complete Solar Roof system, anywhere from $100,412 to $126,395. The difference in pricing is based on the variety of roofs. Tesla has to adapt to the wide variety of roofs since they must deal with the following variables from roof to roof:
- Roof pitch
- Roof height
- Any obstructions
- Overall roof stability
There are other factors that a customer should consider before going with Tesla’s Solar Roof. In the process of installation, Tesla takes off your old roof to replace it with the solar panel tiles, giving you a new roof. If a customer does not need a new roof at the time, the Solar Roof might not be a good investment. In this case, solar panels are available.
Finally, one needs to compare the cost of a complete Tesla Solar Roof system versus the savings they receive from the saved energy over the lifetime of the Solar Roof or the time they plan to live in the home. This could be an important factor when deciding whether the Solar Roof is financially viable.
Tesla Roof vs. Other Solar Options in Canada
As of now, it is difficult to determine specific costs in Quebec, let alone Canada, for comparison in pricing since Tesla has yet to expand to the country. While Tesla initially stated their solar tiled roofs would be cheaper than other roofs, that actually might not be the case. It comes down to how many solar shingles appear throughout the roof.
While not all tiles on a Tesla complete Solar Roof is a solar panel, anywhere between 40 percent to 70 percent will be. This is a wide range, so the price could vary quite a bit.
It is important to note that Musk, when declaring the Solar Roof would be cheaper or about the same price as a regular roof, was comparing his solar tiles to regular tiles made of concrete and ceramics, two of the more expensive roof tile materials.
These comparisons can all be found on the internet using various consumer guides. One writer estimated that a $0.30 shingle would be the same as a concrete or ceramic shingle. But, that does not take into account that Tesla charges $3 per every watt installed. While this comparison may show equal tile charges, the installation is extra.
Consumer Reports completed another helpful comparison:
- If using normal asphalt shingles on a 3,000 square foot roof, the estimated total roof cost would be around $20,000.
- Taking into account costs saved with solar shingles, the life of shingles, and the life of a roof, the Tesla roof should cost no more than $74,000 to make it worthwhile.
- Most Solar Roof systems, once the total costs are calculated, end up costing much more than that.
A Northern California customer had a Tesla Solar Roof installed in 2019 on his 1,000 square foot roof. Without the extra batteries, the price would have been $98,000, $98 per square foot. The price was higher due to a tricky roof with obstructions and a high pitch.
There is no one-size-fits-all price comparison. Several other factors go into purchasing a Tesla complete Solar Roof system. For instance, will solar energy reduce your energy bill to nothing or only reduce it? How many people live in your home? The more people, the more energy is used. Plus, the current shape of the roof plays a large part in the price.
Cost vs. Home Energy Usage
When buying solar equipment, an important factor customers need to look into is how much energy they use. Energy consumption should determine the size of the system you want Tesla to install. Pricing can vary depending on system size, and you do not want too little energy for your house or too much, which increases unneeded costs.
Weigh the cost of a proposed Tesla complete Solar Roof to how much you might save on utility bills. Some factors include how energy efficient your home is already. Customers should consider if they have recently weatherproofed their attic by installing insulation, or upgraded their heating and cooling systems, or upgraded appliances.
Solar Shingles on the Canadian Market
The solar shingles on the Canadian market compared to a Tesla complete Solar Roof will not be an apples-to-apples comparison. While most Tesla Solar Roofs are made up of a combination of solar shingles with similar looking glass shingles, you can technically have a roof be made of only solar shingles. Three Canadian competitors offer different solutions:
- Canadian Solar Roofs
Canadian Solar Roofs install small solar shingles intermixed with regular shingles, such as asphalt.
Atlantis Energy Systems uses Sunslates as a Solar Roof installer. Sunslates covers 300 square feet of a roof with slate tiles wrapped in a solar covering. For a standard 300 square feet of slate roof, the price is high at $39,000, or $13,000 per 100 square feet. The $8 to $10 per watt of energy is cheaper than Tesla, though it is not a full roof.
CertainTeed, like Sunslates, only offers tiles for a portion of the roof. Using the Apollo II solar system, CertainTeed says you will get 60 watts of energy per solar tile and estimates a 350 square foot solar shingle roof costs $20,000. They guarantee this for up to 25 years. CertainTeed says your electricity bill will be lowered by 40 to 70 percent.
The final company, Dow Chemical, appears to be off the market. For a price comparison, their 350 Powerhouse solar shingle would cost over $20,000. At the time, they said energy bills would drop by 40 to 60 percent. Customers liked how their Powerhouse shingles fit well into normal shingles, giving it a complete look, like Tesla’s Solar Roof.
What Do Customers Get with Tesla Solar Tiles?
Having covered the options in Canada, here are some more details about what customers get. Tesla tiles are made of glass and offer a solar tile or non-solar tile. Either option looks the same from the street or your yard. Each tile is made to look opaque. Unless looking down on the roof, you should not be able to tell the difference in tiles.
On Tesla’s website, you custom build your roof, experimenting with how many tiles you need. Roofs differ, but there is a range of how many tiles one would need. Some roofs could use up to 70 percent solar tiles, but Elon Musk did say most roofs will only use about 40 percent solar tiles. The website also aids in pricing once you decide the number of tiles.
There are four styles of tile you can choose from out of the solar or non-solar type:
The most popular options are smooth and textured, while Tuscan and slate are also available. This is in contrast to regular roof shingles like those made from concrete, asphalt, metal, or clay. It is unclear which options will be available once sold in Quebec.
The Tiles are Made to Last
Each tile is built to last. Every tile, whether solar or non-solar, is developed from tempered glass. Tesla claims they are up to three times stronger than normal roofing tiles. Regular tiles made from asphalt or concrete wear and fall apart over time. According to Tesla, their tiles will not degrade and can withstand hailstorms.
Tesla backs up this claim with a warranty, or they say the tiles will match the lifetime of your house. The warranty states, “Your solar panels are guaranteed by their manufacturer to at least 80% of nameplate power capacity for at least 25 years.” Tesla also says they will process claims and perform labor, under warranty, at their costs.
There is also a10-year warranty on the system. This 10-year warranty covers a wide range of issues with your equipment. The Powerwall battery is covered, as is the solar inverter. Under this warranty, Tesla covers roof mounting and leaks and, at your request, processes the claims and covers labor.
Tesla has crews to fix your Solar Roof in their service areas across the country. While they say a lot of issues can be fixed via the phone or online, you have to schedule a crew to resolve issues. Tesla also says the tiles are easy to clean, with soap, water, and non-abrasive sponge, claiming cleaning can improve solar production and shingle life.
Why the Delay in Getting Solar Roofs to Canada?
According to one of Tesla’s rivals, SunPower, initially, there was a design flaw in Tesla’s complete Solar Roof system. In 2016, SunPower believed the solar shingles in the Solar Roof malfunctioned due to overheating. The cause of the overheating was due to insufficient spacing in the Solar Roof shingles. Normal solar panels did not have this issue.
In an article from April 26th, 2021, Elon Musk said, even with almost $500 million in sales, the company has not made a profit from roof sales. Tesla has responded by upping their prices for solar roofing, leaving many customers upset with the price increase after they already invested.
According to Tesla, the problems are with their ability to assess the variety of roofs in their markets. If an existing roof has any number of troubles, from structural instability to a problematic frame to a structure that cannot hold the tiles, the price can increase. Some customers said the price has gone up two to three times the original price.
Tesla expects the trend in profits to turn around this year. They are expanding the complete Solar Roof installations sales, though there are no specifics as to how many homes. They expect to increase sales by bundling their home battery, the Powerwall 2, with their solar energy products. Musk is hopeful this is the way to the future.
Deciding to go with Tesla’s complete Solar Roof is up to the family or individual. There are several areas the customer needs to research. First and foremost, the option has to be available in the customer’s region. Right now, Tesla has yet to bring their Solar Roof design to Quebec, but the company is hopeful that it will happen no later than this year.
While pricing is difficult to compare between the United States and Canada, most competitors in Canada offer solar panels or shingles for part of a roof while Tesla uses the entire roof. Depending on what type of shingle the customer would normally get, the price difference could be higher or lower than what Tesla is offering.
Overall, most Tesla complete Solar Roof customers like the look of the roof. There are no panels sticking up, and the quality of the individual shingle is good. They are durable, and Tesla offers warranties for repairs needed. When Tesla’s complete Solar Roof arrives in Quebec or the rest of Canada, the customers should be ready to make a decision.