The Tesla Solar Roof has been widely discussed, debated, and criticized since the first version rolled out. Since then, Tesla has released several updated and improved versions of their solar roof to resolve complaints and improve the product. One of the big questions that’s come up is, how well do Tesla Solar Roof tiles hold up against a hurricane?
The newest version of the Tesla Solar Roof features stronger, more durable tiles than past versions. Tesla Solar Roof tiles are rated at 166 mph wind resistance, meaning they can withstand up to a Category 5 hurricane. When tested, Tesla Solar Roof tiles out-performed traditional solar panels in terms of durability and resistance against both hail and wind.
Because the Tesla Solar Roof is exactly what the name suggests – an entire roof rather than panels installed on top of an existing roof – how well they can withstand harsh weather is important. Read on to learn more about the durability of the Tesla Solar Roof, and how they have fared against harsh weather, including hurricanes in the past.
What is a Tesla Solar Roof?
First released in 2016, Tesla Solar Roofs consist of small solar panels built into glass roof tiles and non-solar tiles that serve as a complete, energy-producing roof. Tesla Roofs have been praised for their aesthetic beauty, durability ratings, and ability to provide backup energy through Tesla’s Powerwall batteries during grid outages.
The newest version of Teslas Solar Roof has increased solar efficiency, strength, design, and a significant price reduction from the previous versions. Tesla also ramped up installations and increased its availability.
Tesla Solar Roofs can also be connected to batteries, called Powerwalls, which store energy that is generated throughout the day to be used when needed. This allows for backup power during grid outages and can increase the amount of money saved on energy costs.
During the first few years following the release of the first Tesla Solar Roof, several issues were brought to light. Only a handful of installations were done prior to 2019, and many wondered if – or when – the Tesla Solar Roof would fade into oblivion. Instead, Tesla used all the feedback to refine the product, and create something truly state-of-the-art in the solar industry.
Can a Tesla Solar Roof Withstand a Hurricane?
Hurricanes can be some of the most damaging natural disasters, and for those living in areas where they are common, hurricane protection is very important. While not every hurricane is as devastating as Katrina, Maria, or Harvey, they do pose the risk of structural or property damage.
One way to determine how well Tesla Roof tiles, or any solar panels, will hold up in a hurricane is by comparing the wind resistance rating to the wind speeds in a hurricane There are five categories of hurricanes, each distinguished by wind speed:
- Category 1: 74-95 mph winds
- Category 2: 96-110 mph winds
- Category 3: 111-129 mph winds
- Category 4: 130-156 mph winds
- Category 5: Over 157 mph winds
Most average solar panels are rated at up to 140 mph, meaning they should be able to withstand up to a category 4 hurricane.
Tesla Solar Roof is rated at 166 mph wind resistance – theoretically able to withstand a category 5 hurricane.
Any hurricane that is category 3 or higher is considered to be a major hurricane capable of extreme or devastating damage.
Last year, Tesla installed its largest Solar Roof on a home in Florida, a state that sees more hurricanes than anywhere else in the US and has some of the strictest wind resistance requirements by code for buildings and structures.
There are no 100% guarantees of protection against hurricane damage simply due to the unpredictability of hurricanes and their ability to cause widespread, devastating destruction. However, the wind and hail resistance ratings of the Tesla Solar Roof show that it is capable of withstanding more extreme weather than regular solar panels.
How Durable are Tesla Roof Tiles?
While there is some skepticism about how well Tesla Roofs hold up when exposed to harsh weather, the company stands by the strength of its product. Although Tesla Roof tiles are made of glass, they are designed to withstand all types of weather. Compared to regular roof tiles (not solar panels), Tesla Roof tiles are three times as strong.
To prove it, Tesla offers a 25-year tile, power, and weatherization warranty on its solar roofs.
How Long Do Tesla Roofs Last?
Because the Tesla Solar Roof only became available in 2016, their overall average lifespan is still unknown. Whether or not a Tesla Roof will last as long as traditional solar panels, or traditional roof tiles, which both have an average useful life of about 25 years, remains to be seen. However, they are backed by Tesla’s warranty for 25-years so you’d be protected either way.
Are Tesla Roofs Covered by Home Insurance?
Some customers have reported difficulties finding an insurance company that is willing to cover their Tesla Solar Roof. Others saw their yearly insurance cost increase with Tesla Roof coverage. The best way to determine if your current home insurance provider will cover a Tesla Solar Roof and how much it will cost is to contact your agent.
The 25-year warranty provided by Tesla does offer some protection for solar roof owners, as well. It covers the glass tiles, output capability of the solar tiles, and weatherization (water leaks or other weather intrusions resulting from the installation process), according to the Tesla website.
Does Anyone Have a Tesla Roof?
In the early versions of the Tesla Solar Roof, stories of excessively long wait times were common, and many people expressed frustration or gave up on the idea of actually getting a Tesla Roof. With so few installations in the first three years after officially becoming available, some speculated whether Tesla Roofs would ever take off.
Excessive wait times, limited availability, and high costs were some of the main issues addressed in the third version of the Tesla Solar Roof. However, more recently, installations have increased significantly, and it seems that Tesla Solar Roofs, and the install process, are becoming more streamlined.
How Many Tesla Roofs Have Been Installed?
According to the Tesla website, over 400,000 solar roofs have been installed. It’s not clear if this number is referring to solar panels on roofs as well, or solely solar roofs. So far, there is no other source that confirms this number, but the increase in net income and profit margins reported by the company suggests that Tesla Solar Roof installations really have increased at a fairly quick pace.
Many people that have had a Tesla Solar Roof installed have taken pictures, videos, or otherwise documented the process and results, which can be viewed online. Despite concerns and warnings of critics, the response and feedback from those who have invested in and installed Tesla Solar Roofs have been mostly positive.
How Long is the Wait for a Tesla Roof?
In late spring of 2020, Tesla began canceling orders and refunding deposits placed by customers in areas that are not covered by the company. Many people criticized this move by Tesla, with good reason – customers that had been on a waitlist for months or even years were informed via email that they would not, in fact, be getting a Tesla Roof.
While Tesla has improved the installation speed and availability for its newest solar roofs, many customers are still reporting long wait times after placing a Tesla Solar Roof order. Currently, their availability in the US is still somewhat uncertain, and the wait time for Tesla Roofs remains largely unknown.
There are many factors that play into this on a case-by-case basis. Where you are located is the largest determining factor. Tesla has its own team of installers in many locations, but other locations beyond their reach rely on Authorized Installers.
Tesla has a strict policy on making sure their Authorized Installers are high-quality. Tesla has no issue taking extra time to get your Solar Roof installed if it means making sure they have an Authorized Installer vetted and properly trained, or a Tesla Installation team of their own, in your area.
Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?
Tesla solar panels are already the lowest price solar panels on the market, but are there any other ways to save money when ordering?
In short, the only way to get a discount on Tesla solar panels is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering your Tesla solar panels.
Tesla has did this same “referral program” concept with it’s vehicles and essentially it allows new customers to get a discount on their purchase by using an existing customers personal referral link.
In regards to Tesla solar discounts, using a Tesla referral link when ordering will save you $300 off solar panels or $500 off solar roof.
The referral discounts are typically only available for a limited time before Tesla stops offering the discount, so take advantage of the savings while you can.
Tesla Solar Roof vs Tesla Solar Panels: Which is Better?
If you are considering investing in solar energy for your home and are unsure of what the best option is, there are several factors to consider, particularly when choosing between a Tesla Solar Roof or traditional Tesla Solar Panels. Ultimately, the best choice will likely depend on your budget, location, needs, and preferences.
Let’s take a look at how Tesla Roofs compare to traditional solar panels in terms of cost, availability, installation time, and weather resistance.
In the past, one of the biggest concerns about the Tesla Solar Roof was its total cost. With the newest Tesla Solar Roof, a steep price cut was included, making the cost of Tesla Solar Roofs much more competitive.
The cost per watt of solar is actually exactly the same between Solar Roof and Solar Panels: $2.10 per watt.
However, the Solar Roof is an entirely new roof, so you have non-solar roof tiles, and the removal of your old roof, and installation of your new roof, to factor in. These add up to a more expensive total cost.
Tesla Solar Panels on the other hand, leave your existing roof intact, and just simply mount the solar panels on top. The install process is much simpler.
With that said, if you are in the market for an entirely new roof, and solar power, then the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof may actually save you money because it’s a 2-in-1 deal.
Tesla Solar Roofs differ from solar panels in that they literally replace the entire roof of a home rather than being installed on top of an existing roof. Because of this, investing in a Tesla Solar Roof will require a considerable amount of money and time.
There are several different companies that sell and install traditional solar panels, making them more readily available than Tesla Roofs. While Tesla has increased the availability of its solar roofs, it is still somewhat limited compared to solar panels.
The time it takes once an order is placed for a Tesla Solar Roof to be designed, installed, and inspected before it is finally ready to be used can take several months.
Installation of the roof itself usually takes less than two weeks, though the time it takes for installation to start after ordering can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.
After installation, your Tesla Roof will need to be inspected and then approved by your utility provider before it can be used.
Tesla Solar Panels, on the other hand, can usually be installed in an afternoon, however they still have the potential to take several weeks or months to be designed and inspected.
Again, the difference here is because a Tesla Roof replaces an entire roof, which is more involved of a process.
The Tesla Solar Roof has proven to be slightly stronger and more durable than traditional solar panels.
Compared to solar panels, Tesla Roof tiles are rated to withstand larger-sized hail, stronger winds, and have more fire resistance. If you live in an area where harsh weather is common, this is something you will want to consider.
By no means are Tesla Solar Panels low-performers when it comes to weather resistance, the Solar Roof is just even more capable.
How Does Tesla Solar Roof Affect Home Value?
One concern of potential solar panel or roof customers is how the value of their home will be affected by a solar system. Research has shown that, rather than negatively impacting home value, solar panel systems, and Tesla Solar Roofs, increased the value of homes where they were installed.
In 2019, before the crazy real estate market, homes with solar panel systems sold for an average of about 4% more than homes without solar energy.
Do You Have to Buy a Powerwall With a Tesla Solar Roof?
Tesla Powerwalls, which are batteries that store energy generated by the Tesla Solar Roof tiles are not required to install a Tesla Roof. However, they are necessary for providing power in cases of grid outages.
Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall owners have reported being able to use energy from the Powerwall batteries even when the grid is out, which can be very helpful, especially for those in areas where hurricanes are common. A Tesla Powerwall makes for a good source of backup energy, especially if access to fuel for generators is not available.
The cost of one Tesla Powerwall is not exactly cheap, though, and just one Powerwall battery will likely only be able to power your house for 1 day off-grid. With installation, a Tesla Powerwall costs about $10,500, which will add to the total cost of a Tesla Solar Roof. You can however choose to “stack” up to 10 Powerwalls together to extend your off-grid capabilities. The second, and more, Powerwall only cost $6,500 installed.
That being said, the Powerwall is one of the best solar batteries currently available, and can be used with both the Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Solar Panels.
Is a Tesla Roof Worth It?
Whether or not a Tesla Solar Roof is worth investing in is largely a matter of personal opinion, and needs. They have some significant advantages over traditional solar panels, but they also have some considerable disadvantages.
Other than limited availability and long wait times, the solar tiles on Tesla Roofs are less efficient than some traditional solar panels. The efficiency of Tesla Roof tiles was improved in the newest option, but they are still below-average when compared to the efficiency of traditional solar panels.
The amount of money you can save on electric bills with a Tesla Roof is potentially significant, and those who do have Tesla Solar Roofs have reported significant savings on energy costs thanks to the energy generated by the solar tiles. Tesla Powerwalls also increase the amount that can be saved on energy costs.
The Tesla website makes some big claims about the ability of a Tesla Solar Roof to pay for itself over time, though many are skeptical.
For one Tesla Roof owner, the amount paid out of pocket for energy costs in the first year of owning a Tesla Roof was roughly $80 – thousands of dollars in savings from previous energy costs.
Choosing Between a Tesla Roof and Solar Panels
If you are unsure of whether a Tesla Solar Roof or a traditional Tesla Solar Panel system is the best option for you, there are some general factors to consider.
Tesla Solar Roof is a good option if:
- Your existing roof is in need of replacement
- You prefer the sleek, attractive appearance of the Tesla Roof to traditional solar panels that are mounted on a roof
- You live in an area with harsh weather
- Cost and waiting time are not your main concerns
- You live in an area with access to Tesla Roof installers
A traditional Tesla Solar Panel system is a good choice if:
- You don’t want to replace your entire roof
- You are looking for a less expensive solar energy option
- You want solar panels installed quickly
- You prefer higher-efficiency solar panels
- You want the security of a more widely-used, available, and tested product
Ultimately, if you are looking for the quickest, most hassle-free solar energy option for your home, your best bet is to go with traditional solar panels. Tesla Roofs are an impressive, attractive, and durable product, but there is still plenty of room for improvement in terms of availability and customer service with Tesla Solar Roofs.
Up until recently, the outlook for Tesla Solar Roofs was questionable at best. With the newest Tesla Solar Roof version came improvements, updates, price cuts, and increased availability, and the company seems determined to make their solar roofs competitive and even preferable to traditional solar panels.
The durability and strength of the Tesla Solar Roof is impressive, and Tesla Roof tiles are rated higher than traditional solar panels in weather and fire resistance. Currently, some of the biggest complaints about Tesla Solar Roofs are their limited availability and unclear wait times. A Tesla Solar Roof is rated to handle a hurricane up to Category 5, whereas traditional Tesla Solar Panels are rated to up to Category 4.