Tesla Roof or Solar Panels – Which Is Best?

Tesla Roof or Solar Panels

As solar energy becomes more prominent for consumers and businesses alike, it is fair to wonder whether traditional solar panels or the Tesla Solar Roof is the way to go. As solar energy demand increases, you will continue to see more competition. However, for now, the focus is on what most believe to be the two best options for solar energy.

If you are searching for design and look, the Tesla Solar Roof is the choice for you. Aesthetics are a big selling point for Tesla’s Solar Roof. However, if you are concerned more with price and efficiency than you are with the look, traditional solar panels are your best option.

Like with most things, the decision comes down to what the consumer prioritizes. This article will compare traditional solar panels to the Tesla Solar Roof by dissecting the benefits and disadvantages of each. Read on to find all there is to know about each option, including things such as price, design, and the overall convenience of each.

Pros of the Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla is known not only for its innovative products but for the sleek designs that go along with them. Although the initial rollout for the Tesla Roof was slow, it will not be long before they are making a bigger splash in the solar energy market. Take a look at some of the reasons why below:

  • Design
  • Durability
  • Warranty

The most apparent advantage of the Tesla Roof is its sleek design. One of the more frequent complaints about traditional solar panels is how they look scattered across a roof. The Tesla Solar Roof eliminates the look of spotty panels by making the entire roof one large solar panel base that looks similar to a normal roof.

Your standard roof tiles are susceptible to damage than the Tesla Solar Roof is. Tesla uses tempered glass to make their roofs as durable and strong as possible. Tesla’s roof tiles are about three times stronger than standard roofing tiles and are designed to survive under any weather conditions.

Tesla offers an infinite warranty or the equivalent of the lifetime of your home for its roofs. They stand behind the durability of their product, but if something goes wrong and the tiles begin to fail, their warranty guarantees no stress when it comes to replacing your tiles.

Cons of the Tesla Solar Roof

As innovative and hassle-free as the Tesla Solar Roof may sound, it does not come without its fair share of downsides. In fact, there are times when it can be a downright poor decision since it was designed as a solar power system within a full roof. For instance, what if you do not need an entirely new roof?

If you are curious why Tesla Solar Roofs are not dominating the solar energy market, take a look at some of the factors that may be holding it back.

Cost and Maintenance

When it comes to making the best decision for your home, the cost is often king. The convenience of the Tesla Solar Roof serving as your home’s natural roof also means it will cost you a bit more. Unlike traditional solar panels, with the Tesla Solar Roof, you are paying for solar panels and an entirely new roof, which will raise the price.

You would assume that if you are paying more for the Tesla Solar Roof, you would be getting a better product, but that is not necessarily the case. On average, homeowners will end up paying nearly $25,000 more for the Solar Roof than for traditional panels. Despite the higher price tag, they will only get about 77 percent as much solar energy.

However, Tesla does offer several financing options depending on your credit. There are also options available to finance through a second mortgage, personal loan, or a home equity line of credit.

Additionally, with the Tesla Solar Roof being a relatively new product, there are many unknown variables when it comes to roof maintenance. Sure, you have an infinite warranty on your tiles, but in the case of something as minor as a roof leak, it is unknown whether a normal repairman could successfully perform repairs.

Tesla Solar Roof Summarized

Before getting into the pros and cons of traditional solar panels, a quick summary about the potential of Tesla’s Solar Roof is in order.

Aesthetic appealHigh cost
Dependable durabilityUnknown maintenance
“Infinite” warrantyLack of return on investment potential

The main thing to take away is that, with the Tesla Solar Roof, you are paying more for the luxury than the overall production value. You are paying more for the aesthetic. You are also taking a risk on potential maintenance costs and whether the product will produce less energy than traditional solar panels.

Pros of Traditional Solar Panels

Traditional solar panels are the small tiles you see scattered around in bunches across roofs. They may not always look pretty, but they get the job done in a cost-efficient manner. More often than not, if someone is speaking about solar energy, they are referring to energy produced using this type of solar power system.

Just like the solar roof, solar panels have both pros and cons. In many ways, they mirror Tesla’s Solar Roof, meaning there are distinct reasons to choose one over the other. Start learning about solar panels by looking at their advantages.


The greatest benefit to traditional solar panels is the biggest downfall of the Tesla Solar Roof: the price. The cost of traditional solar panels varies based on a few things, such as:

  • How many panels you choose to install
  • The overall square footage of your roof

The option to choose how many panels you want rather than having to use the entire roof is already an advantage.

If you were to add solar panels to every tile of your roof, however, you are still likely to pay less than you would for a complete installation of a Tesla Solar Roof. For example, if you took a 3,000-square-foot home, the average price for a Tesla Solar Roof would be around $50,000, a fortune compared to the $25,000 you would spend on solar panels.


Unlike the Tesla Solar Roof, if one of your solar panels is damaged, you will not need to completely repair that part of your roof. Traditional panels offer the convenience to simply replace a damaged or broken tile with a brand new one. Your only concern would be to make sure you have a roof that can support your solar panels in harsh conditions.

Since solar panels are installed individually, removing and repairing any damaged solar panels is far easier and faster than with the Solar Roof.

Cons of Traditional Solar Panels

Just as most of the pros of traditional panels were the cons of the Tesla Roof, you will notice that the cons of traditional panels are the pros of its adversary. In time, both options will continue to improve their products to more efficiently produce solar energy, but for now, take a deeper look at the cons of solar panel tiles.

  • Design and Aesthetic
  • Durability

Despite the potential savings, many homeowners are not willing to compromise the look of their homes just to produce solar energy. Solar panels are typically layered above roof tiles and can create an uneven look on a home’s roof. No matter what, solar panels will create an obvious stack above your roof tiles.

Although maintenance may be easier on solar panels, the durability of solar panels is still in question. Sure, if one panel is damaged, you can replace it with a new one. But if you have to replace panels often, eventually, it will begin to cost you more money than you may have anticipated.

Moreover, the warranty on solar panels is far less impressive than the warranty that comes with the Solar Roof, which lasts a whopping 25 years.

Traditional Solar Panels Summarized

The choice once again comes down to what a homeowner prioritizes more. If you are looking for efficient energy at a reasonable cost, you are better off going with solar panel tiles over the Tesla Solar Roof. Below is a quick summary of the pros and cons of solar panels.

Cost-efficientDesign and aesthetic
Convenient maintenanceDurability
Return on investmentWarranty
More solar energy 

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 panel discount

Are There Other Options?

Tesla Solar Roofs and traditional solar panel tiles are only two of an array of options for solar panel roofs. Although these are the two that get the most buzz, you should also be aware of some other options to consider:

  • CertainTeed Apollo II: A system that makes it possible to buy sleek roof tiles with a power rating of up to 60 watts through an installer. This product has been around for five years.
  • Luma Solar: A company that has been doing solar installations for years and has solar roofs in over 20 states, with some in the Caribbean and Canada. Its shingle design allows for a 21 percent solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency.
  • Sunflare: A relatively new company that is following the combined active and inactive Solar Roof design.

It is important to note that the trend going forward seems to be the use of tiles, not panels. Moreover, those produced by Tesla have a definite advantage in terms of efficiency and appeal. None of the other options give even close to the same performance-aesthetic balance.

The Future of Solar Panel Development

The tech companies mentioned above are only a few of the many getting involved in solar panel development. Eventually, you will see companies develop solar panels for niche markets such as Sunflare is doing within rural areas for factories and warehouses. The right choice for each consumer is out there. All it takes is a little research.

The battle between the Tesla Roof and traditional solar panels will continue to ask new questions and create new innovations as the demand for solar energy continues to increase around the world. Consumers will be happy to see a plethora of options to choose from in the coming years.

Choosing between the Tesla Roof or traditional panels will come down to the necessities and wants of the consumer. And though each company will be looking for your attention, transitioning towards solar energy is a victory within itself.

After a thorough breakdown of the Tesla Roof versus traditional solar panels, you should have a better idea of what is best suited for you. If you are still hesitant about the benefits of investing in solar energy in general, read on to understand why it may be time to ditch traditional electricity and switch over to solar.

Benefits of Solar Energy

You have probably heard all about solar energy and the transition that companies and homeowners are making towards it. It is okay to be skeptical at first, especially if you are someone who has been so accustomed to using traditional electricity to power your home.

What you may not know, however, is that you are missing out on saving a ton of money on electricity bills and on helping the environment around you as well. Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider the switch to solar energy today!

Save Money

Money is everything, so why not save as much of it as you can? A study by the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that, by 2030, an average monthly electricity bill for a typical New York home will reach up to as high as $350 a month. However, the same household with installed solar panels will pay about $260 a month for their monthly bill.

While this may seem like a no-brainer investment, there are variables to the amount of money you will save using solar panels. Factors such as your home’s energy consumption, local electric rate, energy production from your solar installation, local weather, and temperature can also play a role.

In the right scenario with the right usage and energy production, solar panels can help almost eliminate your electric bill every month. This will, in turn, save you a lot of money you can use on other necessities.

Environmentally Friendliness

Solar power installations use the sun to distribute energy. Installing a solar system will immediately reduce your community’s dependence on fossil fuels and help in the battle against greenhouse gas emissions. Traditional electricity is mainly derived from burning fossil fuels like natural gas and coal.

  • This contributes to air pollution and climate change
  • Fossil fuels are a limited resource
  • Prices for these resources can alter drastically

Solar energy gives consumers the option to improve their spending habits and their living habits. The solar energy your home produces helps your home and the homes around you. If a day were to come where everyone switched to solar energy, the environment would be better for it.

Earn Rebates and Tax Credits

Did you know that some electric companies will actually pay you for the energy you have stored each month? Along with that, once you file your taxes, you will be eligible to receive 30 percent of your total system costs back in the form of a federal income tax credit.

If you spend, for example, $25,000, you will receive about $7,500 back on total costs, bringing your actual system and installation cost down to about $17,500. Add this to the potential earnings you will get from electric companies for your stored energy, and you will see a solid return on investment.

These are just some of the benefits of switching over to solar energy. The biggest hurdle to cross is the initial cost, but if you are willing to invest in the long-term, you will be better off for it. Consider talking to an expert in your region on how much you can earn and save by switching to solar energy as soon as possible.

Benefits of Solar Energy Summarized

Below is a quick summary of the benefits of solar energy.

  • You will save money on electricity bills
  • It is environmentally friendly
  • You can earn rebates and tax credits
  • There is massive potential for a return on your investment

Still, there may be some of the things you consider disadvantageous about switching to solar energy. You will want to consider these factors, as well, before making the switch.

Initial Disadvantages of Switching Solar Energy

This section is not meant to deter you from switching to solar energy. Rather, it is to give you all of the information so you are aware of any potential hassles you may face when making the switch. So, take a look at some of the cons below.

Solar Panels Do Not Work on Every Roof

If you are choosing to invest in traditional solar panels rather than the Tesla Solar Roof, you may run into issues if you live in historical homes with cedar or slate tiles. The reason for this is because solar panels are installed using a connecting mounting system that cedar and slate tiles have difficulty with.

If you live in an apartment building, you may also run into trouble since you do not have roof access. Your specific apartment may also be blocked from potential solar energy consumption based on its location within the building.

Luckily, there are ways around these potential issues:

  • You can invest in community solar gardens
  • Invest in ground-mounted solar tiles that produce energy from your floor

Not Convenient If You Plan to Move

Breaking even on your solar panel investment can take upwards of seven-and-a-half years. If you are a new property owner, you will want to install a solar system sooner rather than later so that you can get the most out of your solar panels and make your investment worth it.

If you own the property and are planning to move, your solar panels will not completely go to waste as they will drive up the property value, and you will be able to sell your home at a better price than what you originally purchased it for.

Still, it is best to install solar panels or a Solar Roof when you plan to live in the same home for at least 10 years.

The Unreliability of Natural Variables

Solar energy is produced using natural elements, and, like most things in nature, you will not have complete control over its outcomes. A few of the factors that may work against your potential solar energy consumption include:

  • Region
  • Temperature
  • Rainfall
  • Shade

These, among other factors, will limit the potential of your solar system. Someone in Florida with a 3,000 square-foot home may get more out of their solar panels than someone in a city like Seattle with the same sized home, solely due to the year-round elements and sun exposure.

For these reasons, it is recommended that you speak to a local solar energy expert to get the best idea of what to expect from your region and whether investing in solar energy is smart for you.

If You Do Not Use Much Energy at Home

The amount you pay on electricity is oftentimes dependent on the region you live in. If your main reason for investing in solar energy is to save on electric bill costs, you should consider where you live first. Some states, like Louisiana, charge significantly less for electricity than a location like New York or Hawaii.

Furthermore, if you travel often and do not use a lot of electricity at home, you may also find a hard time ever breaking even on your solar energy investment. The amount you save using solar energy is entirely dependent on variables such as usage, location, and natural elements. This may scare consumers who are looking for more concrete data.

Initial Cost

Although in the comparison of the Tesla Roof versus traditional solar panels, it was clear that solar panels were much more cost-efficient, that does not mean they are generally affordable. The initial cost of solar panels, including installation, can be an intimidating and prohibitive factor for many people.

Lots of solar systems offer financing options, and you should check to see what loans you qualify for. The process is similar to that of buying a car. It may depend on your credit, and financial situation whether investing in solar energy is the right call for you at any given time.

Solar Energy Disadvantages Summarized

The great thing about solar energy is that all the disadvantages are generally small and easy to overcome. In the long run, solar energy will be a good investment for you, but it is up to you to value the long term over the short.

  • Solar panels are not compatible with every roof:  This is fixable by investing in other solar energy-producing products or by installing a Tesla Solar Roof.
  • Solar panels are not convenient if you are moving: They will increase the property value of your home upon resale.
  • Solar panels are subject to uncontrollable variables: Speak to a local expert about your region and how to best move forward for your solar energy needs.
  • Solar panels have a high initial cost: There are several solar financing options such as leases, power purchase agreements, and state-backed loan programs.

Solar energy is becoming more prominent every year and with the active fight against climate change, switching to solar energy is not only a step in the right direction financially but environmentally as well.

Solar Energy Initiative

A transition towards renewable energy shows that the US is finally beginning to rely less on fossil fuels.

Solar energy is becoming more accessible to the average consumer, and tech companies like Tesla that focus heavily on using solar energy and natural resources will continue to develop products to help shape the future of solar energy in the US and around the world.

If you are concerned about some of the disadvantages of either the Tesla Solar Roof or traditional solar tiles, more likely than not, more information and newer products will be released in the coming years to make your transition from electricity to solar energy much easier.

You can also consider some of the other solar energy competitors mentioned earlier in the article if you would like to have a wider variety to choose from. Expect the number of tech companies developing solar energy products to increase over the next few years as the US continues on its environmentally friendly initiative.


After reviewing the ins and outs of solar energy and the products that produce it, your question once again becomes which is best between the Tesla Solar Roof or traditional solar panels. While they both have their advantages and disadvantages, it comes down to your preference as a customer and what you prioritize more.

The Tesla Solar Roof offers a sleek and durable design. It will effortlessly keep your home looking aesthetically pleasing while producing solar energy for your home. Its high cost and low energy storage efficiency are its two biggest negatives. Traditionally solar panels can make up for those drawbacks effectively at the cost of looks and warranty.

Solar Discounts:


The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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