When people think of Tesla, their first thoughts are most likely of Elon Musk, the company’s billionaire owner. Or, they think of the cars Tesla produces. The cars run clean and quiet, while some are even capable of being driven from an app on your phone. Tesla is about to be known for something else on the market, their solar equipment.
Currently, Tesla offers two solar panel options for your home. You can purchase a Solar Roof, which replaces your current roof with Tesla-made solar panels. Or, you can buy the more traditional solar panels to place on your current roof. Keep reading for a guide on everything you need to know before purchasing solar equipment through Tesla.
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Tesla’s Complete Solar Roof
If you do not like the sight of solar panels sticking up on your roof and have a little extra cash, Tesla’s Solar Roof is a sleek-looking option. Almost every tile on the roof is actually a small solar panel providing your home with energy working with the Tesla Solar Inverter. You can access the energy anytime, even during grid outages or at night.
Through the app, you are able to manage your solar system and watch your energy output. Connecting with the Powerwall battery, it is capable of providing a 5 kW continuous power draw. The battery can store up to 14 kWh of energy. But the well-designed and sleek-looking panels do all the work. Here is a bit more about them:
- Tesla offers solar and non-solar glass tiles.
- The tiles are sturdy.
- They are priced to save you money in the long term.
The Solar Roof tiles blend in seamlessly to your roof, so you get the advantage of having a great-looking roof while also gaining abundant solar energy.
Tesla’s Solar and Non-Solar Glass Tiles
Tesla tiles are made of glass, and the roof is made up of solar and non-solar tiles blended seamlessly. Either tile looks the same from the street or your yard. This is done through their construction. Each tile is made to look opaque, just like a normal roof tile.
Really, unless you are looking directly down, you should not be able to tell the difference in tiles.
On Tesla’s website, you can custom build your roof, experimenting with how many tiles you need. Roofs differ, but there is a range of how many tiles you would need. Some roofs could use up to 70 percent of solar tiles, but Elon Musk did say most roofs will only use about 40 percent of solar tiles.
There are four roof styles you can choose from:
The most popular options are the smooth and textured, while Tuscan and slate are also available.
Each Tile is Sturdy
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’s Solar Roof Pricing
On the website, Tesla states the average homeowner should expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof. The cost of the non-solar tiles is about the same as regular roofing tiles.
The upfront cost of building a Solar Roof is greater, but the offset in energy savings and the durability of the roof will save you money over a longer period of time.
Tesla’s Solar Panels for Existing Roofs
The other solar option through Tesla is solar panels for existing roofs. According to Tesla, the solar panels attached to your roof are sleeker and lower profile than other solar panels from competing companies.
- The panels have a concealed edge and an invisible grid design on the actual panel.
- This is done through an integrated design keeping the panels close to your roof.
While larger than the panels for the Solar Roof, much of the design and function are the same. They run through the Solar Inverter into the Powerwall battery system and are constructed of the same strong material as the Solar Roof panels. Plus, you have control of them through the Tesla app.
Benefits of Using Tesla Solar Panels
You can do everything you need to do for your solar panel choice on the Tesla website. The company will take care of everything once you place your order.
- Using aerial technology, they will survey your roof to find its area and slope.
- They will use that to design the best fit for your panels.
- They will even take care of any permits needed for your local jurisdiction.
Just like the Solar Roof, your Tesla solar panels come with a 25-year warranty and are accessible through the Tesla App. You can monitor your panels 24/7, giving you the opportunity to see if your panels are decreasing inefficiency. During installation, Tesla will work with your local utility to make sure you receive power on approval.
The cost calculator on the Tesla website allows you to calculate the estimated cost of installation. In 2020, Tesla cut their solar panel prices, making them one-third less expensive than the industry-wide average. One report had their system price for a small home, 4 kW, at $7,400, while a large home, 12 kW, in California, cost around $18,000.
Solar Panel Specifications
If you choose to go with the solar panels, you may like to know how big they actually are before getting them on your roof.
- Each frame is made from black anodized aluminum.
- The panel itself can withstand heat up to 185 degrees F or negative 40 F.
- Each panel weighs almost 50 pounds and has a wattage of 340 watts.
Tesla will make sure your house is installed with optimal panel design for your house construction, but generally, panels are placed on the portion of the house with a southern view. The panels are 68.5 inches x 40.6 inches x 1.57 inches. During the design process, Tesla ensures your panels will fit your roof properly.
How Much Energy Do You Use?
When buying solar equipment, an important factor you need to look into is how much energy you will use. Your 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. There are several factors to consider.
Are you single? Clearly, one person living in a house will use less energy than more. If you are not single, do you plan on having children, do you already have kids, and what age are they? More frequent and longer showers will run the hot water heater. There are any number of questions you need to answer to determine possible energy consumption.
How energy efficient is your home already? There are several companies out helping improve the efficiency of your home. You should consider your energy needs if you have done any of the following in your home.
- Recently weatherproofed your attic by installing insulation
- Upgraded your heating and cooling systems
- Upgraded your appliances to more energy-efficient models
There are many factors to consider when looking at your current energy use. One that may not get a lot of thought is, do you own electric cars, or will you soon? Depending on the make and model of your electric car or cars, where you charge those cars, and how much you drive, you could be using a large amount of charging energy at home.