This Is How Tesla Solar Roof Works

This Is How Tesla Solar Roof Works

When Tesla first announced its intention to offer solar roofing, many scoffed. Tesla is well known for its electric vehicles, so branching into solar roofing seems askew from their wheelhouse. However, nowadays, there is a viable product on the market for the homeowner to consider. Before one rushes to install a solar roofing system, they may ask: How does the Tesla Solar Roof work?

Using a combination of active solar panels and inactive shingles, the Tesla solar roof provides homes with solar energy without detracting from curb appeal. Connected to an integrated powerwall, your solar panels create and draw in power for your home, while your inactive shingles offer durable protection from wind, hail, rain, and leaks.

As with any roofing installation, there are many parts to your roof that play a role in its effectiveness. The Tesla solar roof is no exception! Knowing how each of these parts is installed and works to provide you with protection and power can help you understand why this is such a significant leap in solar roofing technology. Keep reading for more.  

How Tesla Solar Roof Works

Naturally, something as complex as Tesla’s solar roof is full of complex technology and moving parts. Up next, we’ll detail how all of these components work together as one of the most innovative pieces of solar power tech for real-life homeowners.

Alternating Tiles

With your standard solar roofing system, it is hard not to notice which homes have elected to go off the grid. Big, chunky panels lay atop the roofing materials like a big bat signal of eco-friendliness.

The drawback to this? It adds weight to your roofing structure and allows for gaps in protection from the elements. After all, a homeowner can’t see the state of the materials under the panel.

Tesla has set out to circumvent this by using an alternating tile method of installation. Active shingles contain your solar panels or cells, while inactive ones act as a standard roofing material. Shingles are made with tempered glass, which is nearly three times more durable than some traditional roofing materials.

On top of that, they have designed these tiles to look like high-quality roofing, so it does not detract from the beauty of your home. You can choose from four different roofing material looks to give your house a classy looking roof with a job. Because these roofing systems can look like slate, Tuscan tile, smooth or textured, you really have the option of choice.


Solar panels absorb the energy to turn it into power, but there is a step between absorption and actual home energy! That is the conversion process. This takes the energy and makes it a usable DC that runs through your home, powering the lights, fridge, and everything within. That is what the Solar Inverter is for.

When designing your roof for installation, Tesla considers the amount of shading around your property, your roof’s size, and power requirements to select and install the best inverter for your home’s needs.

These solar inverters are designed to take solar energy and convert it with less energy loss than your average system. This means you can power your home and not worry about losing out on energy.

The Integrated Powerwall

With regular electricity, there is always the concern about if the power will go out. Solar energy can bypass this as you rely on the sun to keep your home humming while others’ energy is down. However, what about when the sun is not coming out? What if your area is hit with long periods of heavy cloudy days?

The integrated powerwall helps increase your independence! It acts as a storage as well as a backup generator. During the day, your powerwall will store energy built up from the sun and then use it to power your home at night. It can even connect to storm watch to anticipate needing to switch on, keeping your lights on while the storms roll in and away.

Tesla Solar Gateway and the App

With solar, it can be a bit unnerving to wonder if you have enough power stored for your daily use. Tesla takes the guesswork away from solar roofs with their Solar Gateway and Mobile App. These systems connect with your powerwall to get readouts of energy absorption and consumption as you and your housemates go about your day.

With this information, energy use is completely under your control. You can even adjust your daily energy to make room for times you know there will be a spike. Examples of such may be on the weekends when all of the family is home.

Simply open your app and communicate to your powerwall. You can set specific modes also to help you break away from the grid and use your solar energy well.

ModesWhen to Use
Self-PoweredTo minimize your carbon footprint and become more energy independent. Only available when paired with solar.
Backup-OnlyTo maximize protection during an outage.
Time-Based ControlIf your energy price varies throughout the day, lower your energy bill.

Courtesy of Tesla

How Efficient is Tesla Solar Roof?

A full roof replacement to a Tesla Solar Roof is a considerable undertaking. Not only do you have to get the right amount of solar cells installed to get your home ready, but you have to have a full replacement!

The big question on a homeowner’s mind will be, “Will this even provide enough power or be efficient enough for my home?” notes the average solar paneling installation, while possibly less expensive, only boasts an efficiency rating of 15 to 20%. Some systems may even reach 42% efficiency under perfect conditions such as minimal shading, quality light days, placement, and maintenance. While better, it does not exactly seem to balance the high cost.

A Tesla Solar Roof, on the other hand, is a system constructed to give you optimum efficiency to get your home powered by the sun alone. These tempered glass tiles, along with the solar inverter, were created to minimize power loss and convert solar energy to power your home. They offer a 97.5% efficiency rate of conversion and power!

How Do Tesla Solar Roofs Compare with Traditional Solar Panels?

Solar energy is not exactly the newest idea. There have been plenty of solar power options available on the market, such as the classic solar panel system. Tesla is the new kid in the solar energy market; it is important that they stand out from the crowd. How does a Tesla Solar Roof, a relatively more contemporary option, stack up to these older systems?

When it comes to cost, you might be biting your nails. Many federal programs offer incentives to lower the cost of going solar, but even then, it can get costly. Using an example of a 1200 square foot, one-story home, panels can cost anywhere from $9,590 to $14,386 after incentives. Tesla, on the other hand, is quoted as $18,912 for the same house!

Where you get more for your cost is in the system size. With panels, such a high price can afford you a 6.5-kilowatt system, whereas Tesla can give you a 7.3-kilowatt system. Remember, panels are still bulky, whereas the Tesla Solar Roof is styled to look like a standard roof. This cost also comes with backup power walls for continuous power. Not so with solar panels!

Finally, they tie with the annual production of energy. A solar panel system for a 1200 square foot home estimates that it can provide a home with 9,230 kWh or kilowatt-hour. Tesla leads ahead slightly, generating 9,969 kWh. It also comes with a 25-year performance warranty to keep your home powered for its lifetime.

Tesla Solar Roof Benefits

Making the decision on the Tesla Solar Roof can be easy once you know the benefits. When Tesla set out to create a new option in the solar market, they did not just stop with “Does it work?” They went above and beyond to create a roofing system that homeowners can rely on and get complimented on.

No Panel Bulkiness

Yes, it’s true that solar homes are more appealing to home buyers when the time comes to sell. As more and more people look to more eco-friendly options, a home with solar paneling is a great way to take that step towards going off the grid and making an effort to reduce carbon footprint.

At the same time, traditional solar paneling can be unsightly. The big bulky nature of panels mounted over top roofing materials is not the prettiest setup, no matter what intentions they may say to the world. They are hard to ignore once installed on one side of the roof and can get a few glances.

Tesla Solar Roofing is bulk-free. This system looks like a standard roofing system, but one made of premium materials. The tempered glass solar panel tiles blend with the inactive tiles, making it hard to tell which are your solar relays and which is just classy roofing. Many homeowners with Tesla Solar Roofs get positive feedback on the appearance of their roof.

Beautiful Roof Aesthetic

Everyone likes options. You need a roof you can rely upon, as well as quality solar energy for your home’s power needs. Tesla created its solar roof with the homeowner in mind. When you choose a Tesla Solar Roof, you can choose from four kinds of tiles: smooth tiles textured tiles, slate styled, or even Tuscan solar tiles.

All of these looks are based on high-value premium roofing materials that draw the eye and look elegant on a home. You can select the tile type which best suits your home’s style and appearance, never taking away from its natural beauty.

When you go to sell your house later down the line, you can surprise your potential buyer by saying, “No, it is not just a slate look roof; it is also solar.”

Durable Design

Any homeowner will tell you: the biggest concern for roofing systems is the weather and impact. The last thing you want is to spend money on a solar roof for a hail storm to take out the panels. Luckily, Tesla took this into account when designing their solar roof and chose tempered glass tiling, which is three times more durable than a standard roofing option.

When you choose a Tesla Solar Roof, you can rest easy when any storm hits. They are rated for hail, fire, and wind, covering all your bases. They work even when snow and ice hit and have a weatherization warranty of 25 years or the lifetime of the roof. What exactly does all this mean for you?

Their hail rating covers hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter, or golf ball sized. If a wind storm kicks up, these tiles remain strong up to 166 miles per hour. Their fire rating is no slouch either, as they maintain an A UL 790 rating, the best fire rating available.

Independence from The Grid

The whole reason you go solar is to break away from the grid, right? Well, Tesla Solar Roofing does just that in spades. With standard panel systems, a homeowner may think they are going 100% solar, but without a backup of some kind, they find they need to supplement their energy consumption.

Worse yet, when a storm rolls in and does not leave, if there is no backup source, the home can go without power. Tesla Solar Roofs come with Powerwall installation. Powerwall is a storage device for solar energy built up and a smart device as well. It connects with a storm watch to help predict when backup power will be needed.

You also get ultimate control on how your power is used through Powerwall and the Mobile App utilization. With many solar companies, you cannot monitor your use as easily. Powerwall allows you to select modes to ensure your home does not consume more than it needs and always has power during the high use times.

Tesla Solar Roof Warranty

With any system you buy for your home, you expect a quality warranty. After all, you need someone to back up your system and keep it at its best. Unfortunately, some systems come with lousy warranties that leave your system without help and even in need of replacement. This can lead to a very costly service fee and make you regret your purchase.

Tesla offers full support for its systems, with nationwide, local representatives that are ready when you need them most. From installation through the lifetime of your Tesla Solar Roof, you can rely on them for quality service to keep your system running at its best. Their top warranties include:

  • 25 Year Panel Performance
  • 10 Year Comprehensive

25 Year Panel Warranty

25 years sounds like a long time, and that is because it is. Most roofing systems have an expected lifetime of use. Many homeowners may hear lifetime warranty and think they mean the homeowners lifetime when, in fact, it is the materials lifetime. The solar tiles Tesla provides are expected to function for 25 years, and they offer coverage for this time period.

The expectation is that the solar tiles will work to at minimum 80% of their capacity for their lifetime and is guaranteed as such by the manufacturer. If ever there is an issue or you need a service request, Tesla is there for you. They process the claim you put in and then service your system, performing any labor at their own cost!

10 Year Comprehensive Warranty

The Tesla Solar Roof is made up of many moving parts. The 10 Year Comprehensive Warranty is enacted for the solar inverter, powerwall, and any roof mounting that is present. It even covers roof leaks, which can be seriously damaging to a home’s internal structure and the property therein.

Just like with the 25-year warranty, they will file your claim and do the labor of the service at their cost. For roof leaks alone, this can be a great thing, especially after a huge storm. There may be some more information, so check your user manual and any documentation you may have with your system before you file.

Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar Roof?

Tesla solar is already the lowest cost-per-watt solar 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 products is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering.

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

Going Solar with Tesla

While it may be costly, Tesla Solar Roof systems can provide homeowners with quality solar power without the drawbacks of paneled systems. Its sleek design creates additional curb appeal that will turn heads in a good way and increase your home value. On top of that, you can break away from the grid with no worries.

The solar inverter and powerwall provide your home with continuous power, day or night, rain or shine. You will not have to rely on an electrical company backup power. These smart-systems simply check the forecast for you and plan ahead, so you don’t even have to flip any switches. This can make power consumption and daily activities very simple.

To get started with Tesla, all you have to do is go to their website and get an estimate today. Simply putting in your home’s information will let them give you an estimate, including the powerwall and what your solar expectations could be. Make your solar dream a reality and get off the grid!

Solar Discounts:


The articles here on 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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