Tesla Solar Roof Explained – How Much Does a Tesla Solar Roof Cost?

Tesla is currently installing about 200 Solar Roofs per week across the United States. 

Featuring photovoltaic ‘shingles’, The Tesla Solar Roof could transform the way we think about solar energy. But how much does a Tesla Solar roof cost? What is a Tesla Solar Roof?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about Tesla’s Solar Roof, how it works, and whether or not it’s worth it.

What Is a Tesla Solar Roof?

Tesla’s Solar Roof is a new solar-powered roof system. The Solar Roof is more than just a series of solar panels on your roof: it’s an all-in-one solar and storage system designed to complement your home’s aesthetic features. 

The Tesla Solar Roof features a seamless design that looks great up close and from the street. While ordinary solar panels often stick out, the Tesla Solar Roof is designed to fit with the natural look of your home.

As the Tesla Solar Roof website explains, the Tesla Solar Roof is the only roof that can help pay for itself with the energy you produce. 

As of August 2021, Tesla’s in-house team of energy professionals has installed more than 3.6 GW of clean solar energy across 400,000 roofs. That’s about the equivalent of 10 million traditional solar panels.

How Does the Tesla Solar Roof Work?

Tesla has an in-house team that designs, installs, and powers on each Solar Roof. You order the Solar Roof through Tesla, and the professionals work with you to create your Solar Roof.

Here’s how the Solar Roof installation process works for most homeowners:

Step 1) Design: Tesla uses aerial imagery and 3D modeling to determine the custom design of your Solar Roof.

Step 2) Installation: Tesla’s integrated design allows for quick tile and Powerwall installation, giving you an all-in-one solar and storage system.

Step 3) Power On: Tesla completes the final cleanup, then activates your system.

The system is powered by the Tesla Solar Inverter, which is designed to make the system as safe and reliable as possible. The Tesla Solar Inverter has built-in connectivity, and Tesla continues to launch over-the-air updates to make the hardware as intelligent as possible. The goal is to generate the maximum amount of energy possible for your Solar Roof – even if you have intermittent sunlight and complicated angles.

Once your Solar Roof is installed, you monitor the roof using the Tesla app. The app lets you monitor your energy production in real-time. You can also control your system from anywhere. The Tesla app lets you set up instant alerts and remotely access multiple aspects of your Solar roof.

Tesla partners with local contractors to install Tesla Solar Roofs. When you buy a Tesla Solar Roof through Tesla, that roof may be installed by a certified Tesla Solar Roof installer in your area. 

Tesla Solar Roof Backup Protection

The Tesla Solar Roof comes with its own backup protection in the form of the Tesla Powerwall. The Powerwall is a home battery that comes with every Tesla Solar Roof purchase.

The Powerwall stores the energy you produce with your Solar Roof. As your Solar Roof generates energy throughout the day, that energy gets used by your home or stored in the Powerwall. Then, when your home needs to use power at night or during a power outage, it relies on the Powerwall. 

Tesla Solar Roof Tech Specs

Tesla’s Solar Roof comes with the following tech specs, according to Tesla.com:

  • Tile and Power Warranty: 25 years
  • Hail Protection Rating: ANSI FM 4473 Class 3
  • Wind Protection Rating: ASTM D3161 Class F
  • Fire Protection Rating: Class A (highest rating)
  • Roof Pitch: 2:12 to 12:12
  • Inverter Power: 3.8kW / 7.6kW (97.5% efficiency)

Tesla Solar Roof Controversy: What’s Next for the Solar Roof in 2021?

The Tesla Solar Roof project has faced delays, lawsuits, and criticism since announced in 2016. As of 2021, however, many of those issues have started to smooth out, and Tesla’s Solar Roof could face a brighter future. 

Elon Musk announced the Solar Roof all the way back in 2016, when the company was in the process of acquiring SolarCity. Musk was the chairman and largest shareholder for SolarCity, and his cousins effectively ran the company. Some criticized the deal for being “rife with conflicts.” Despite the criticism, the SolarCity board agreed to a $2 billion buyout from Elon Musk.

Since 2016, Musk has fired executives and involved himself personally with the project. According to Bloomberg’s Dana Hull, Musk sees the Power Roof as essential to his vision of becoming more than just a car company.

Today, Tesla continues to install Solar Roofs across the United States. However, the company has faced criticisms for its slow rollout. 

In 2019, Musk claimed Tesla would launch a new Solar Roof that would be cheaper, faster, and easier to install. He wanted Tesla to install 1,000 Solar Roofs per week, with sales continuing to “grow like kelp on steroids” over the coming months and years.

Two years later, Tesla is purportedly struggling to hit 200 installations a week. Tesla has also faced criticism for hiking the price of the Solar Roof after customers are already under contract.

The Tesla Solar Roof project has also faced lawsuits. One lawsuit was filed in federal court in Northern California on behalf of customers in several states after the company raised Solar Roof prices as high as 50% after already under contract. Another lawsuit comes from shareholders.

Controversy aside, Tesla’s Solar Roof continues to roll out across the country, and anyone can request a fast quote through Tesla.com. 

Tesla Solar Roof Versus Hail

If you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on a roof, then you need that roof to withstand hail and other physical damage. So how does the Tesla Solar Roof fare against hail?

Part of the reason Tesla delayed the rollout of the Solar Roof was to make the system as strong as possible. The ‘shingles’ are called ‘solarglass’ because the top layer is made from glass. It sounds like glass shingles would do very poorly against hail, branches, and other physical damage to your roof. However, that’s not the case.

Tesla claims their Solar Roof is “more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles.” The company has engineered the solarglass for all-weather protection. Plus, the tiles are backed by a 25-year warranty.

Of course, Tesla can make all of the claims it wants – but it doesn’t matter if the roof cannot survive a real hailstorm. In July 2021, Good Faith Energy published a video showing how the Tesla Solar Roof fared against baseball-sized hail. 

Texas experienced several serious hailstorms at the end of April that set new records in the state. One homeowner in Wichita Falls, Texas with a Tesla Solar Roof recorded the aftermath. Large hailstorms fell on the roof for 20 to 30 minutes. Most of the hailstones were the size of golf balls, but there were several hailstorms the size of baseballs. 

Concerned, the homeowner contacted a local certified Tesla Solar Roof installer. That installer inspected the roof and found no damage. Months later, the roof is producing more electricity than ever. As far as anyone can tell, the Tesla Solar Roof survived the hail storm without issue. 

How Much Does the Tesla Solar Roof Cost?

When you visit Tesla.com, you can enter your address and average utility bill into the online calculator for an instant quote. You can see approximately how much the Tesla Solar Roof will cost. 

The price of a Tesla Solar Roof varies based on the size of the system.

  • Small (4.1 kW): $10,000
  • Medium (8.2 kW): $16,000
  • Large (12.2 kW): $23,500
  • Extra Large (16.3 kW): $30,000

In other words, prices range from $2.44 per watt (Small) to $1.95 per watt (Medium), to $1.93 per watt (Large) and $1.93 per watt (Extra Large).

Tesla also recommends buying one or more Powerwalls for your Solar Roof. Each Powerwall costs around $8,000, although Solar Roof customers pay different Powerwall pricing (one estimate we received listed three Powerwalls at a price of around $16,000). 

All Tesla Solar Roofs also qualify for the federal tax credit. That federal tax credit was initially 30%, then dropped to 26% in 2020, and dropped again to 22% in 2021. By taking advantage of the federal tax credit, you can save thousands of dollars off the prices listed above.  

Don’t want to pay for your Tesla Solar Roof upfront? That’s okay! You can use Tesla’s solar subscription service to pay for your Solar Roof over time. For as little as $50 per month, you can start saving on your electricity bills immediately. Tesla will come to your house and install a Solar Roof. You pay a monthly subscription fee, although Tesla owns the system on your roof – similar to the subscription services provided by other solar panel companies. 

Final Word on The Tesla Solar Roof

The Tesla Solar Roof is a unique piece of technology that continues to roll out across the United States. By installing the Tesla Solar Roof today, you could begin to immediately save on your electricity bill.

To learn more about the Tesla Solar Roof and how the system works, visit online today at Tesla.com, where you can get a free estimate based on your address and monthly electricity bill.

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