Tesla Solar Roof Review (2023)

Pros and Cons of Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla’s solar tiles are among the top-tier options for integrating solar power into your home. However, expect to pay significantly more compared to traditional solar panel installations.

Pros:

  • High wattage per square foot
  • Robust warranty coverage
  • Aesthetically pleasing, low-profile design

Cons:

  • High cost
  • Lower resistance to wind compared to alternatives
  • Fixed positioning, lacking adjustability
  • Potential issues with customer service

While Tesla is renowned for its advancements in electric vehicles, it has also secured a place as a major player in solar energy installation within the U.S. The Tesla Solar Roof, a novel offering from the company, merges solar technology with roofing materials to create a more subtle solar presence on your home.

For those who find standard solar panels unsightly and are considering roof replacement, the Solar Roof may be a good option, albeit an expensive one. The cost of achieving equivalent solar energy output with the Solar Roof is substantially higher than the combined cost of a new roof plus standard panels.

Tesla has discontinued its press office, limiting available information to public sources. Our insights on the Tesla Solar Roof are based on publicly accessible information, as hands-on testing was not feasible.

Tesla Solar Roof on home

Benefits of Choosing Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla markets its Solar Roof as an innovative blend of functionality and style. Although it’s not the only product to integrate solar energy into building materials, Tesla’s offering is arguably the most prominent and among the most efficient in the solar roofing market.

Tesla Solar Roof transforms the concept of solar panels by integrating photovoltaic cells into roofing shingles. Opting for a Tesla Solar Roof means you’ll be installing a combination of solar-active and traditional shingles that not only generate electricity but also mimic the appearance of a conventional roof, which can be pleasing to onlookers.

However, this innovation comes with a caveat: it often necessitates the removal of your existing roof. Recently, Tesla has stated its capability to install the Solar Roof over some newer, single-layered roof structures, yet the majority will require a complete roof replacement. Additionally, Tesla requires the installation of at least one of its Powerwall batteries alongside the Solar Roof, ensuring energy storage and backup.

Coverage and Specifications of Tesla Solar Roof

CategoryDescription
Wattage per shingle71.67 W
Wattage per square foot15.3 W
Wind rating110 mph
Hail ratingClass 3
EfficiencyNot specified

Tesla’s Warranties

Tesla stands out in the solar shingle market with three extensive warranties for its Solar Roof. Customers benefit from a 25-year guarantee on the product itself, protection against weather damage for the same duration, and a performance warranty that ensures the shingles function effectively for 25 years. Tesla’s weatherization warranty is unmatched in the industry, and its performance warranty is among the most robust available.

Individual Warranty Details

CategoryYears coveredDescription
Product warranty25Provides coverage for manufacturer defects in design and material.
Weatherization warranty25Provides protection against damage from wind and rain.
Performance warranty25Tesla assures that the performance of your Solar Roof will not drop below 95% within the first five years and will not decline by more than 0.5% annually over the following 20 years.

Power Output

Each of Tesla’s solar shingles is rated for its power production, with an individual shingle capable of generating 71.67 watts under optimal conditions. The overall power your roof can produce depends on the combined wattage of these shingles.

The efficiency of solar shingles is often assessed by wattage per square foot, which indicates the energy that can be produced per unit of roof area. With Tesla’s solar shingles producing about 15.3 watts per square foot, they offer a good balance of power and space efficiency, potentially reducing the number of shingles needed and lowering overall costs.

Durability Against Wind

Tesla’s Solar Roof is rated to endure winds up to 110 mph, which, while not the highest in the solar shingle market, is still considerable. Competitors may offer higher wind resistances, some up to 200 mph. If your region is known for harsh weather, considering a solar roof product with a higher wind rating might be advisable.

Mandatory Installation of Tesla Powerwall with Solar Roof

The installation of the Tesla Solar Roof requires the addition of at least one Powerwall battery. Tesla’s lineup includes the Powerwall 2, Powerwall Plus, and the recently announced Powerwall 3, which is set to be released in 2024.

Available Powerwall Options

As of now, customers can choose between the Powerwall 2 and the Powerwall Plus. The Powerwall 2 serves as a dedicated energy storage unit, whereas the Powerwall Plus integrates an inverter, enhancing its utility for backup power. The two models share similar specifications in energy capacity, each offering 13.5 kWh of storage. The primary distinction lies in the Powerwall Plus’s superior off-grid power capability. Both units are backed by Tesla’s unlimited-cycle warranty, ensuring reliability and peace of mind.

CategoryTesla Powerwall 2Tesla Powerwall Plus
Capacity13.5 kWh13.5 kWh
How many can I stack?Up to 10 unitsUp to 10 units
Round-trip efficiency90%90%
Depth of discharge100%100%
Continuous power output (on-grid)5 kW5 kW
Continuous power output (off-grid)NA7 kW – 9.6 kW
AC- or DC-coupled?ACDC
Price$9,000 – $14,000NA

Cost Overview of Tesla Solar Roof

Cost Considerations for Tesla Solar Roof

Installing a Tesla Solar Roof is generally more expensive than conventional solar panel setups. The overall cost can vary, especially if you are already in need of a roof replacement, which is a substantial expense on its own.

Budget-Friendly Solar Alternatives

For those prioritizing cost-effectiveness in solar energy adoption, the Tesla Solar Roof might not be the optimal choice. For example, a Tesla-provided estimate for a Dallas home equipped with 12.46 kilowatts of solar capacity and a Powerwall battery amounts to $168,400. In contrast, traditional solar panels with similar capacity and a Powerwall for the same home are estimated at $26,966.

Impact of Roof Complexity on Price

The complexity of your roof, including factors like steep slopes, multiple levels, and numerous obstructions, can also escalate the price of installation.

Breakdown of a Sample Estimate

A specific estimate details $176,600 for the solar components and $29,600 for the removal of the existing roof on a large, 8,313-square-foot property. Adding optional Powerwall batteries costs an additional $10,500 each. Post-tax credits from the federal government, the price includes a rebate of $48,800. The cost without batteries equates to about $12.87 per watt, though this could be influenced by the size of the roof, as other estimates have shown lower prices.

In Illinois, estimates for a Tesla Solar Roof without batteries fluctuate between $5.72 and $6.54 per watt, contingent upon the intricacy of the roof. Similarly, in Texas, the cost is estimated to range from $6.05 to $6.77 per watt. These figures surpass the 2021 national average for residential solar installations, which was $3 per watt for an 8-kilowatt system.

Influence of Roof Size on Price

The size of the roof has a significant impact on the cost. For a smaller roof in Illinois, measuring 1,594 square feet, the projected cost after the federal tax credit is estimated by Tesla to be between $54,000 and $58,148, or $3.78 to $4.05 per watt. Although this is nearer to the conventional solar panel costs, it remains higher, with Tesla’s solar panels estimated at $2.54 per watt after tax credit.

Maintenance and Regulatory Considerations

Tesla advises periodic maintenance conducted by professionals, but specifics of this maintenance schedule are not detailed.

Regulatory Scrutiny on Tesla’s Solar Practices

In December 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was reportedly investigating claims from a whistleblower regarding Tesla’s management of solar panel replacements that were a fire hazard. The allegation was that while Tesla undertook replacements, it neither shut off systems at risk nor communicated transparently with shareholders or customers about the issue. As of April, the SEC had not commented on the matter, and Tesla, lacking a press office, did not issue a response.

Checking Tesla’s Availability and Placing an Order

Determining Tesla’s Service Coverage

To check if Tesla’s services are available in your area, visit their website and input your address to receive an estimate. While Tesla has aimed to expand its Solar Roof services nationwide, some locations may still be listed as unavailable for service. Tesla’s expansion efforts include partnering with third-party contractors to reach more areas. If Tesla services are not directly available in your region, they may direct you to a certified installer’s contact information or website.

Process for Ordering a Tesla Solar Roof

To initiate an order with Tesla, you need to set up an account on their website. The company utilizes satellite imagery to draft a preliminary design and provide a cost estimate for your solar system. This estimate is subject to change based on an in-person visit by a Tesla representative, who will assess specific factors such as roof complexity and dimensions.

Installation and Permitting

Once a system design is agreed upon, Tesla takes care of the necessary permits and schedules your installation. The company has a combination of in-house teams and third-party installers to perform the installations, aiming to accommodate the growing demand for their Solar Roof services.

Is the Tesla Solar Roof Worth It?

Front view of home with Tesla Solar Roof

Comparing Solar Options

When contemplating a major investment like a solar energy system, it’s wise to explore different providers, particularly local ones that might offer more competitive rates than larger, national firms due to lower operational costs. 8MSolar is your local North Carolina solar installer. If you have questions about switching to solar energy, contact 8MSolar. We are happy to help and are dedicated to giving you the best solar experience. 

While Tesla has reduced prices for its solar panel installations, the Solar Roof is unique and doesn’t lend itself to direct comparisons.

Personal Preferences and Premium Pricing

The aesthetic appeal of the Tesla Solar Roof could make it a worthwhile option if you prefer its design over traditional solar panels, but it comes at a higher cost, which varies based on your roof’s condition and design. The Solar Roof boasts high-quality components and solid warranties, yet other companies might present a broader selection of panels, batteries, and inverters at a lower price point, sometimes including Tesla’s own products.

Market Alternatives and Customer Service Considerations

Other manufacturers, like GAF Energy, have also introduced solar shingles, potentially offering similar benefits at a lower cost. Tesla’s solar panel business has encountered online criticism regarding customer service, although comprehensive, reliable data on industry-wide customer service is not readily available. Customer experiences with Tesla vary, with some expressing dissatisfaction with service despite savings, while others find the trade-off acceptable.

Potential for Improved Customer Service

With a smaller customer base for the Solar Roof, it’s difficult to gauge if Tesla’s customer service in this segment differs from its solar panel services. As Tesla aims to boost Solar Roof installations amidst a declining market share in solar panels, there’s a possibility that they may place a higher emphasis on customer service for Solar Roof clients, though this remains speculative.

Tesla Solar Roof FAQ

How durable is the Tesla Solar Roof?

The lifespan of a solar roof can vary depending on the make and installation quality. Most are expected to last 20 to 30 years, aligning with the typical lifespan of traditional solar panels. The warranty period is also indicative of durability; for instance, Tesla’s Solar Roof comes with a 25-year warranty, suggesting confidence in its longevity.

Is there risk of leaks with the Tesla Solar Roof?

Improper installation of a solar roof can indeed lead to leaks. To mitigate this risk, it’s crucial to hire an experienced installer, particularly one with a solid track record with Tesla Solar Roofs on your roof type. Tesla backs its Solar Roof with a 25-year product warranty against manufacturing defects and a 25-year weatherization warranty that includes wind and water damage, which could cover potential leak-related issues.

Does Tesla use subcontractors to install the Tesla Solar Roof?

Tesla does engage certified subcontractors for the installation of its solar roofs. These subcontractors are trained to meet Tesla’s standards to ensure quality and reliability in installation.

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