Tesla Solar Roof Review
Tesla Solar Roof, tesla made a huge splash in the solar panel world when they unveiled the latest version of the Tesla solar roof, but since then we haven’t seen too much about it. is it a bargain or a bust or are solar tiles about to go mainstream. I’m matt Farrell welcome to undecided when tesla unveiled version 3 of the Tesla solar roof in October of 2019 it caught a lot of our attention.
they spent a great deal of time and effort refining the installation process to make it faster and more affordable to install like larger tiles to increase efficiency and manufacturing costs.
as well as reducing the number of parts needed to install it by half in the end it’s reduced the overall cost
of installing a tesla solar roof by about 40 percent, but since that announcement, there hasn’t been much said about it. we’ve seen some customers sharing their experiences online but I’ve been really curious about what it’s been like to install them.
I reached out to a roofing company that’s doing just what Elon had mentioned during the announcement that they were most likely going to ramp up a partner program to bring installers into the fold to support the rollout. I had a chance to speak to Eric Weddle from Weddle and sons roofing, who’s the CFO and head of their colorado operations and one of tesla’s partners everything’s still kind of a pilot with our relationship because we’ve been one of the early entrants the way that we work with them.
now may not be the way that we work with them forever you know initially they shared some leads with us that had been kind of sitting in their queue for a long time. in the territory in Kansas Nebraska where they had no direct presence so they’ve kind of been experimenting with redirecting people to us that are in our territory as a roofing company.
It was interesting to hear what their training was like and how well thought out it was the first week was a classroom kind of classroom warehouse base so you know as a team we would sit in and, work through kind of installation stuff. Then we would go out into the warehouse adjacent and practice on those things then you go out and they have two test houses built on-site in the corner of their Fremont car factory on Cato road um under a tent which is nice and we just did a full-scale installation to be the most interesting part of this is that you expect solar installers to be the prime candidate for taking on a solar roof installation.
Tesla Solar Panels – Tesla Solar Roof
installing a roof is a completely different skillset from installing solar panels in somebody’s roof on that front it gives companies like wetland suns a bit of an edge. we have so much to learn and we’re still learning we don’t claim to be experts in the solar side of things. I felt like this product and this system just installation wise it’s a better fit for a roofing company just because there’s so much detailed metalwork the trims and the flashings and the waterproofing are just critical you know once it’s down you don’t want to be pulling that up
I felt like it was a really good fit for our company as roofers solar tile products like the solar roof are still very new not just to customers but, to the industry at large tesla isn’t the only game in town here though.
Tesla Solar Roof, there are solar tile products from companies like del sol power and luma solar there are some distinct differences between the systems though on the aesthetics front the del sol product doesn’t mask the look of the solar cell much at all. you can clearly see the shiny reflective cells within those tiles so you get a lower profile consistent
but not color the lunisolar product looks far more consistent in color but the solar cells are still very noticeable and that’s where tesla stands out from the pack.
They’ve spent a good deal of time and energy figuring out how to make their tiles blending closely on the announcement call. they actually spoke to that point solar cells are optically isotropic meaning. it can look purple from one angle and green from another and we have through a number of different iterations and technology experiments landed on a technology that gets the solar tiles to the point.
Tesla Solar Business
where they’re anti-tropic so they blend in with the surrounding uh non-solar tiles and the trim they look the same from any angle exactly but, just as impressive as that is the cost differences between the systems based on an assessment from solar power world. the solar roof costs about two dollars and eleven cents per installed watt
while del sol power tiles cost about seven dollars per installed watt and luma solar tiles cost about four dollars and fifty cents per installed watt just comparing tesla’s own prices between regular panels and solar roof.
you can see that there’s still a sizeable gap in per installed watt prices .we’re talking about the difference between 1.49 versus two dollars and eleven cents but that’s after incentives and the incentives are currently changing here in the united states so those prices might actually be going up a little bit. it’s pretty clear that if you’re happy with your roof you’re not gonna wanna replace it with a solar roof going with regular panels is the obvious choice in that case but what if you’re replacing your roof or building a new home how does the price compare to roofing costs on that eric have some really nice insights.
it’s substantially more than a basic asphalt roof. it’s probably five times the cost of asphalt or maybe .it’s called four times the cost of a standard asphalt roof on a typical home but it’s not four times the cost of asphalt plus PV but if you start to compare it to a premium roof product like a standing seam metal a synthetic shaker slate which we do a lot of. it’s da Vinci’s a common name they do a really nice synthetic slate product.it compares really favorably to premium roof plus solar panels it’s pretty comparable in cost it’s a little bit more than a synthetic shake or synthetic slate but the synthetic product doesn’t have the PV built in it’s getting close to those premium roof products.
Its certainly premium roof plus panels compare very favorably ben Sullins put together a great price breakdown last spring between the different options based on his search criteria he found that the Tesla solar roof would cost about fifty-six thousand dollars.
Tesla Solar Roof Financing
now compare that to a solar array and a shingle roof at forty-two thousand dollars or a solar array in a metal roof at seventy thousand dollars or a solar array and a tile roof at a hundred and eleven thousand dollars or the big one a solar array and a slate.
the roof at 134 000. so just from a roofing cost comparison even without the added solar .the solar roof is already fairly competitive with higher-end roofing materials but when combining higher-end roofs plus solar. Tesla’s solar roof is an incredibly compelling offer but eric brought up a point that i hadn’t considered it’s a similar point that EV enthusiasts bring up.
Tesla Solar Roof
when comparing EV cars to gas cars cost of maintenance is something that has always bothered me working in colorado we would have asphalt roofs to get hailed out and have to be replaced. you incur a pretty significant cost if they’ve already got panels it’s pretty costly to have those panels pulled stored do the roof get the inspections put the panels back on when you start to take into account that this product should hold up really well to impacts should age well.
you know it has a 25-year warranty from tesla and from what I’ve seen I mean I expect it to last that long. you know if you start to compare it to an asphalt roof that only lasts 10 or 15 years suddenly. it actually even the economics of that start to work out but just how durable are solar roof tiles. I get the question about regular solar panel durability a lot from people that are considering going solar-like how well they’ll stand up to hail and the other element’s well-tempered glass is actually really strong.
Tesla Solar Roof Lead Time
I mean I think they’re pretty amazing I’ve got one here so this is. there’s glass this is one of the glass ones it’s not an active PV you can kind of see the. I don’t know what the thickness is. it’s about a quarter-inch or three-eighths of an inch or something um you know we’ll walk on these. all day long can jump on we’ll drop stuff on I mean I can kind of I can you know compound on its glass.
I wouldn’t do that on one of my windows even said it was tempered add to that the modularity of the tiles it’s like lego blocks snapping into place so the modularity makes it easier to repair. so if you break one of these tiles all you have to do because they’re tempered they just shatter into pretty safe sized pieces. you guys take a shop vac you vacuum it up you slap a new tile you know the clips that they hang on. you know there’s just there’s a slot to hold a clip and there are hangers super easy to pop one out pop a new one in as a roofer.
Tesla Solar Roof
I really like that because I see roofs that get replaced asphalt roofs get replaced all the time because they’ve got you to know x number of impacts and it’s not practical to go replace 20 or 30 shingles. you know with a solar roof maybe you do have a massive hail storm maybe it knocks out. you know 30 or 40 tiles vastly cheaper to repair that than replace it I mean all of the work is done underneath the tiles once the layout’s done the tiles just snap-in so I envision that repairability is actually going to be a real advantage going forward, in the end, the solar roof may prove to be cheaper to maintain and repair than other roofing materials so that’s something you should factor into the cost depending on where you live especially if you live in an area with hail but the modularity benefit doesn’t stop there.
on my brother’s roof, we made some wiring mistakes just because we’re so early. we were ahead of the training documentation and so we’re in the process of fixing that it’s been good it’s been a good uh case study actually in the repairability’s actually been pretty easy to go back and pop up a section of in fact. we actually popped up a section of his dummy tiles and move or replace them with active PV tiles after the fact. it was really easy we use almost all the same clips that are right they expanded the PV system of the roof.
Tesla Solar Rood Installation
it’s pretty plugged and plays in that regard now this isn’t something that tesla’s speaking of as a selling point but, it’s pretty cool that you could theoretically add to or upgrade tiles down the road but much like everything else in the world you have to follow the money affordability and price competitiveness is the only way forward for solar tiles to catch on and go truly mainstream.
Elon’s goal is to make the solar roof truly a competitive product with asphalt shingles and solar panels one area to drive that cost down is on installation and eric had a take on that from an installer’s point of view too. there’s a point at which it becomes a very attractive segment for us and that it really comes down to the days to install and so you know something that takes us four days on paper. it may turn a profit but it’s but the opportunity cost is pretty high. we could have done better things those four days if we get that down to two days it suddenly becomes a really attractive segment for us there’s already a lot of pent-up demand for solar roofs at its current price point.
Tesla Solar Roof
people have been reporting long wait times to get one installed and eric has a long waitlist of his own. you know you asked what challenges are, I mean other challenges we’re sitting on probably 200 requests that were a backlog of probably 200 or more requests for quotes that’s 200 requests just for the area that whittle and sun’s roofing serves roll that kind of demand out across the country and the world and, you can see that tesla is really onto something here just imagine how much that demand will ramp up as they continue to drive the cost down even further from a customer’s point of view I think.
the solar roof is on the verge of going mainstream and from an installer’s point of view yeah we like the challenge and honestly, we’ve had a great relationship with tesla and they’re you know they’re trying to do something very hard and they have a track record of doing a lot of very hard things and so every time that I’m feeling skeptical about something. I just remember the same guy behind this landed rockets. you know vertically I think they can figure this out at least I don’t think I want to bet against it.