Roof Tech Review: Is Tesla’s “Solar Roof” Worth It?
In 2016, Elon Musk unveiled the Solar Roof: Tesla’s take on the solar panel. In typical Hollywood fashion, he repurposed the set of Desperate Housewives to showcase the new product, re-roofing four houses on Wisteria Lane with the prototype panels. At the time, Musk was a chairman of SolarCity, which manufactured solar panels. The goal, he stated, was to “make solar look good,” replacing the traditional, oversized panels with high-end roof tiles.
Despite Musk’s optimism and a declaration that 2019 would be “the year of the Solar Roof,” the company had only installed about one dozen solar roofs by 2018. Now, three years later, the project is still struggling to fully take off. According to a recent article, Musk admitted that the prototype needed work and that Tesla significantly underestimated the costs associated with installing the panels on more complex roof structures.
Many customers have already had deposits refunded due to unexpected cost increases. However, he stated that he still intends to expand product installations this year.
A home featuring the Tesla Solar Roof, which uses an interlocking grid of panels to appear more like a shingled roof. Photo courtesy of www.tesla.com
What Makes Tesla Solar Different?
Tesla uses an interlocking system of active and inactive panels to mimic the appearance of traditional tiles. Tesla claims the Solar Roof tiles are not only more aesthetically pleasing than traditional solar panels, they are also three times more durable than standard roof tiles and will “pay for themselves over time.”
In addition to these attractive features, Tesla has also added its famous technological spin to appeal to potential buyers. The Solar Roof is integrated with Tesla’s Solar Inverter system, which uses the typical DC/AC conversion method to generate electricity from light energy. The system also includes several tech-savvy attributes:
- It is compatible with traditional solar systems, not just Tesla’s Solar Roof.
- It comes with the Tesla App, a sleek and user-friendly software that enables users to control energy use and monitor the home’s energy consumption and availability.
- The system is bundled with, a rechargeable home battery system. While this is another expense unique to Tesla, the system does have its benefits. For example, it allows homeowners to store energy for future use and gain precise insights into home energy usage with live updates.
Is It Worth It?
Tesla Solar Roof is still significantly more expensive than traditional solar panels. The only appreciable difference at this point lies in the design, which does have a more stylish appearance than the traditional panels.
Tesla has also had low ratings overall in its Energy programs. Unforeseen costs combined with significant delays have resulted in cancellations and price hikes for many customers who made deposits on the tiles years ago.
Generally speaking, however, solar panels are an eco-friendly option that can even generate income over time. Colorado offers great incentives for homeowners to install solar panels, including rebates, state and federal tax credits, and net metering programs. Combine these incentives with our state’s ample sunshine, and solar panels can actually be an excellent investment.
Tesla may have a good product with all the tech bells and whistles we have come to expect from it, but it seems Solar Roof needs more time to reach its full potential. However, the sleek design and technological advantages may be enough to offset the increase in cost for some buyers.
Whether you choose Tesla or a more traditional route, you will want to find a local roofer and receive a thorough inspection before undertaking a solar installation. Solar panels are an investment and can be expensive to remove if they are placed over areas in need of repair. J&K Roofing services the Northern Colorado, Denver Metro, Front Range, and Colorado Springs areas.
We work with all solar manufacturers and are certified in each material we use. Our roofers have the knowledge and skill to help you with your solar project. Contact us today for your free inspection and to discuss your solar installation project.