Are Tesla Solar Shingles the Future of Roofing?

scrosroofing Danny's Thoughts

Tesla is, without a doubt, an incredibly innovative company with Elon Musk as its charismatic leader. Right on the heels of the release of the Model 3 electric car comes news of the first installations of the new Tesla solar shingles. At the touted price of $21.85 per square foot, the roof will be on par with higher end roofing options like tile and slate, with the added benefit of energy production. Though not all test results are in, initial reports of the quality appear good. According to Tesla’s most recent update letter:

“Solar Roof is built with tempered glass that is more than three times stronger than standard roof tiles and with less weight. In June, Solar Roof was certified by Underwriters Laboratories with its highest Class A fire rating. It has also been awarded ASTM International’s best Class F wind rating. We are so confident in the superior durability of our Solar Roof tiles that we offer the best warranty in the roofing industry—the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”

That is an incredibly bold warranty. So, will, as Musk claims, the vast majority of houses have solar roofs in as little as fifteen years? To answer that, it is important to consider both the pros and the cons while acknowledging that not all the data is in yet.

Pros

  • Saving money over the life of the system seems likely and potentially substantial. Depending on your energy usage, not having an electric bill for 30 years or more means a lot of savings.
  • The warranty means not having to worry about replacing your roof, potentially ever.
  • The solar roof makes you the hippest person on the block. Whatever else you can say, Tesla makes everything they touch cool. Your neighbors will stare admiringly.
  • Solar roofs will almost certainly be more HOA friendly. Many HOAs have refused to allow rooftop panels because they don’t care for the aesthetic. Tesla solar shingles look great, and they will almost certainly be approved.

Cons

  • The solar roof will likely be unavailable nationwide until at least the middle of next year.
  • The actual upfront cost is quite high, and Tesla is currently not offering financing. In most cases, people would easily be able to put up a traditional roof with a rooftop solar system for much less. You can get your own estimate on the solar roof here. It’s important to note that there is little information about how much power the shingles are currently producing. The estimate assumes only 40% of your shingles will be the more expensive solar producing ones. Depending on your energy usage, you may need more power, and that will cost more.
  • It is hard to determine how long tax rebates for solar will remain in place. By the time the shingles are available in your area, will rebates still be available? Again, this will drive up your cost.
  • If you aren’t currently in the market for a roof, it makes very little sense to use this as a way to go solar. Rooftop panels are available now, so it’s possible to begin saving on electricity without waiting.
  • Conversely, if you need a roof now, waiting until at least next summer could mean further damage and unpleasant consequences.

If you would like to get a quote on an old-fashioned roof, please contact us. Then you can add in the cost of a rooftop solar system to see if the Tesla roof is worth waiting for.