Tesla Solar Roof vs Ordinary Solar Panels – Worth the Investment?
Tesla is best known for its electric cars. However, since the last couple of years, the company is pushing to be a world leader in solar roofs and battery storage technology. Recently, they rolled out the third generation of Tesla Solar Roof which is one of the options for people who want to opt for self-sustainable living without impacting the environment.
The costs as compared to other solar panel options vary substantially, but one can use existing price options relative to other solar panel providers to determine which is better in some situations.
Tesla Roof Cost
Tesla quoted an American homeowner in the San Francisco bay area roughly $64,600 for a solar roof. This was a 9.45-kilowatt system on a 1,860 square foot roof. One of the problems with this revelation is that the cost for single solar roof tile was coming out to be $35 a square foot when Tesla is promising homeowners a price tag of around $22 per square foot. Yes, the real cost of just the solar roof tiles is nearly 50 percent higher than quoted by Tesla.
This was only the price for the solar roof itself. The roof required an additional amount of roughly $10,000 to modify the roof to take the weight of the “solar” roof and another $10,000 for a Powerwall, Tesla’s energy storage system. This comes out to roughly $84,600 for installing a working Tesla solar roof. When equated it is nearly $9,000 per kilowatt.
The figure represents the power generated by a large number of roof tiles that are low-efficiency solar cells. In the quote provided by Tesla, the homeowner had to have a number of vents worked around and modified.
It should be noted that the quoted cost to the homeowner is independent of tax credits and tax breaks, the person may qualify for.
Tesla says that the energy created by the solar panel over a period of 30 years to be roughly equal to the cost of just the solar roof. Tesla argues that this comes out to around $4000 a year in ownership costs, and they say that this is similar to the cost of a tile roof plus the energy bills one probably no longer has to pay.
They ignore the fact that a solar tile roof costs up to five times as much as the standard shingle roof. However, the return on investment for this project should be compared to the alternatives, namely, the installation of conventional solar panels on the roof.
Conventional Solar Panels Cost
There are several benefits of installing solar panels on your property over a Tesla solar roof. First, Tesla has already been behind schedule on installations that are pre-booked. Second, they are comparing the cost of a normal tile roof to their solar tile roof.
If you have a shingle roof, you’re going to pay a fortune to upgrade it. The solar tile roof by Tesla also gets in the way of replacing the wood supports under the new tile roof, assuming the existing infrastructure can support it.
So, what are the benefits of conventional solar panels? For starters, you can put one, two or ten on the roof of your home. The project is infinitely scalable, and the solar panels can be complemented by the ones sitting on sturdy supports in your backyard. Second, the solar panels themselves can be removed and replaced at will.
If one of them breaks in a hail storm or becomes severely damaged when a tree branch falls on it, you don’t have to go for an expensive replacement like in the case of Tesla. If technology dramatically improves, you can upgrade your solar panels at will without having to pay to replace an entire fancy solar roof. Yet you may have to upgrade your roof to something stronger so it can support the solar panels.
According to research, the cost of a new solar roof is $37,000 while installing solar panels to cover the roof came out to be $30,000. To make things work you’d buy a Powerwall battery/energy storage system. Add another $10,000 for roof and structural repairs and upgrades.
The total purchase price for having a functional solar roof comes out to be around $87,000. That’s pretty much the same as the Tesla solar roof. However, the solar panel covered roof had power output similar to the Tesla solar roof, too.
Another instance estimated the cost of $3,000 a square foot when installing an 8.5-kilowatt solar panel system in your home. These solar panels would cost around $26,000 in total. A similarly sized Tesla solar roof would cost around $50,000 but only produce around 6.25 kilowatts. In this scenario, you’d be paying $25,000 more for the large solar roof but get a quarter less power.
There are several problems with the “let’s replace the roof with solar panels/solar tiles” situation. One is that Tesla solar roof installation takes far longer than expected and is available only in limited regions. Even if you want to be an early adopter, you might not be able to do so. Then there’s the fact that both solar roofs and solar panels on the roof are incredibly expensive. You can only start to justify the cost in energy savings if you’re already in the market for a new roof replacement.
The solution is to research about low energy consuming electricity providers in and around your current location. You can also go for power providers from other companies generating power via solar, wind and other renewable sources.
In this case, you don’t have to invest in the infrastructure yourself and worry about the return on investment in the long run.
It all depends on your requirements, the place you are living in and the investment limits you might have.