Tesla Solar Roof Sales Officially Open With Bold Savings & Durability Claims

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This morning (or late last night, depending on your location), Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the Tesla Solar Roof was ready to go on sale (today) and more details would follow in the afternoon. It’s the afternoon, and as promised, the Tesla Solar Roof site is now live. Preliminary details include what homeowners should expect to pay for such a roof as well as how much money they might save as a result of the solar generation.

The new site and accompanying official blog post cites Consumer Reports to confirm that the Solar Roof will pay out for homeowners:

Consumer Reports estimates that a Solar Roof for an average size U.S. home would need to cost less than $24.50 per square foot to be cost competitive with a regular roof. The cost of Solar Roof is less. The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof, and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.”

The Solar Roof will be comprised of panels that contain solar cells and those that do not. The panels will be placed to optimize solar generation while maintaining a uniform look across the entire roof.

Comparing the price of Solar Roof to conventional roofs results in a net positive financial effect for a Solar Roof, whereas a conventional roof is simply an expense. Solar Roof nets out to around $2,000 in savings compared to a normal tile roof that costs around $13,000 installed. Tesla created a calculator that gives homeowners the ability to put in their actual information and get a quick snapshot of what the cost picture for a Solar Roof might look like for their home.

Quickly plugging in my address, square footage, and number of stories, the calculator is able to pull down data from Google’s Project Sunroof and spits out an estimated roof cost of $54,100. The calculator also automatically includes the cost of a Powerwall at $7,000, and from there estimates the value of energy produced to be $89,100. Rolling that together with a tax credit for the solar system ($15,000), the entire picture is complete.

This is clearly a very high-level, non-technical summary, but it shows the approach Tesla is taking to the Solar Roof. Being more technically minded, I would like to see the system size in kilowatts, the average daily kilowatt-hours it would offset based on my address, and the like. With our home being rather efficient but with the sizeable load of two electric vehicles, it’s not likely to fit the standard mold Tesla is using.

The model also includes the ability to throttle up or down the % of the roof tiles that are solar, which is an interesting feature. Logically, this would scale based on the demand of the house, so it will be interesting to see if Tesla is advocating maximizing the system size regardless of the usage of the home for the highest net offset of emissions or if the % of panels with solar cells would be throttled to match usage. My guess would be the latter given the higher cost of the roof tiles with solar cells vs non-solar cell tiles.

Directly from the estimate summary, customers can scroll down to select the roof tile they prefer. As reported this morning, Textured and Smooth tiles are available this year. Tuscan and Slate will follow in early 2018. Customers can then confirm if they want a Powerwall or not right from the same page, and then can place a $1,000 deposit for a system. It’s about as straightforward as ordering a $140,000 Tesla Model S P100D.

Beyond just the sales side of the new webpage, it highlights the extreme durability of the new tiles, reassuring buyers that the tiles will hold up to everything mother nature can throw at them (within reason). The page even goes so far as to include an animation of a virtual hail attack at 100 mph that destroys the conventional roof tiles without damaging the Tesla Solar Glass tiles.

The Solar Roof tiles come with an impressive warranty that lasts until “Infinity, or the life of your house, whichever comes first.” On the energy generation side, the power output of the tiles is guaranteed for 30 years, which is at the high end of the range for normal solar panel production warranties.

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1659 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field