You can have the greatest new building product in the world, but until it has been certified to meet applicable building codes, it is just a gleam in some inventor’s eye that will never see real-world acceptance. The good news is the Tesla SolarRoof has recently been certified to meet the International Building Code, the International Residential Code, the California Building Code, and the California Residential Code by ICC-ES.
What is the ICC-ES? Glad you asked. According to its website, “ICC-ES is a nonprofit, limited liability company that does technical evaluations of building products, components, methods, and materials. The evaluation process culminates with the issuance of technical reports that, because they directly address the issue of code compliance, are extremely useful to both regulatory agencies and building-product manufacturers.
“Agencies use evaluation reports to help determine code compliance and enforce building regulations; manufacturers use reports as evidence that their products (and this is especially important if the products are new and innovative) meet code requirements and warrant regulatory approval.
“ICC-ES evaluation reports are public documents, available free of charge on the worldwide Web, not only to building regulators and manufacturers, but also to contractors, specifiers, architects, engineers, and anyone else with an interest in the building industry. All of these people look to ICC-ES evaluation reports for evidence that products and systems are code-compliant.”
In an email to CleanTechnica, ICC-ES senior staff engineer Yamil Moya says, “We are pleased to issue a report to Tesla, a manufacturer of alternative energy systems that relies heavily on ICC-ES’ technical expertise and high-quality reports. ICC-ES thoroughly examined Tesla’s product information, test reports, quality control methods and other factors to ensure the product is code compliant.”
The actual approval is known as ESR-4074 and can be downloaded in PDF format from the internet. It does not make for light reading, as it is filled with technical jargon only a professional engineer could appreciate. It contains specific language about how the SolarRoof should be installed, including the underlayment and flashing requirements. If you are considering a Tesla SolarRoof, you may want to familiarize yourself with those specific sections.
The point is that if you live in a community where no Tesla SolarRoofs have been installed before, you will have an easier time convincing your local building official that it meets all applicable code requirements if you include a copy of ESR-4074 in your building permit application packet.
If you haven’t done so, we also recommend you read this CleanTechnica exclusive: Why Tesla’s Solar Roof Is A Bargain, 53% Of The Price Of A Roof + Electricity — CleanTechnica Analysis.