We have received a lot of inquiries about solar shingles since Tesla unveiled their solar roof concept last week. While this technology is certainly appealing and innovative, customers should understand the appropriate use-cases and associated costs.
The new solar roof from Tesla is a roof replacement for your home. The installation requires a customer to replace their existing roof with both non-solar glass tiles and solar-enabled ones. The product is sleek and elegant, but a savvy consumer should consider if the solar roof makes financial sense for their situation.Let’s consider Scenario 1 in which a Texas homeowner wants to reduce their energy consumption but does not need a new roof. Based on a 3,000-sq. ft. house, a solar roof utilizing 40% of available space will generate $29,200 in energy savings over 30 years using Tesla’s own calculations. The cost of the solar roof is $84,200. In comparison, a SunPower system with half the footprint will generate ~$65,000 in lifetime energy savings. The total cost of the fully-installed SunPower system, which uses the most efficient solar panels available, is $50,000. Tesla’s solar roof is ~70% more expensive and produces half as much electricity as a SunPower system. In this scenario, the SunPower system is more productive, cost-effective, and doesn’t require a roof-replacement.