SunPower PV System vs. Tesla Solar Roof

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SunPower PV System vs. Tesla Solar Roof

We’ve received a lot of inquiries about solar shingles since Tesla unveiled its 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 that a customer 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 whether the solar roof makes financial sense for them.

Example of SunPower PV vs. Tesla Roof

Let’s consider Scenario 1. A Texas homeowner wants to reduce their energy consumption but doesn’t need a new roof.

Based on a 3,000-square-foot house, a solar roof using 40% of the available space would generate $29,200 in energy savings over 30 years. That’s using Tesla’s own calculations.

The cost of the solar roof is $84,200. In comparison, a SunPower system with half the footprint would generate about $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 approximately 70% more expensive and produces half as much electricity as a SunPower system. In this scenario, the SunPower system is more productive and cost-effective, and the customer doesn’t require a roof replacement.


[Related: Solar Rooftop Comparison: SunPower vs. Tesla]

Tesla’s Solar Roofs Cost More in the Long Run

If a homeowner needs to replace their roof, the Tesla solution may seem appealing. However, a closer analysis of the numbers in Scenario 2 (see the graph below) suggests that may not be the case. 

Consumer Reports estimates that for our example 3,000-square-foot home, an asphalt roof replacement costs $20,000. That brings the cost of a SunPower system and roof replacement to $70,000.

While the costs for the Tesla solar roof are only 20% lower than SunPower plus a roof replacement, the long-term production difference would hurt consumers’ ability to recoup their investment. In Scenario 2, the SunPower system with roof replacement is more cost-effective.

Compared to Tesla, it’ll provide double the lifetime energy savings.

Why Are Tesla Solar Roofs So Popular?

Early adopters may want a Tesla solar roof no matter the price. However, these consumers should keep in mind that Tesla will install solar roofs exclusively in California starting in June. We don’t know when installations will begin in the rest of the country.

If the Tesla solar roofs are anything like the Tesla Roadster, customers should prepare for initial hiccups. SunPower by Freedom Solar has a proven track record of excellence, and all our installations come with a comprehensive lifetime warranty on parts, labor and performance. We ensure you have peace of mind about your investment


Whether you need a new roof or not, we’re ready to offer assistance. Let the experienced energy consultants at SunPower by Freedom Solar help you determine the best way to meet your energy needs.

Please feel free to reach out to us! Give us a call at (800) 504-2337, or fill out our inquiry form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Willie Nelson for Freedom Solar

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