When you hear the name Tesla, you usually stop and listen. Tesla has built a well-known brand with electric vehicles (EVs). Then, they announced the Powerwall, a solar battery, and most recently, the Solar Roof, a mix of solar and non-solar tiles that is meant to replace a typical solar system. Elon Musk is a smart guy – combining the power of solar with EVs. The ideas he has make sense, but does the investment? Now that the long-awaited solar tile system is available, it’s worth asking – is the Tesla Solar Roof worth the investment?
Why Solar Tiles Entice Consumers
There are consumers who whose tastes run counter to the aesthetic of conventional solar panels. They don’t like the look of solar panels – they just can’t get over the industrial appearance. For the solar energy convert of course this question makes no sense since, to the converted, the philosophy of solar in itself is beautiful. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so for those who are reluctant to go solar because of the physical aesthetic of conventional panel, the prospect of solar tiles integrating seamlessly into your roof may have traction.
The Tesla Solar Roof Investment
The textured, Tuscan, smooth and slate finishes offered by Tesla allow consumers a small, but meaningful choice with look, something previous solar paneling couldn’t. Its seamless integration into almost any architectural style makes it friendly for homeowners looking to invest in both a new roof and clean energy all at once.
However, the upfront price tag can be a bit (or perhaps more than a bit) of a shock.
The average home in the United States is 2,467 square feet. According to Tesla’s handy solar calculator, the new system will set an average homeowner back $51,200 for a 70% solar roof. The company also recommends purchasing the additional, but optional, Powerwall battery to store all that new energy at $7,000, bringing the grand total of installation to $58,200.
The percentage of solar paneling is an important metric when deciding if you really want to buy the system. It all depends on a homeowner’s energy needs, if the roof is partly shaded or sunny and how much he or she already spends on electricity each month. When all these things are considered, the ratio of solar paneling and non-solar paneling can greatly vary, as well as the price.
For example, if the typical American home only purchases 40% solar tiles the price drops to $36,700, plus the $7,000 battery, totaling $43,700. And that 40% may be all you need. As Tesla noted on its site, “If you choose to increase the portion of your roof covered with solar tiles, your home may generate more electricity than it needs. In this case, you may not realize the full value of energy your Solar Roof produces.”
To help combat the sticker shock, Tesla also noted the tax credits associated with buying solar. For the 70% solar roof, homeowners may be looking at a tax credit of $15,900, while a 40% solar home can expect a $10,000 credit. The company also explained that over 30 years, a 70% solar roof will generate $73,500, meaning a homeowner could net profit $31,200 over 30 years.
But still, the price is a tremendous leap from traditional roofing. According to the calculator provided by Roofing Calculator, to completely replace the average home’s roof with traditional shingles will only set owners back between $9,000- $14,000.
Worth the Investment?
But, if you have the money, are looking to invest in your home’s future, need a new roof and want to improve the environment for all, it’s money well spent, especially when considering composition shingles need to be replaced every 12-20 years, wood shingles every 20-25 years, and asphalt shingles, the most common roof in the United States, needs replacing every 15-30 years. While Tesla’s solar panels will likely need replacing at some point, the company’s lifetime warranty means homeowners won’t be paying an eye-watering amount each time a shingle breaks.