Tesla Solar Roof Tiles Cost, Benefits and Reviews

Tesla solar roof panels
There’s been plenty of build up and lots of speculation, but as of May 2017 the Tesla Solar Roof Tile is now available to preorder in the UK. But are they the next step towards a future of sustainable solar energy, or just a passing gimmick for the very wealthy?

Although you can’t yet get Tesla solar tiles installed in the UK, other options are available:

Get Free Solar Tile Quotes:        Get quotes and compare prices.

What are solar roof tiles?

The traditional solar energy system requires solar panels to be installed on your roof where they can soak up the sunlight. The energy from the sun is then converted into useable electricity for your home. It’s better for the environment as it reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and better for your energy bills, but not necessarily for the aesthetics of your home.

There’s a limited range of panel designs and, as they sit on top of the roof tiles, they tend to protrude out. Finding panels that blend in with your roof can be a challenge.

While the concept of integrating solar technology into the structure of the roof itself has been developing for some time, it is Tesla Energy that have forged ahead with what they refer to as ‘beautiful solar’ for your home.

Rather than installing solar panels on top of your existing roof, they want you to replace your entire roof with their tiles that have solar technology built in. They’ve been designed to ‘complement your home’s architecture’ rather than detract from it.

Tesla Roof Tiles

There are 4 styles of tile available to pre-order: Textured, Smooth, Tuscan or Slate. They are made from tempered glass which Tesla claim to be three times stronger than the average roof tile. They’re so confident about this that they’ve included a lifetime guarantee with the tiles; this means that your roof will last for as long as your house stands. There’s also a 30 year guarantee on both the power technology and against weather damage.

A solar roof from Tesla will be comprised of a combination of solar tiles and non-solar tiles which both look the same from street level, the ratio of which will vary depending on your home’s energy needs. Each solar tile includes invisible solar cells that have been developed in partnership with Panasonic.

What are the benefits of Tesla roof tiles?

  • The key advantage that solar tiles have over solar panels is their attractive finish and seamless integration with your home’s architecture.
  • The tiles have been designed to work in partnership with Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 Solar Battery which, although optional, would enable you to store the energy produced by the tiles for use during the night or in the event of a power cut, bringing the ambition of energy independence a little closer to reality.
  • Many listed properties aren’t allowed to have solar panels installed but solar tiles may be a viable alternative.

Are there any disadvantages?

The main argument against solar tiles in general is that they are not as energy efficient as solar panels. However, it seems the key motivation behind the product is aimed at the portion of the consumer market who hesitate to embrace solar power on the grounds of aesthetics. For these people, this may not be such a concern.

The bigger deterrent for most is likely to be the cost…

How much are Tesla solar roof tiles?

See below table for a cost breakdown of Tesla’s new solar slates:

Home Square Footage Cost of Roof Value of Energy Generated Over 30 Years
2,000 $34,300 or £26,380 $49,100 or £37,760
2,500 $42,100 or £32,380 $60,300 or £46,370
3,000 $49,800 or £38,300 $71,300 or £54,830

Although you can’t yet get Tesla solar tiles installed in the UK, other options are available:

Get Free Solar Tile Quotes:        Get quotes and compare prices.

The cost of replacing your roof with Tesla’s solar tiles is currently hard to pin down. The final cost will depend on several factors including the size of your roof and the ratio of solar tiles to non-solar tiles. They have created a Solar Roof calculator for the US market which estimates the likely upfront cost. The price is estimated based on roof size, the average price of electricity and how much sunlight your area gets in a year.

We did a little research using the US calculator to try and gauge the rough costs involved. The average size home in the US is between 2,400 – 2,600 square feet. We entered each ‘home’ as being in San Francisco, California, with 2 stories and the recommended 50:50 solar to non-solar tile ratio.

However, it’s worth noting that the average size of a newly built home in the UK is between 800 – 1000 square feet which is considerably smaller than the US. Installation costs i.e. taking off your old roof before putting the new one in are not included in their calculations as far as we can tell.

Tesla themselves acknowledge that the upfront cost of a solar roof is likely to be more expensive than a standard roof replacement, but they argue that the return on your investment over time in terms of energy savings can offset this. And, they add, you get a ‘beautiful new roof that also increases the value of your home’. They are planning to offer finance options in the US in late 2017, so they may well consider doing the same in the UK.

The deposit needed to order your solar roof from Tesla is £800 which you can do now via their website. If you change your mind at any time before you’ve agreed to purchase they will refund the money in full.

When and how would your Tesla roof be installed?

While you can preorder now Tesla are not expected to begin installations in the UK until 2018. They promise to ‘take care of’ your entire installation, including removing your existing roof and installing the new roof and Powerwall battery if needed. This will be through MCS certified (or equivalent) installers in the UK to ensure their standards are met.

Could a Tesla Solar Roof be right for your home?

If you are planning a roof replacement or a new build then there is a definite argument for considering a solar roof. A lifetime guarantee on any roof is a very attractive prospect but when combined with long term energy savings it becomes even more appealing as an investment.

However, there is no denying that the cost is prohibitive to many and until the production of the solar tiles increases this is likely to remain the case. Solar technology is continually developing and it may be only a matter of time before a UK company produces a product to rival Tesla’s roof tiles.

Although you can’t yet get Tesla solar tiles installed in the UK, other options are available:

Get Free Solar Tile Quotes:        Get quotes and compare prices.

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