Solar Roof Tiles from Tesla Could Make Your Roof the Star of the Neighborhood
Laughter rang out last year when Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced Tesla Solar Tiles at the press conference by saying, "You’ll want to call your neighbors over and say ‘check out the sweet roof.’ It’s not a phrase you hear often."
It’s true that your roof is pretty much the last thing to generate a lot of excitement, but Tesla has a way of infusing energy and interest in nearly everything the company does. After Tesla shareholders approved the acquisition of SolarCity last year, Musk almost immediately showcased the new solar roof tiles.
What makes these tiles different from other solar products is that they resemble other roof tiles so closely that from the ground, the vantage point from which most people view a roof, the tiles are indistinguishable from standard tiles. Tesla introduced four versions of the tiles: Tuscan Glass Tiles, Slate Glass Tiles, Textured Glass Tiles and Smooth Glass Tiles.
Unlike solar roof panels that are installed on top of your roof, these solar tiles are both the roof and the solar panel. This makes them easier to install when you’re building a new home. If you want to install them on an existing home, you’ll need to remove the current roof entirely before replacing it with Tesla Solar Tiles.
In addition to touting the looks of these new solar tiles, Musk made news by proclaiming that installing a roof made of the solar shingles would actually cost less than installing a traditional tile roof. If true, this would be a huge breakthrough, since price has been a big obstacle for people when it comes to installing a solar tile roof in the past.
Musk’s reasoning is that the textured glass tiles are significantly lighter than other roof tiles and therefore will cost much less to transport. Tesla estimates that the tiles weigh as little as one-fifth as much as traditional tiles and are less likely to break, which saves more money since you need to buy fewer tiles.
Cost estimates of Tesla Solar Roof
Several green building experts and consumer-oriented sites have attempted to prove or disprove the claim that a Tesla Solar Roof would be less costly than a traditional roof, but because exact pricing has yet to be announced, price comparisons are based on educated guesses. One aspect some critics were quick to point out is that the majority of roofs are made of asphalt shingles, which are about 20 times less costly than a terra cotta or slate tile roof, the materials the Tesla roof imitates. So while a Tesla roof may be less expensive than a real terra cotta or slate roof, it’s not likely to cost less than an asphalt roof.
Consumer Reports estimates that a Tesla Solar Roof would cost between $70,000 and $100,000, based on the price guidelines provided by Tesla. A standard asphalt roof replacement, according to Consumer Reports, costs between $8,000 and $16,000. The range of prices depends on the size of the roof and the location. Labor costs are a big part of the expense, which makes it even harder to estimate the cost of installing a Tesla roof since it’s possible that a specially trained contractor will be required.
An exact delivery date for the solar roof tiles has yet to be announced, but some Tesla-watchers think the earliest possible date would be in mid-2018.
If you want to go green with your roof, an expanding range of products are available, including sustainable roof materials. Consult a roofing expert in your area with experience working with solar and sustainable roofs to determine what would work best for your home and your budget.