Tesla Releases Solar Roof Details: Orders Open, Installs This Summer – From About $21.85 Sq Ft

Red Tesla Model X and Tesla Solar Roof

MAY 10 2017 BY JAY COLE 204

Tesla has opened orders on it Solar Roof product.

The company states that while the Solar Roof will be offered in a variety of different designs, as expected only 2 are currently available for 2017 – the Smooth and Textured tiles.  Later in 2018, the fancier Tuscan and Slate tiles will be offered.

Also available now – Tesla Solar Roof in Smooth Glass

In opening orders, Tesla says that the up-front costs of the system will be offset over time by lower energy costs.

As for the costs, Tesla states:

“The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof,1 and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.”

And if one wonders what that little disclaimer after the “…Solar Roof,1entails, it is based on the mix of active solar tiles to non-active, in this case 35% of the a roofs tiles being solar.  Obviously less tiles being solar-active means a lower cost.  A straight solar tile is ~$42 sq ft.

Tesla does some math

The company is warrantying the tiles themselves for “infinity, or the lifetime of your house – whatever comes first”, and for the power generation over 30 years.

Tesla expects that installations of Solar Roof will begin in this summer in the US, while everyone not-the-US will have to wait until 2018.

Orders are now being taken on Tesla’s website here.

Tesla Solar Roof Warranty & Specs

Full Tesla update on the Solar Roof:

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future by creating products that are so compelling, there is no alternative. Solar energy has always been part of our master plan, and we recognized the need for a roof that is simultaneously affordable, durable, beautiful and integrated with battery storage.

Solar Roof complements a home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning a home into a personal utility. Solar energy can be generated, stored and used day and night, providing uninterrupted power even if the grid goes down.

Coming in 2018 Tesla Solar Roof In Tuscan Tiling

Solar Roof is more affordable than conventional roofs because in most cases, it ultimately pays for itself by reducing or eliminating a home’s electricity bill. Consumer Reports estimates that a Solar Roof for an average size U.S. home would need to cost less than $24.50 per square foot to be cost competitive with a regular roof. The cost of Solar Roof is less. The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof,1 and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.

Solar Roof uses two types of tiles—solar and non-solar. Looking at the roof from street level, the tiles look the same. Customers can select how many solar tiles they need based on their home’s electricity consumption. For example, households that charge an electric vehicle every day may want more solar tiles on their roof.

In doing our own research on the roofing industry, it became clear that roofing costs vary widely, and that buying a roof is often a worse experience than buying a car through a dealership. Initial contracts tend to be overly optimistic, and later customers face hidden costs that were never mentioned up front.

At Tesla, we believe in transparency and putting the customer in control. That’s why we created a Solar Roof calculator that lets homeowners estimate the upfront price of Solar Roof, as well as the value of the energy it can generate for their home. The calculator is based on factors like roof size, the average local price of electricity, and how much sunlight a neighborhood receives throughout the year.

As shown in the graph below, the cost of our non-solar tiles is comparable to regular roofing tiles.2Although the cost of our solar tiles is more expensive up front, it can be more than offset by the value of energy the tiles produce.3 In many cases, the reduction in a home’s electricity bill over time will be greater than the cost of the roof.

Also arriving in 2018, Tesla Solar Roof in Slate

Design & Durability
Solar Roof will be available in a variety of designs, including Smooth and Textured (available this year) and Tuscan and Slate (available early 2018). Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, yet half the weight. They do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete. Solar Roof is the most durable roof available and the glass itself will come with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.

Customers may place an order for Solar Roof today on the Tesla website. Installations of Solar Roof will begin in the U.S. this summer and we expect installations outside the U.S. to begin in 2018.

Slo-mo hail cannonball impacting Tesla solar roof tile

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

1 $21.85 per square foot is the price of a Solar Roof derived using similar methodology, roof size, and energy costs described in Consumer Reports’ research. This price does not reflect any solar incentives. The price was calculated for a roof where 35 percent of the tiles are solar (solar tiles cost more per square foot than non-solar tiles), in order to generate $53,500 worth of electricity, which according to Consumer Reports would make a solar roof more affordable than an asphalt shingle roof.
2 Average roofing costs were derived from data available on Home Advisor and Homewyse. In each case, there is a wide range of roofing costs and we report the midpoint in each case. Ranges for roof tile types from Home Advisor were derived using information from roofing contractors that included all equivalent components of a Solar Roof (such as installation labor, materials, existing roof tear-off, and underlayment). Range of fully installed costs per square foot from Home Advisor were: Slate, $13.00 – $21.00; Metal, $9.60 – $21.40; Tile, $7.80 – $16.00; Asphalt, $4.40 – $8.70. Costs from Homewyse were derived using their online cost calculator, averaged across 3 representative zip codes (Albany, NY 12220; Fort Worth, TX 76122; Bakersfield, CA 93314) and resulted in the following cost ranges per square foot: Slate, $12.03 – $17.57; Metal, $11.22 – $16.24; Tile, $11.85 – $17.34; and Asphalt, $3.28 – $5.45.
3 In the bar chart, the “Solar Roof with Value of Energy” is calculated based on a roof where 50 percent of the tiles are solar; 30 years of electricity production; and a grid electricity price of 13.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in year one (the average electricity price in Q1 2017 across California, Texas, and North Carolina — the states referenced by Consumer Reports), escalating at 2 percent annually. The calculation also reflects the inclusion of one Powerwall 2 battery. The ability to realize the full value depends on a household’s electricity usage, the amount of energy storage available, and local utility regulations.

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204 Comments on "Tesla Releases Solar Roof Details: Orders Open, Installs This Summer – From About $21.85 Sq Ft"

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George Bower

So an 1800 sq ft house would be 40 grand roughly

Damocles Axe

So 1800 ($21.85 solar avg – $4.40 asphalt avg) = ~$30K premium for solar w/ ~25 year payback.

Wait a minute, subtract another $8K for replacing the asphalt roof in 15 years for $22K premium of installing solar…


“$8K for replacing the asphalt roof in 15 years for $22K premium of installing solar…”

What? 15 years? What kind of crappy Asphalt roof do you have?

It is generally 20-25 years. Because that is the number that Tesla or Solar City uses on whether the current Asphalt roof is too old or not before they are willing to put the solar panels over them!


Might be climate dependent. As I pointed out in the similar earlier thread, here in upstate NY, asphalt roofs last only half as long as they are rated. Typically the shingles are rated for 20-30 years. In practice, they need to be replaced after 10-15.

Of course if these tiles are as robust as they seem, that only helps the economics of them.


Yes, climate does play a role. But for the area that is easily 25-30 years asphalt which is WHAT SOLAR CITY has told me before they are willing to put their 20 years old PPA on my 10 years old Asphalt roof!!

In addition, things such as trees, storms all play additional roles on how long they last.

But for people who already got a concrete tile and or other high durability roof, they will almost NEVER upgrade.

In addition, once you already have solar panels on them, it makes even less sense to upgrade to the solar tiles.

It is like trying to convince a Prius owner to upgrade to Model S75 to save money. Yes, the Model S is nicer, yes Model S should last a long time. Yes, Model S got better performance, but it is a $75K vs. $25K issue upfront. No different from a solar roof issue.


This is at least the third thread I have to keep telling people to go watch his video. He answers that issue in the video. His answer is that for those people his product is not a good fit. His target is new construction and also those people who are replacing their roofs anyway but he does not suggest that it is meant for people with high durability roofs already and/or those people who already have solar panels on the roof. He in fact points out that would be a stupid idea.


But for the remaining people, the price is way more.

So, it is like offering a Model S when someone is ready to replace their Camry.


Has there EVER been a GOOD analogy?


No, if you want to replace your Camry (keep your old inferior asphalt roof), Tesla offers this product:


John in AA

Based on the numbers presented by Tesla the value proposition is excellent for someone who was considering replacing their 25 y.o. asphalt roof with a metal roof. Which just happens to describe me.

This assumes the Tesla roof will perform as well over time as a metal one, which is a bit of a gamble of course, but not a wild and crazy one.

Brave Lil Toaster

“Storms and trees”

If a storm or a tree destroys your roof, you’re replacing it anyway.

Either that, or abandoning your house.

Eric Cote

I would question that. My roof is 12 years old presently and shows no signs of wear. Now I’ll go home to find a leak.


Mwa ha ha! Not trying to jinx you! I’ll do an informal survey of locals. Maybe it’s just a squeeky wheel issue skewing my perception? That is to say, those who have poor experience are the ones who make the most noise.

BTW, my roof is 16 years old and showing signs of being past its proper life.

Eric Cote

Seems odd. Mine is 12 years old and looks new, and is warranted for 30 years. I suspect I’d have moss issues if I had some shading but it looks the same as the day it was installed.

Bill Howland

As far as I know, Solar City doesn’t have a presence in NY State since other Solar Installers undercut them on price and Tesla has decided NY Business is not sufficiently lucrative.

I thought the $21.85 / square foot costing was 1/3 solar, 2/3 nonsolar? Also, I didn’t see any power figures. Just a $53,000 cost for the electricity…. But if that is in some place with confiscatory rates, our 1/2 priced rates here won’t apply.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

SolarCity is actually active in some parts of NYS. Their webpage lists offices in Westchster County, and in both of the Long Island counties, Nassau and Suffolk. Yelp has three reviews of SolarCity from people living in the Capital District (Albany area) and in the Central Hudson Valley (Poughkeepsie and Wappingers Falls). But I don’t know if they do business in Western New York as any Google search gives a gazillion results for news stories about the Buffalo factory.



Bill Howland

Ok, well that makes sense that SOLAR CITY could make money in Westchester county, seeing as your electric rates are either triple what I pay, or almost that.

What I seriously don’t understand, is that if Solar Power makes sense in my area strictly from an economic point of view, why at least 1% of all residential downstaters (the state mandated limit for net metering) don’t have solar power. No way would I want to pay 32 cents/kwh.

But when I called Solar City a few years ago they said they don’t operate in my area – no money in it for them – the installers in my area must work way too cheaply.


Graph shows average ~$6.00 sf.asphalt. $4.40 is low end of Home Advisor range. Re-calculate.

MTN Ranger

My total cost was $3/sf for asphalt shingles this last December.


Maybe not. Normally about half of the roof is sun-exposed. So maybe it’s around 20k for the sun-exposed half, and then something cheaper goes on the other half? Maybe?


You’ll notice only some of the roof tiles have solar cells. In Musk’s video on the subject he noted your roof would be a mix of tile with photo cells and tile without colar cells. Presumably on the north side of the house you just use those that don’t have cells and then you’ll notice that those tiles are actually cheaper than what the comparison group is…i.e. high value slate and ordinary (non-Tesla) tiles.

Damocles Axe

I expect it will be difficult for many people to compare the cost of a roof with energy payback against a traditional roof that has zero energy payback.

Probably need to look at the cost of the solar roof minus the cost of an asphalt roof before looking at the payback…

Paul Smith

The other factor is if this new construction. If so, the roof cost is part of the mortgage and on a 20-25 yr mortgage might cost $25-30 per month. If you can make at least that monthly selling power to the utility company, the roof is free, and take into account rising power costs.


Sooo 4,000 sq ft roof asphalt replacement – $11k.

Solar roof 4,000 sq ft = $88k

Hahaha, who is paying $77k for a PV system these days, or virtually ever.

Once again it’s pretty clear that Elon is a habitual liar.

Damocles Axe

It is only valid to compare a glass tile against something with equal lifetime, so $88K is only $32K premium for solar system that pays for itself while looking better than traditional PV.


There is this thing called the time value of $$. With the $50k savings you can literally put that in a CD and with the interest you earn off of it replace your roof many times over in perpetuity. Now that’s quasi-infinite.

Ya it looks better, no doubt, but the claim that it’s cheaper than other roof types is as usual just complete BS.


You clearly haven’t calculated how much interest you get from $50k in a CD. It’s a lot less than you think.

If that roof generates 30,000 kWh/year (and it’ll probably do more), that’s worth more.


I am not sure why you aren’t getting this.

An asphalt roof = $11k
6kW PV system = $20k

Solar Roof = $80k

That’s a price difference of $50k. So to recap I can have a roof and the same free solar power and have $50k in my pocket making at least $1k a year in interest. Replace an asphalt roof every 20+ years at present value cost of $11k and like I said you can replace the roof in perpetuity off the interest.

I never compared the solar roof to just an asphalt roof, the PV system was always there cancelling out the energy generation benefit.

So yet again when you actually do the math the solar roof IS NOT cheaper than a regular roof + PV system. It’s prettier sure but like I said I don’t gaze at my roof saying it’s pretty or not pretty…


Here is my real life example…
2 story house, 1100 sqft with about 700 sqft of roof space. 700sqft x $22 = $15400
Think about that for a second…This is great for smaller houses and people that want to go solar on the cheap…YES, ON THE CHEAP! The solar system i got was 20K and sits on top of asphalt shingles that will need replacing in 10-15 years. How is this not a better solution?
…and you are fricking worried about what Beverly Hills mansions will pay?! Are you nuts?
I never thought i will be sorry for getting panels but now i am…i wish i got these tiles instead!


How is it not better? The system you are talking about for this price is a much less powerful system than the other one you spoke of. I calculated it below it would produce about 3kW. The other one you spoke of at $2.25/W and costs $20K was clearly a 8kW system (hence the price).

Both prices are before solar rebate, if any.


I saw your calc but i would be surprised if the tiles were that inefficient, not buying it. It would mean they are about x2 less efficient. The $2.57/w value is after credit, btw.


They have a large portion of tile that isn’t cell. And they are designed to prevent off-angle light from reaching the cell. They are designed to be a color instead of black, reflecting some wavelengths of light. They will be less efficient.


That i know…check the comment and photo i posted at the end of the thread.


How does 4000 sq ft of Tesla’s roof only have 6kW of cells?

$22/sq ft includes ~1/3 solar.

Your comparisons continue to be wack. Tesla first target is everyone buying a non-asphalt roof. That’s a LOT of people.

David Beall

You are the liar- by providing the Math of a mental midget- first you low ball your asphalt number – small house, the you compare against a large house, then you ignore a) tax breaks b) added value to the property of a having a quality roof c) then you ignore the electric savings. Thus by not comparing apples to apples you are the liar.


You are a nut job aren’t ya…

John in AA

If you walk around my neighborhood you can see a fair number of standing-seam metal roofs. The number is increasing. The morons who bought those might well (assuming the Tesla numbers hold up) be well-served by a Tesla roof.

(Or maybe they’re not morons.)


Many of the people wealthy enough to afford this roof won’t live long enough to see the break even. Neat idea, super cool in fact, but WAY too expensive.

Damocles Axe

Not a compelling short-term investment, but at least breaks-even over the long run. We need to consider the actual cost of Climate Change damage that the solar electricity avoids. Large storms cost US taxpayers tens of $Billions every year…


Well, then I guess the insurance companies and the government should be installing them for free.

Jean-Marc Laurin
How someone can figure a return on investment in a roof boggles me. There is no return on investment for food or heat. You have a roof. The investment is you aren’t living the life of a hobo. Whether you choose to generate electricity with that same roof is a choice some people make that is beneficial in the long run. Just like having a damned college diploma. There isn’t a short turn return on your investment except in the long run. If a roof costs twice as much but you replace it half as often, you don’t make any money. It’s not cheaper it breaks even. Now if a percentage of the roof cuts your energy consumption costs, that’s a bonus. The point is to replace passive asphalt roofing that pollutes and generates heat, by energy efficient glass that generates energy carbon free. The money issue is just an incentive to get people off the grid. It’s like the damned car. Sure a Prius costs less. But mile for mile it still pollutes more except in areas where electricity is generated by coal. Which is pretty stupid in 2017 considering that industrial solar utility production is now cheaper than… Read more »
David Beall

Not correct, even if you die day one, the property value has increased – probably by more than the cost. Tesla homes will sell at a premium- eventually all new homes in sunlit areas will be built this way


So you think people will pay an additional premium over what the house and solar roof would cost to install just to get a house with a solar roof on it already on it?

That just makes no friggin sense. Here let me pay you $20 and you give me a $5 and 10 spot in return.


It makes a lot of sense. People pay for appearance, whether it’s phones, clothes, cars, or houses.

If you’re in the market for a million dollar home and you think the exterior looks clunky due to the solar panels, paying another 3% for a Tesla roof is well inside the variation of prices you’ll see.


The property value is up. But you also failed to realize any actual payback from the energy because you died day one.

While your argument that dying isn’t necessarily an impediment to payback, if someone (as Tesla does above) tries to list both the energy produced and the increase in property value at the same time then they are misleading you. You only realize anything from the increase in property value at the moment you stop realizing any benefit from the energy output. In fact, the increase in property value derives (mostly, in this case there could be some aesthetic bump too) from the value of the energy that will be produced by the roof after you sell it.

So when considering the ROI you should consider either the energy payback OR the property value increase it would produce at a sale. Don’t count both. Tesla, don’t try to count both.

BTW, the company that sold me my solar install tried t the “count both” trick on me too.

It is fair to count the increase in equity along with the energy, you just have to be aware of some obvious facts like equity in a house is not the same thing as cash. You can however in some circumstances access cash for that equity i.e. through a home equity line of credit or second mortgage. And yes, you do stop getting the energy benefit if you sell the house and realize the equity that way. Good point, I guess, though I think it’s pretty obvious. What’s going to be interesting to see, if I live that long (unlikely), is the solar functionality of these new Tesla tiles after 50 years service and exposure. If they are still functional with only small deterioration of output, as is entirely possible, then the owners will have realized a windfall along the way. If you are planning on installing a premium roof and your site has good solar exposure then you should definitely consider these along with the other options. Solar panels have mostly shown great longevity so far, but many will end up being removed or replaced at some point when the aesthetics, power output, etc … don’t justify for an… Read more »
Peder Norby
My overall impressions as a pioneer and So-Cal expert in this area. Tesla gets great marks for ease of use of the calculator tying in with Google project sunroof. Tesla gets great marks for an assumed 2% per year energy escalator cost. Most Solar PV providers use between 3.5% and 5%. Tesla hides the ball on total Solar PV system size. This is not good but with the known cost of energy shown in the estimate, it’s fairly easy to back into the system size being estimated. Clearly its a no brainer as compared to doing no solar. However the comparison to existing roof top solar gets interesting. As a builder owner of a home with a 4000 SQ ft composition shingle 50 yr roof in So-Cal, here would be my cost to istall existing solar. Removal and installation of new 4,000 sq. ft. 50 year composition shingle roof…$27,500 Installation of a high grade 10kw Solar PV system $35,000 Tesla battery, $7,000 Tax credit including battery, $16,000 Total cost after tax credit: $53,500 Tesla roof system, $110,000 Tesla battery, $7,000 Tax Credits, $25,800 Total cost after tax credit: $91,200 My early conclusions are that the Tesla system is 80% more… Read more »
Damocles Axe

At last an analysis that makes sense! Once again Tesla has created a premium product to fill a market niche that was previously left empty.

Just like they started by selling $100K electric cars instead of competing with economy cars – they are entering a market with zero competition (and where people have the money to spend 🙂

David Beall

Did you math account for the fact that most houses will only need 40 to 70 solar tiles, and in many cases there would be either no need to have 100%, or no ability to have 100% There may not be much point in generating too much electricity- especially since most people can cut electricity costs by LED lights, Tv and more efficient appliances


70? These cells are 6″ square or 8″ square. 8″ square would mean 70 cells is only 30 square feet of solar. That’s about equivalent to only two conventional solar panels. And that’s before we talk about a small reduction in solar power produced due to the special treatment used to make the tiles not look “solar” from low angles.

I think you did your math wrong.


Peder — thanks for the rational analysis. You mentioned “with the known cost of energy shown in the estimate, it’s fairly easy to back into the system size being estimated. ”

This particular math isn’t my forte. Can you help walk through this math? Because it seems like the web page leaves out key information to make the math easy, like the cost they are using for electricity. I wish they would just put the kw on the calculator.


I did that math below. Take a look for where I say that it is a system that produces 283023kWh over 30 years. There is a later portion you may not care about, after the point where I talk about 4 solar hours per day the figures hinge on some assumptions I make. But everything before that is just straight math from the figures Tesla provided and referenced.



I put in my address, and they came up with $75,100 for my roof. Yikes! And that’s BEFORE the Power-Wall. I don’t care how the economics pan out, I’ll pass.

Of course for me, my house faces north. The solar panels are on the back side of the roof, practically invisible from the road. All you see is the top edge, and you have to really be looking for it. So aesthetics mean nothing to me.


I for poops and giggles put in my address and it came in at ~$80k and said I needed to have 50% of my tiles as solar tiles. I have one south facing roof that has a 6kW system on it and it’s probably a whopping 10-15% of my total roof space. I thought these things were supposed to have decent efficiency? Why would I need roughly 3x the cells to get a similar amount of energy out of the solar roof?

Eric Cote

Because if it doesn’t look like a solar panel there’s efficiency being traded for aesthetics. No surprise there to people familiar with solar, perhaps Musk was unaware.


Well ya I know that but I thought the efficiency was supposed to be 20% or so. Obviously there is loss in the part surrounding the cell but it just seems high.

Their whole calculator thing is horrible. What they need is to add an option for how large of a system you want. Sure a bill $ range is easier but with electricity prices ranging so much it isn’t really very accurate. If they knew the size of the roof and how big a system you wanted they should be able to give you a more accurate price.

Bill Howland

Well this discussion proves that the experienced installer I talked to at the Home Show this year was absolutely correct when he stated that only upscale (i.e. California Multi-million dollar homes) would go for this – the FANCIER roofs (the real beautiful ones) Musk has NOT released pricing on as of yet, but I bet its a lot higher than $22/SQ Ft.

The fancier ones are gorgeous, but I’m waiting for an honest cost comparison – or at least how it compares with a conventional system in the Same areas to eliminate irradiation differences in other areas of the country.

There has been much verbiage spoken – but I still haven’t seen how many watts you get out of the roof, whether 100% Solar or 35% Solar.


It is more likely that Tesla is using Google’s solar efficiency numbers for each household’s location relative to the sun, and the numbers are POST losses, and not a direct measure of the efficiency of the solar cell itself.

A 21% efficient solar cell with produce vastly different amounts of electricity in a year in Arizona vs. Maine. The calculator states that it uses information from Google’s solar site, and Google’s solar site already accounts for these differences.


Everybody gets 50% for the initial numbers. Yes, you actually have to put the effort into putting in your actual electricity bill cost to get an accurate estimate.

Since your electricity bill isn’t public information, I’m not sure how you expect Tesla to do that work for you that you are too lazy to do yourself.

Yes, the calculator does correctly identify that people with outrageously large roofs have to pay more for their roofs than normal folks with normal size roofs. The funny thing is that you think this is Tesla’s fault.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven
The $21.85 per square foot price of a Tesla solar roof “was calculated for a roof where 35 percent of the tiles are solar (solar tiles cost more per square foot than non-solar tiles.” So 65% of the area in the $21.85/sq ft cost estimate is for Tesla non-solar tiles, which according to the graph in the article cost a little over $11 per tile. So 0.65 square feet of Tesla non-solar tile would cost $7.15 ($11 x 0.65 = $7.15). That means that $14.70 is the cost of the 0.35 sq ft area made up of Tesla solar tiles in the $21.85/sq ft cost estimate ($21.85 – $7.15), and 1 square foot of Tesla solar tile would cost $42.00 per square foot ($14.70 ÷ .35 = $42.00, proof $42.00 x .35 = $14.70). A regular solar panel, which is roughly 5′ x 3.5′ (60″ x 42″), has a surface area of 17.5 square feet. At $42/sq ft, for 100% Tesla solar tiles to cover the same 17.5 sq ft area as a regular solar panel it would cost $735.00. Now what’s the efficiency of these babies so we can compare apples to apples? Everyone feel free to check and… Read more »

I noticed that discrepancy too. That’s not cool.

George Bower

“Tesla solar tiles to cover the same 17.5 sq ft area as a regular solar panel it would cost $735.00.”

That’s about what I payed for my Sanyo 210HIP’s around 6 years ago. I think they were 750$ each So really not too bad if true.


“A regular solar panel, which is roughly 5′ x 3.5′ (60″ x 42″), has a surface area of 17.5 square feet. At $42/sq ft, for 100% Tesla solar tiles to cover the same 17.5 sq ft area as a regular solar panel it would cost $735.00.”

Your math failed to account for the dollar value of the actual roof itself. You are comparing only the value of the solar portion of the two products.

For your math to be valid, you would need to account for a similar quality infinite lifetime roofing product.


Just like the initial Tesla Roadster, the S and the X the rich shall pave the way for the middle class Model 3 then so will the next few years of Solar Tile sales for less expensive solar tiles for the rest of us.


The rich with help with average Joe tax money.

Get Real

Yep, something the haters, shills and shorters don’t want to talk about.


Yet another lie the Teslaots will believe even when 3rd grade math shows otherwise. :wave:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven
I noticed a discrepancy in the Tesla material. Tesla used two different sets of numbers/percentages to come up with the $21.85/sq ft price and the figures in the bar chart showing the $/sq. ft. installed price in the bar chart for “Solar Roof With Value Of Energy.” The $21.85/sq ft price assumes that 35% of the Tesla roof tiles are solar, while the bar chart for Solar Roof With Value Of Energy assumes 50% of the Tesla roof tiles are solar. It just goes to show that you ALWAYS got to read the fine print with Tesla. – footnote 1 says that the “$21.85 per square foot is the price of a Solar Roof . . . was calculated for a roof where 35 percent of the tiles are solar (solar tiles cost more per square foot than non-solar tiles). . .” – footnote 3 says “In the bar chart, the ‘Solar Roof with Value of Energy’ is calculated based on a roof where 50 percent of the tiles are solar; 30 years of electricity production.” That means that the “upfront cost” of the 50% Tesla solar roof used to compute the Average Roof Cost By Material in the bar… Read more »

This looks like the same kind of math Tesla was using on their website when they used to include “fuel savings” in the price of the Model S.

That graph also appears to be be missing an entry. It shows the cost of standard building materials and the cost of an inactive Solar Roof tile, but not the cost of an active Solar Roof tile. I imagine the graph wouldn’t be very flattering after the scale was zoomed out enough to fit the active Solar Roof tile in the image.

The general impression I got was the sameone I had of the PowerWall reveal: all sizzle, no steak. Tesla should really stick to their award-winning cars, because the Tesla Energy products (and anything associated with undead SolarCity) are amazing in exactly how compelling they AREN’T.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

In a comment above, I tried doing the math to back into a number for the price of an “active Solar Roof tile” and came up with $42.00 per square foot.


In all honestly I don’t know how they haven’t been sued for that yet. They tell you the price is something which in reality it isn’t. There have been a lot of more stupid lawsuits being filed and won than that if you ask me.

Let’s see:
Hard Drive GB
Red Bull Gives you Wings


Total rip off knew Musk was lying out his teeth cheaper than a normal roof. Really Musk your calculator puts my install for just the roof at 121k my house is only worth 135k. The payment on the roof alone would be more than my house payment. Oh and to top it off it still cost me 20k even after my energy return over 30 years. I can get a new roof in Texas for 10-11k. Then you recommend 3 power walls where an I going to put those my house is a whopping 2000 sqft. Musk and his media hyperbole it will cost less than a regular roof before energy cost. 34k in tax credits does nothing for me I do not make that much money. I am by no means poor I am a lower middle class America


” 34k in tax credits does nothing for me I do not make that much money. I am by no means poor I am a lower middle class America”

I do agree with some of your points that in certain case, the solar roof is too much or have low ROIC.

But the tax credits for solar can be rolled forward every year as long as you have income.


The credits are valid for only 2 years. You have to use them in 2 tax fillings or lose them.


Mark, thanks for that bit of info. That would mean that somebody planning on getting the $7500 federal EV tax credit would need to plan on doing that the year before doing a solar install if they are pushing the limits on available credits.

Otherwise they might need to wait 2 years to maximize both credits until after they were done taking the solar credit. And I would be shocked if the $7500 tax credit is still available 2+ years from now.


Is this really an issue? I presume most people buying a $100K Model S and a $100K roof make enough money (and pay enough tax) to use up both tax credits in a single year.


We are talking tax liability….so you need to owe them something or plan ahead by going exempt. In my case i just timed it with a property sale…


People considering a $40,000 Bolt ($32,500 after $7500 tax credit) and a $40,000 Tesla Solar Roof ($28,000 after $12,000 tax credit) on their new modestly sized green home might well need to manage the timing to get the full tax credit.

Some people with substantial assets but not income (i.e. a lot of retirees) may be potential buyers at the after-credit price of these products, but may not have enough income to use the full EV tax credit of $7500, much less another $12k credit within 2 years.



People can have the modest Wealth required to make both purchases, but not have the significant Taxable Income to trigger large tax credits over just 2 years.

The prime example is recent retirees taking distributions from Roth IRA’s.


That or make the ev purchase a lease like i did 🙂




That sounds absurdly high. Did you click on Edit the Assumptions and input your monthly electricity usage and roof size instead? The solar size should reduce too.

The only reason that I would do it is because I want it to be cool. My roof has ~ 1,600 ft of surface to cover. That would cost me about $10K to replace with Asphalt that would last easily 25 years. My 3.3kW solar system from Solar City cost me another $12K after all incentives. So, a combined cost for the entire thing is only about $22K. Now, those solar panels only covers about 13% of the ~1600 sq ft. So, the cost of similar output of the solar roof should only cost about $11 x 1390 sq ft + $42 x 210 = $24,110 So, it would cost me extra $2K assuming that the solar efficiency of the solar tile on a given area is the same as my solar panels. Unless the styling and looks of that is really important to me, I don’t see any pay back on that $2K. If the system is increased to 6.6kW, then the cost will be even more favorable to the traditional system. $11 x 1190 + $42 x 420 = $30,730. A similar 6.6kW solar panels + the same roof would only cost about $25K ($15k solar + $10K… Read more »


“That would cost me about $10K to replace with Asphalt that would last easily 25 years.”

“I don’t see any pay back on that $2K.”

Right off the top, in 25 years the payback would be $10K times the rate of inflation over 25 years when you don’t need to replace your roof again.

But you also failed to account for tax incentives in your math, so you need to go back to the drawing board and start all over again.


That price already includes incentives for the solar portion.

Incentives don’t apply to the rest of the roof.

Also, my shingle cost is already on the way high side.

25 years later, I may or may not live in the same house. So, it won’t be my problems. Argument can be made for increased home values. But 25 years from now, the solar efficiency would easily have dropped more than 15% which means that people would want something better and cheaper by then…



$42 x 210
$42 x 420

Both absolutely do not include tax incentive. The correct formula would be:

($42 x 210) – (($42 x 210) x .30)
($42 x 420) – (($42 x 420) x .30)


Your shingle is still on the low side, because you are comparing a premium infinite warranty roofing material with an inferior asphalt shingle with a limited lifetime (very limited in bad climates).

Do you expect to get a BMW for the same price as a Honda?


If you can claim 30% on an installation that comprises a roof AND solar generation then that is a serious distortion of the point of the rebate.

You should only be allowed to get a 30% rebate on the portion of the price which went to solar generation. That would mean at most $31 of the $42 per solar square foot (as $11 seems to be the price of a non-solar square foot).

Basically your price after rebate for a solar tile would be $11 + 0.7 * 31 or $32.70/sq foot.. A 50-50 mix of solar and non-solar tiles would average $21.85/sq foot which is exactly the price listed in the title. Hmm. Is that coincidence or is Is that $21.85/sq foot in the title an after rebate figure despite what Tesla says in comment 1?

I think it’s probably just coincidence. I think it’s simply because Tesla used 35% solar tiles in their price calculations (unlike their total cost of ownership calculations which use 50%) and 35% is 70% of 50%. The after-rebate price of the 35% solar tile roof would be $18.60/sq foot assuming you only get the rebate on the “solar portion” of the solar tiles.


Like much of what you post, reality disagrees.

“Qualified solar electric property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in your home located in the United States. No costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a roof (or portion thereof) will fail to qualify solely because the property constitutes a structural component of the structure on which it is installed. ”

Sadly, even though I have now brought your broken horse to water, you still will refuse to drink. I can’t help those who willfully make up stuff with the intent of harming Tesla at any cost to their dignity.


What is the actual efficiency rating of those solar tiles? I can’t seem to find it anywhere officially.

Does anyone know?

A typical 3’x5′ solar panel can generate anywhere from 230W to 312W under ideal condition/peak generation. That is about 20W/sq ft in efficiency rating.

What is the Solar tile rating?



What is the output rating of 1 sq ft of solar tiles?


I haven’t seen that data yet, but the other panels that they are making at the exact same factory will have a “module efficiency of 21.76%”. It would be logical for them to use the same cells for both the Tesla Solar Roof and Tesla Solar Panels, but I don’t have any actual facts to back that up. =)



But what happens why they put the cell into the solar tile material?

What about borders and overlaps? I assume the solar tiles would overlap for moisture reason. So, the covered portion of the tile would be non solar but the exposed portion would have solar cell in them. But the entire solar tile would cost more and consist of two sections. That is in additional to the non-solar cell tiles.

It would effectively increase the tile cost as well as lowering the “effective generation” rating on each solar tile compared with convention panels.


Correct, we don’t know yet what it will be in the solar roof, which is why I limited my comment to the cells themselves possibly being the same, and didn’t claim that the solar roof would have the same rating at the modular level.

The rest of your comment seems to simply state the obvious. That the cost of the solar roof is the cost of solar + the cost of roof.


So on my house (2 story) it would have costed me about 17K to get the solar roof….OMG! That would have been less expensive than the solar panels i got! …and i got a great deal at $2.55/w! FFFFFFFFF!


You are assuming a 700 sqft solar roof with 35% active area would produce as much electricity as your current setup. I bet that’s WAY off.

Did you use their calculator, or just multiple 700 * 21.85?


I used their calculator and you can see the numbers on a later post.


The thing you are missing Mark is that you are gonna need a bigger roof to get similar energy production. No way 50% of these, which is what you priced out at will come remotely close to what your current system can do.

So let’s say you put 100% on. That what doubles the price?? Doesn’t seem like such a great deal anymore.

One way or another the solar roof will always be more expensive than a regular roof with a PV system on it.

Again, I don’t have a problem with it being more expensive or even marketed as being a premium roof that costs more. It is the whole “it’s cheaper than a regular roof” BS I take issue with.


How do you even know that?! They did not post the output for these tiles so how do you know? The panels i have do not cover the entire roof because the fire codes, the same reason the tiles are installed only on 50% of the roof.

They actually have in prior releases. They had decent efficiency but not great. When coupled with the loss in space because of the tile you will need definitely more space that a run of the mill PV system. Look at it another way. Your 5.5kW system generates you what 10,000 kWh a year roughly? They say you will generate $30k worth of energy from the solar roof over 30 years. Now I don’t know if that is factoring in cost increases, and it probably is but let’s be conservative and say it isn’t. While I don’t know the ins and outs of your bill I can say that 10,000kWh is probably close to $2,000 worth of energy at SCE rates. Hell for me in tiered rates or a mix of TOU it is probably closer to $3k worth of energy with SDGE. Regardless it is nowhere near $1k a year that they say their solar roof will generate. There is no way in hell they are gonna give you a solar roof and generate the same amount of power at a cost less than your asphalt roof and a $2.55 system. Not gonna happen so relax. You got a good… Read more »

The estimated yearly output of my system is 7100KW and 50% solar roof tiles would mean more surface than my existing 17 panels so unless their efficiency is really low i honestly doubt they would not be a great fit for me…especially considering i may need a new roof in 10 years. I do agree, the deal i got from Horizon Solar was ridiculous at the time and still is a great deal today.


As long as your panels are southern and/or west facing I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a lot more that 7,100 oh and not shaded. My 5.9 system generated a little more than 10,000 and I only recently trimmed some trees that definitely cut in to about 10 months of evening production time. In May I have had higher production days than my best in July and Aug of last year.


WOW…nice job on your system!
Mine is 8W, 8E and 1S unfortunately so 7k-8k should be accurate.


The higher May production is not surprising considering the panels output decreases during the really hot summer days.

Ron M

I think you’ll see every major new home builder have a model home with the solar roof and storage battery in every new subdivision they build.
Musk hit a home run with this solar roof, selling it won’t be a problem keeping up with demand will.


I also guarantee that home builders won’t be paying Retail price from the Tesla website.

Especially if a home builder makes it a standard feature of every home they build in an entire subdivision.

It is simply so much cheaper to install on a ton of homes all at the same location that it isn’t even funny.


While normally I would think home builders wouldn’t pay full retail we are talking about a product from the same company whose CEO insists they sell battery systems to electric utilities (including the Australian Government owned ones!) at open, list price.

I don’t think we can be so sure they will give discounts to builders given this.


You are just proving my point. Tesla scales their powerwall prices by volume.


200 kWh/100 kW … $810 per kWh

5,400 kWh/2,500 kW … $596 per kWh

So much fail. The fail is strong with you.


That’s not what that link says. That link simply says that for custom configurations you pay list price for the parts you buy, not parts in some kind of non-customized configuration.

They still quote list price for utilities despite the absurdity of it.


*face palm*

I posted saying that Tesla would likely discount for volume at a single site for a single commercial customer.

The story I then later linked to shows that Tesla indeed already does EXACTLY what I posited with their Powerpack commercial customers.

Your failure to understand is not my problem. I can’t help those who intentionally find ways not to understand, or try to change the topic. Sadly, everybody else understands what I’ve said but those who intentionally work hard not to understand (like yourself).


No, the link does not say that. It says they make customized solutions. So you don’t pay for what you don’t need. It gives list prices for different products. It does not say they give discounts to utilities.

You’re getting confused because the PowerPack has a different price to capacity ratio than a PowerWall. You think that means they are discounting something for utilities. It doesn’t. It just means the different products have different ratios of price to capacity.

Since builders would be buying the same product as you or I, just in a different quantity your link is not in any way applicable to your your argument.


*Double Facepalm*

Wow, you really cannot read, can you?

The 200 kWh/100 kW ESS and the 5,400 kWh/2,500 kW ESS are both POWERPACK products. The price drops with VOLUME.

They even gave you pretty pictures, and you weren’t even able to understand the pictures.


I don’t get why for a 20K in costs they list the tax credit at +$4,800 on Tesla website…..anyone? BTW, i got 6k credit for my $20K panel system…

MTN Ranger

For tax purposes, the whole amount can’t be used since part of it is for roofing and not solar. For example if a replacement roof is $4,000, the solar amount would be $16,000. So the tax credit will be based on the $16,000 ($16,000 x .3 = $4,800)


How did i miss that?! Thanks!


Ya. I was hoping the govt wasn’t gonna give you 30% off the total bill!!!


I was hopping they would…gotta get my money back somehow.

Four Electrics

Opting for this kind of expensive roof is a bet that net metering will be around for 20 years, that the cost of grid solar won’t drop like a stone over the same period, and that the cost of a solar install won’t be significantly cheaper even five years from now.

SolarCity has stopped leasing panels for these reasons. It’s a bad bet. Now they only sell them, to suckers. It’s fine to consciously take the loss for the good of humanity, but expecting ROI is a sucker play.


I have a net metering contract with SCE for 20 years…ops…you didn’t know they have contracts?
So what if solar costs drop in half over the next 10 years when your break in cost is 5-10 years? You do understand that your power is free after the break-even right? Waiting for better prices is a fools game. 5 years from now when you decide solar is a go i will be getting free power while you will have to wait 3-5 more years to get there.


It’s only a bet that net metering will be grandfathered for 20 years, which almost always happens.

Be sure to let us know when utility rates start “dropping like a stone”.


There is a grandfather clause in my contract so it’s real. Anyone buying my house gets to keep the contract terms until the 20 year mark, if you want out for whatever reason just modify the system, add panels, and they will cancel it for sure.


This doesn’t make sense. Every utility that I know of locks you in to a long term agreement that can’t change.

Also, who cares if things get drastically cheaper in 5 years?? In 5 Years (total) i will have paid back the system I put on my house. If I waited I would still be paying ridiculous electricity rates for 5 years and then have to buy a PV system and wait for the payoff. The time is now really. Sure costs will drop but the materials aren’t the biggest factor in the cost of a system anymore it seems, assuming you hire someone to do it for you. Plus the tax credit will likely be gone in 5 years 🙂


This system is not going to pay itself back in 5 years. It’s too expensive for that. A cheap system put in cost-effectively and run at maximum return (don’t generate any excess electricity you can’t get retail net metering for and don’t run short) will pay back in about 5 years. And that’s just for a solar installation, it doesn’t include the cost of the roof underneath it!

This is going to have a much longer payback. The graph above that shows a payback is doing so by counting all electricity generation OVER 30 YEARS. After 5 you won’t even get net down to the price of the long tile roof bar at the bottom.


Correct this system won’t but my PV system however will. Thanks to SDGEs astronomical rates, which just went up another 10%.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

Pfffft. You think SDGE’s $0.50/kWh TOU peak rate is astronomical? Take a look at Con Ed’s super-peak rates for NYC on the TOU plan. (Super-peak 2pm-6pm M-F June through September, Peak 8am-Midnight, Off-peak Midnight-8am)

WARNING: It is strongly advised that you sit down before clicking the link below.

Con Ed recommends not get a TOU plan if you’re a net metering customer, because you can’t use excess solar electricity generated during your peak period to offset your electricity use during off-peak periods.

Per Con Ed
“While Time-of-Use rates are available to all utility customers, they are not recommended to net-metering customers. If you are a net-metering customer enrolled in a Time-of-Use rate plan, credits for excess electricity can only be used to offset consumption in the same time period that the credits were produced. For example, credits produced during the peak period cannot be used to offset your consumption during the off-peak period.”


I see a rate of peak at c20.53 ….is that it? SCE TOU peak is 39 cents so forgive me for not shedding a tear for your 20 cents…..or maybe I’m missing something…


I see 30.9 cents standard rate with a Super Peak of $1.19+/kWh.


Where? I accessed their website and looked at TOU for residential and saw
“June 1 to Sept 30 20.53 cents/kWh 1.45 cents/kWh”
Post a phopo of the screen you are looking at…for a dollar at peak everybody should go solar.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

“June 1 to Sept 30 20.53 cents/kWh 1.45 cents/kWh”

Those rates are for just the TOU delivery rates per the link below. The supply rates under TOU for summer super peak are an extra $1.00/kWh!

The TOU rate calulator is a Shockwave Flash program/app on the webpage below:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

Con Ed specifically prohibits its customers from having both a PV solar system and battery storage system, it’s one or the other.

I did a really rough calculation to see how a PowerWall with no PV solar system would pencil out for me (with Con Ed’s current rate structure) if I tried to arbitrage the $0.1397 TOU off-peak rate against the $0.3090 standard electric rate. The difference between the rates is $0.1693/kWh.

– I use an average of 150 kWh per month (an average 5kWh per day)
– PowerWall round-trip efficiency = 90%
– Cost of PowerWall installed per Tesla website: $6,200

Cost of electricity put into PowerWall: 166.67 kWh off-peak @ $0.1397 = $23.28

Electricity taken out of PowerWall and used: 166.67 kWh x 90% round-trip efficiency = 150 kWh

Cost of standard rate electricity displaced by PowerWall: 150 kWh x $0.3090 = $46.35

Monthly savings from rate arbitrage: $46.35 – $23.28 = $23.07

Yearly savings = $23.07 x 12 = $276.84
Savings over 10 years = $2,768.40
Savings over 15 years = $4,152.60
Savings over 20 years = $5,536.80
Cost of PowerWall installed = $6,200
Breakeven Point = 20+ years


I don’t think (full retail) net metering going away matters. Net metering only works up to break even and with this you can just get a powerwall 2 (or 2) anyway so that you can store the energy and “sell it to yourself” later in the day.

If you are counting on selling excess electricity for actual cash I think you can count on subsidies for that going away long before 20 years. You’ll have to sell it at wholesale and that’s going to hurt your return greatly.


Every state is different but out here the utilities have to credit your account the retail rate of power as long as you use that credit for power. If you have a net credit then they only have to pay you the wholesale rate.

IOW on TOU my on peak rate is 50 cents while my super off peak is 20 (more or less). For every extra kWh I produce during the peak time I can consume 2.5 at night charging my EV.

Now if I don’t consume all that credit, which I didn’t as I can charge at work now this year, I get paid 4 cents per excess. So while I had a power credit of like $800 at my true up I expect that to eventually get converted to a tiny check


Should add this is over an entire year. So excess power generated during summer mid-day gives me 2 to 2.5 as much to consume in the winter or at night for”free”

It depends on state, but it’s quite possible you aren’t being paid even wholesale for net excess power, you are being paid only the SREC value. This is about $0.03-$0.04 per kWh (depends on the year, they are auctioned as carbon offsets). Also, if you are on TOU then there may be a “donut hole” between dollar breakeven and energy breakeven. If you make half as much power as you use but get paid 2.5X for the power you produce (due to TOU rates) then you have a net dollar extra which you get nothing for. Until you generate more energy than you use you get nothing at all. Once you reach energy breakeven you start to receive SREC value. Also beware that if you are on a TOU rate your utility can change the peak and non-peak times to reduce your payback. This happened in California, they moved the peak rates later in the day when the sun is lower. And they un-grandfathered everyone. TOU tariffs set up on 15-20 year grandfathers will be terminated in 2022 and modified even before that. Both these things will reduce payback. And heck, even if all this is “locked down” the utilities… Read more »

Four Electrics,
Do you ever hear yourself talking?
Dude, you are a magnet of misinformation!

Bob Nan
Fantastic. Finally the solar roof has arrived. Are we supposed to remove the shingles and install these solar roofs. Can we install it on top of the current asphalt shingles on a home. And how many sq. ft. of panels is needed to generate 1 KW of electricity. A home owner needs to know this before going for a big investment. First of all these panels, by blocking the sunlight from beaming on the roof, the heat inside the home is reduced and on top of that, it generates electricity. And then it also blocks the asphalt shingles in the roof from rain and snow which helps the shingles underneath the solar roof last much longer. So its a WIN-WIN-WIN proposition. Typically 100 sq. ft. of solar panels generates 1 KW, so a typical home on 1,000 sq. ft. will have 500 sq. ft. sloped roof on either south of west direction and it will generate 5 KW which is more than enough for a home of that size. Besides providing air conditioning needs, it can also provide enough power for your electric car. But we don’t know about how much electricity a sq. ft. of solar tile will generate.… Read more »

If you have a good roof and don’t need to replace your roof, Tesla/Panasonic have a completely different product that is much more like a traditional solar panel, mounted in a low profile rack.



Ya, but that looks like *insert expletive here*

J/K a lot of companies offer that edge or thing these days.


Numbers for my house straight from Tesla website…

“Your Solar Roof can generate $30,300 of energy over 30 years. $30,300

Value of energy
-$18,800 Cost of roof
-$0 Cost of Powerwall battery
+$4,500 Tax credit

709 Roof square footage

$120 Monthly electric bill

0 Powerwall battery

$16,000 Net earned over 30 years.”

I’m so fricking mad i did’t wait for this… This is cheaper than my $2.55/w solar panel system which was $20K before credit…and much nicer.


So again you think the price they quoted you covers a roof and 8kW equivalent PV system?

Dude, I got a bridge I can sell you for real cheap.


My current system is 5.5KW so i don’t need 8KW…


Does it tell you what percent of the 709 sqft is solar tiles vs. dummy tiles? And does it gives kWhs of electricity generation, or just dollar value? Thx


I did the math. His roof would be 50% solar tile and 50% regular tile.

Solar tile is $42/sq ft. Regular tile is $11/sq ft.

He thus would have 355 sq feet of solar tile. The tiles aren’t edge-to-edge cell, so let’s say 300 sq feet of solar area. At reasonable efficiency and the 100 sq feet means 1kW figure above he’s looking at 3kW of generation for that price. Plus a good-looking, long-wearing roof.


3KW would definitely not do it! Where did you get the output data…or i should ask…do you have any output data?
I currently have 17 LG320 panels…


Where did I get the output data? I did the math.

A square foot of solar tile is $42 and a square foot of non-solar tile is $11. The quoted price to him, at a 50-50 ratio will only buy 355 square feet of solar tiles, of which a good portion isn’t actually solar cell so I cut it down to 300 square feet.


I did the math on my existing panels sq ft and the number is 307 sqft. Your 355 sqft of solar tiles is grater so in order to get less production they have to be less efficient than 19.5%….i bet they are more efficient not less and in addition to that they can use more of them on the south facing roof areas. Again, we need the efficiency numbers in order to get a better understanding of this.


… and the cost of capital to you is…

The solar tile roof will never actually pay for itself.


How about if you throw in a reroofing…or 2?…but yes, the tiles need to be a bit more productive in my space.

MTN Ranger

Yikes, $72,700 with a roughly 28 year break even for my roof. I guess it will not be a impulse purchase!


LOL….don’t do it!


You can’t even justify it with the whole “midlife crisis” thing either 🙁

Man cave, Model S/X, Vette all sure but not a fancy roof 🙁

David Beall

But you would think nothing about spending 72,000 on a new kitchen- even though the resale value of the kitchen would tumble, and you would not get a tax break or electric savings

MTN Ranger

Not me. Last year I bought new appliances for my 12 year old house and spent less than $4k. The cabinets and granite still look good. I don’t see why anyone would spend that much on a kitchen unless it was fifty years old or the house was worth multiple millions of dollars.


Ah, so Musk’s comment that it would be comparable to the price of a regular roof before the value of the energy was another big old lie. Not like it wasn’t easy to see it coming.

Actual figures: 33% more expensive than the next most expensive option, and that’s with only 50% solar tile (which to be fair, is a reasonable amount of solar tile for most houses). And 4x the price of a normal asphalt roof. And that’s the STARTING price.

If I ever believe a claim this guy makes please punch me to wake me up. Heck, I don’t even believe that an actual roof will clock in anywhere near the starting price. Oh yeah, and if past history is any indication they’ll raise the price in 9 months.

The roofs are pretty. I really would like one. Heck, I can even afford one. But it’s far from cost-effective. And it’ll be a little harder to scale up to cost-effective than we saw with Tesla’s EVs because unlike those this actually faces competition from far more cost-effective and equivalently functional (but not as aesthetically pleasing) options.


Also gotta love how they use 50% roof as solar tile when calculating the value of the solar energy and 35% of the roof as solar tile when calculating the cost of the roof. I see that as nothing except an attempt to mislead. Is there some other reason that makes sense?

David Beall

Except that it is comparable to proper roof, just not comparable to a cheap 25 roof. Decent roofs should last 500 years – but infinity would be even better

Except that nothing. He didn’t say anything about amortization, he talked about the cost. And no roof lasts forever. No house does. No person (who pays for it) does. And it’ll be functionally obsolete long before it pays back. At the price of this thing, even if it lasted 100 years it would still not amortize out well compared to a composite (“25 year”) roof. Especially if you include the time value of money. I wonder if this includes the cost of beefing up the roof structure to put the tiles on? They say these are half the weight of tile roofs, but tile roofs are so heavy they add significant cost to the house simply to hold the roof up. Tile roofs are so expensive and so expensive to install that a lot of what you think of as a tile roof is actually a metal roof shaped in half rounds with a baked on coating to look like tile. They last as long as tile but cost less. Oh yeah, and how can they get away with saying this is the most durable roof on the market? No way it is more durable than metal. Just like tile… Read more »

Here is an attempt at calculating the solar output of a tile.

They say the methodology is similar to CR’s report (linked above). That’s a 3,000 sq ft roof, generating $53K of electricity over 30 years. With 35% solar cells on the roof (as they indicate) that means 1050 square feet of solar generating roof.

They say $0.137/kWh electricity price in year one and an escalation of 2% per year. So that’s an average price of $0.1853/kWh electricity price over the 30 years.

So $53K is 283023kWh. That’s 9534kWh per year.it’s 26.10kWh per day. Over 1050 square feet that’s 24.8Wh/square foot per day. With 4 solar hours per day (kind of average for the US) that’s 6.2W per square foot. I don’t know exactly how big a tile is (and by that I mean the exposed area). But it would seem to come out to no more than 10W per solar tile.


6.2W/sq ft would be pretty bad. That means it is much lower than conventional panel.

Assuming your number is correct.

Typical 3’x5′ solar panels generates about ~300W at peak. That is about 20W /sq ft.


Not bad, i think you are close.
I would think the output numbers will be grater for the southern parts of US.


That was for ModernMarvelFan…
I too believe unlucky is lowballing the tiles a bit. I have 18w/sqft on the panels so i would be shocked if the tile is 3 times lesss efficient.


Even though the tile is only 2/3rds (25″ out of 36″ expose) cell compared to a panel which is over 90% cell by area?

If you are in a good solar area of the country then you would make 30% more electricity. Because you’d have a bit over 5 solar hours per day (average) instead of 4.

If you think this is disastrously low, remember that it is an installed figure. Presumably already derated for some losses, non-optimal orientation, etc.


I get the same numbers. It comes to a little less than 7% efficient relative to gross area and 10% based on active area.

Good panels today are ~20%. That’s typically 15-18% installed due to non-optimal orientation and other installation effects. Still, it seems the micro-louvers take a pretty heavy toll.


Looking more closely, the glass and textured tiles are not 6″ x 12″ with the top half exposed, like the slate tile Musk is holding in the picture. They are 14″ x 8.65″ (see “Warranty and Specs” graphic above). I presume 14 x 5.65″ is exposed. Assuming two 5″ x 5″ cells, that’s about 63% active area.

This makes the efficiency of the active area closer to 11%. Still looks like the micro-louvers cause a 30%+ hit.


I think the length 14″ is the side to overlap so in this case the solar cell may be 8″x8″….again, speculating.


Look at the pics of smooth glass and textured tiles installed. They’re different than the other two. There is no side overlap. The width of the exposed area is >2x the height.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven

Under Warranty and Specs it says Roof Pitch 3:12 to vertical. I wonder if Tesla would install the roof tiles on a fence or wall running along the property line that has southern exposure and no shade issues. The angle to the sun wouldn’t be optimal especially in summer, but the lower angle of the sun in winter wouldn’t be as bad.


Probably more to do with the ability of the shingles to repel water. They can effectively repel water as long as the angle is steep enough. Below that angle, they are completely ineffective.

This is the same as with any other overlapping roofing material that relies upon gravity directing the water off of the roof, vs. flat roof roofing materials that can withstand water pooling on the surface.


I’m sure you’re both right. It would work and they’d do it. Also note that solar panels are often installed vertically in Alaska. You could side the south-facing portion of your house with them if you’d like and they’d function to protect and generate.

One of the Denali visitor buildings has solar windows. They don’t capture much, but they could put Tesla shingles on the same side of the building and thus make that entire side of the building solar-generating.


why wouldn’t Tesla list those specs? W/sq or W/tile would be helpful in determining the cost and amount of tiles need for particular roof.

I also assuming there will be some kind of micro inverters that deal with shading or other issues?

Sorry, it looks cool but it is still early and expensive. Kind of like Tesla Roadster level of product…

Maybe if the price halves, then it would have a huge incentives to install them.

Maybe on my next house.


when you can get 400K reservations for a car that you offered no info on why would you go and change thing up when it comes to your solar part of the biz? It’s Tesla’s way of doing things unfortunately…


1. Because they are refundable reservation.
2. Because certain spec/promises are released. 0-60mph under 5 seconds, more than 215 miles in range, top safety rating, SC hardware capable…etc. Yes, they are promises but generally Tesla delivers. So, they aren’t reservation on blank wishful thinking. Yes, there were about 100K people who did it before those specs were announced but they did it because it is refundable.



1) It seems like the default for the calculator is 50% solar cells. So if you have a very large roof, it does the math using a massive amount of solar cells. The only way to get a more realistic quote seems to be to “Edit assumptions” and put in your actual monthly electric bill. Then it will adjust the price to fit actual needs and actual price.

2) Everybody seems to be fixated on comparing a premium roofing product with an infinite warranty, to the price of a non-premium asphalt roofing with relatively short lifespan. This is a repeat of the error of comparing the price of a Nissan Versa to buying a Model S, as if the only factor between the two cars was how much it cost in fuel to get from point A to point B, as if there were no other differences between them.

1) It does seem to be 50%. But the slider to reduce that figure is right next to the figures, you don’t have to click “edit assumptions”. They seem to set it to 50% because it makes their ROI numbers look best. They also set your electric bill to as high a figure as necessary to “use up” the electricity produced, thus hiding the miserable return on excess electricity. If you lower your electric bill and then crank up the solar percentage of your roof it starts to show completely useless figures of “net earned”, ones you cannot realize because you can’t actually sell excess electricity at the same value as self-consumption. And 50% is the highest possible reasonable figure for solarization of your roof. For very few houses does even half the roof face south. And north-facing areas produce very little electricity (in the US!). 2) I fail to see the error here. If I am forced to buy a Model S even though I wanted a Versa just to get the functionality why should I not count the extra cost? If I buy a LEAF (which is basically a Versa) do I pretend it cost me no more… Read more »

wow. So much fail. The fail is with you.


Based on the models exposed during the last year presentation and the photos of the product the tiles are 12″x6″ with a solar cell of 5″x5″



The top half will be overlapped. So that means 25″ of solar cell per 36″ of exposed tile. It also means 4 tiles per square foot or about $10.50/solar tile. $2.75 per non-solar tile. The latter seems rather optimistic for any kind of decorated tile. But I did calculate above it is $42/sq foot of solar tile and $11/sq foot of non-solar.


“So that means 25″ of solar cell per 36″ of exposed tile. ”
Come on, you are smarter than this…
The part that get overlapped will have another cell on top so you can actually fit 4 cells in a sq ft. So you will have 100 sq inch on a sg ft so 44″ will be lost which is significant, 30% less. So compared with my panels which have 18.18w/sqft if these tiles lose 30% then it will be 12.72w/sqft asuming same efficiency at around 19.5%…which should be achievable since their panels are at 22%. Anyway, it looks like in my case i would need $4000 more to cover the same production i have now from my panels. Still a great deal considering roof replacing and such…


Yes, I am smarter than that. I did take into account what you say. I presumed that 25 out of every 36 square inches of exposed area would be solar cell. That’s over half. If I had presumed that the top half was exposed then I couldn’t possibly have presumed that OVER HALF of the exposed area was solar cell, right?

I said 25 sq inch out of every 36 sq inch area is solar cell. You said that 100 out of every 144 is solar cell. These are the exact same ratios, 69.4444%.

We both calculated the same rate of loss. So who is the one not being smart here?


…i think i need to get some sleep.


I haven’t read all the comments but essentially most seem to be focusing on the cost of the roof vs the cost of a conventional roof. Why does any of Tesla’s brand make you think cheap? This is all about value for money not about cheapest thing on the market. The model S is not the cheapest car it is the cheapest really fast big luxury car. This is a pretty cheap designer roof with lots of poncy designer roof facts and figures to bore the crap out of your neighbors with. The graphs are suitably vague and the payback calculations pretty ropy. Adding a $100k designer solar roof to a $2 million home makes at least as much sense as buying a Model S or a power wall.

The reason I love Tesla is because it lets rich people buy nice stuff that benefits the rest of us.


People are comparing cost to a conventional roof because Musk said it would be cheaper than a conventional roof.


Kinda disingenuous on that hail test too. Less unbacked area exposed. Should have turned it and mounted it the same way as the others.


Just curious, does the tesla powerwall comes also with a 30 year warranty? no degradation and aging over 30 years for both solar tiles and powerwall? I doubt that…


As mentioned by Consumer Reports the Powerwall 2 comes with a 10 year warranty only and you should expect to replace it multiple times across the 30 year period. Tesla ignores this factor when calculating their payback period. Note that replacement Powerwalls likely would be cheaper than your initial ones as prices will likely drop over the 10 years (or more) before you get your first replacement.


thanks for the heads-up on that. It’s probably not the only cost factor that tesla ignores in their calculation. would be also interesting to know what kind of maintenance is recommended.

As mentioned by many others, the cool factor and looks of the solar tiles (or maybe more important the cool factor of Tesla) will be the major selling point for some wealthy households. financially they don’t make sense IMO vs. standard solar panels.


Tesla’s head battery researcher also just announced that they’ve managed to double the lifespan of Tesla’s Powerwall batteries. So depending on when those improvements make it into production, and when you buy your Powerwall, 20+ years may be possible.

And if/when you have to replace a Powerwall in 10-20 years, the latest technology at that point will likely be even better and even cheaper.


Price is not an issue. Just as an example: Dubai wants ALL roofs to be solar by 2030.
Tesla will be able to sell as many tiles as they can possibly manage to produce.


In about four years, when my kid is out of school, I’ll be contracting to have a house built.

Guess what will be on the roof.


“Guess what will be on the roof.”

Based on teh cost of money calculation shown below, it will be several thousand more dollars net than a high-quality conventional roof.


I think the ony post here that addresses Cost of Capital (Cost of Money) was from Unlucky. This is a real issue and it crushes the idea that the solar roof “pays for itself”.

Using Tesla calculator with favorable rounding…
(1) Pay Tesla $65k for a roof (~2000sqft) and $7k for the battery.
(2) Get $20k off your income tax bill
(3) Save $2250/yr energy ($68k over 30yr)
(4) Net out-of-pocket in year 1 is $52k, so the “savings” is $68k – $52k = $16k …

Says Tesla accounting.

Here’s what the calculator omits.

The difference between $52k and ~$20K for a nice “conventional” roof is $32k.

(1) Put the $32k in a decent tax-free muni fund paying 3%.
(2) At year 15 withdraw $31.5k for a new conventional roof (accounts for inflation); the muni account is now at $16.9k.
(3) At 30 years the value of the muni account is $26.3k

SO… when you include a very reasonable 3% cost of capital the real net value of the roof is the energy savings MINUS the opportunity cost of the 30-year value of the bond fund:
$16k – $26.3k ~ ($10k)

It COSTS YOU MORE net to enjoy the “savings” promised by the solar roof.

Tesla accounting prevails over the innnumerate popular mind once again.


Of course I did not include at least one replacement of the Powerwall during this period.


You did not inclue it because that is just an option…


You can call restoring your storage capacity to a usful level “an option”. It’s a bit like saying replacement of worn-out valve seats on an ICE is “an option”, the “option” being able to operate somewhere close to rated power. Storage of excess generation is essential as net metering value continues to regress in may markets. The Powerwall makes the economic model work, and with the capacity being greaty diminished roughly halfway through the 30-year model you need to replace it.


In order for the powrwall2 to make sense these “net metering values” that you talk about have to change dramatically, fees imposed for solar and such. We are nowhere close to that and especially not in the big markets which are the ones that matter anyway. So leave the fricking wall out because as it stands today cost wise is not a viable solution.


… and yet it’s the way Tesla described it in their presentation.


But anyhow, do take it out and the installation of a $65k roof ALMOST has the same net (AFTER energy savings) as a conventional roof. After 30 years.

Still dumb.


I think they need to increase the tile efficiency a bit to make it more appealing but as it is there are many areas in Cali (SanFran or beach cities) where the land is expensive so houses have 2-3 stories and small roofs…that should be the target market for now since in such cases you can actually make money having such roofs. In my case you wolud probably save about 10k over 30 years…and let’s not forget this looks much better than regular roofing. Not for everyone at this time…


Yeah, the Powerwall makes zero economic sense for most people. It’s a feel-good thing that will rarely be used.

In the future that could change, but for now it’s just fluff.


You failed to account for appreciation in home value for a home with a premium infinity guarantee roof with solar, over a conventional non-premium roof home without solar.

Also, you failed to account for the electricity costs that would have chewed into that money you put into that muni, since you didn’t account for putting solar on the roof or installing some other battery backup system. Here is the fixed equation just to account for that:

(1) Put the $32k in a decent tax-free muni fund paying 3%.
(1a) Each month subtract your electricity bill from the $32k. This reduces return and balance.
(2) At year 15 withdraw $31.5k for a new conventional roof (accounts for inflation); the muni account is now at $????? (needs recalculation to account for electric bills)
(3) At 30 years the value of the muni account is $????? (needs recalculation to account for electric bills)

If you intended to include the price of solar panels and the price of some other brand of battery backup, you failed to do so.

Your math is a spectacular fail on epic levels.


How to properly measure ROI of normal residential solar, net metered:


…except it’s really not. The opportunity cost of the $12k expense is never addressed.


As opposed to the opportunity cost of any other $12k investment?

You can subtract the risk free rate if you want.


OK, so it’s NOT a “properly measured ROI”. Thanks.

People seem to be confused on the break-even numbers in Tesla’s calculator. The confusion centers around the fact that people are used to just calculating how long until the solar panels pay for themselves, with no regard to the cost of installing a new roof under their solar panels. The payback on these calculations may be 10yrs, 5yrs, maybe even less if you DIY in some places. But that isn’t what the Tesla calculator is calculating. The calculator is telling you what it will take to not only pay off the solar portion of the costs, but how long it will take to pay off the premium infinite warranty roof AFTER ALREADY paying off the cost of the solar itself. ——————————– If you were installing a new premium infinite lifetime roof before installing a set of traditional solar panels, you could calculate the same numbers. After doing the math on paying off the solar panels, you could calculate how many more years it would take to pay off the underlying roof. Then and only then would you have a valid comparison to the numbers provided on the Tesla calculator. ——————————- The the TL:DR folks: The calculator is telling you how… Read more »