Tesla Solar Roof: Another Step Closer To Tesla’s Mission

Red Tesla Model X and Tesla Solar Roof

MAY 12 2017 BY EVANNEX 23

Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla Solar Roof in Smooth Glass – Available now


For most folks, their two biggest lifestyle decisions (and life purchases) tend to be their car and their home. Let’s face it — where you live and what you drive say a lot about you. The other day, Tesla opened up sales for their new solar roof tiles. It’s certainly a remarkable product. But this product launch represents something even bigger… it begins to crystallize Elon Musk’s vision for creating a complete clean energy lifestyle.

*This article comes to us courtesy of Evannex (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

Apple created a tech device ecosystem connecting their laptops, tablets, and phones. Could Tesla be creating a more impactful ecosystem than Apple — a clean energy ecosystem connecting cars, batteries, and homes? Bloomberg* reports, “the solar roof is the grand unification of Tesla’s clean-energy ambitions.”

Elon Musk explains: “These are really the three legs of the stool for a sustainable energy future. Solar power going to a stationary battery pack so you have power at night, and then charging an electric vehicle.” Tesla’s tuscan solar roof tiles (Source: Tesla)

Tesla Solar Roof

Coming in 2018 Tesla Solar Roof In Tuscan Tiling

Tesla Solar Roof

Also arriving in 2018, Tesla Solar Roof in Slate

And soon Tesla’s stores will serve up this 360 degree clean energy lifestyle:

“Tesla is going after an Apple Store strategy for solar power after acquiring SolarCity… [as] Tesla has halted door-to-door sales of solar panels and begun testing solar sales in its auto stores. Initial trials found the new strategy was 50 to 100 percent more effective… [and] over the next six months, more than 70 stores will be staffed for solar sales.”

Above: A look at Tesla’s new solar roof (Source: Bloomberg*)

Can this clean energy lifestyle permeate the masses? Sure, Tesla’s Model 3 will be launching with a (relatively) economic price point. But, will Tesla’s elegant solar roof solution be affordable for homeowners?

“The pricing is better than I expected, better than everyone expected,” said Hugh Bromley, a solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance [BNEF]. Tesla’s cost of active solar tiles is about $42 per square foot, “significantly below” BNEF’s prior estimate of $68 per square foot, Bromley said. Inactive tiles will cost $11 per square foot, and Tesla says to expect an overall average of roughly $22 per square foot.


Tesla does some math

“It is the most affordable roof you can buy, all things considered,” said Peter Rive, co-founder of Tesla’s recently acquired SolarCity division. Furthermore, “Tesla will manage the entire process of solar roof installation, including removal of existing roofs, design, permits, installation and maintenance.” Tesla is transforming into a one-stop-shop to help wean the world from its deadly addiction to fossil fuels. That said, be sure to check out if Tesla’s solar roof might be right for you. This product could represent the start of something special.

===*Source: Bloomberg / Images: Tesla

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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23 Comments on "Tesla Solar Roof: Another Step Closer To Tesla’s Mission"

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Yeah. They are selling a lifestyle.

Metal roofs are becoming popular, but I always thought the price they charge is crazy expensive. If Tesla is undercutting the price of traditional high-end roofing and adding solar at the same time that would make for a pretty compelling product

The $22 per square foot average cost is based on a mix of 35% active Tesla Solar Tiles, while the bar chart for Solar Roof With Energy Value figure of -$2 per square foot is based on a mix of 50% active Tesla Solar Tiles. At $42/square foot, active solar tiles cost significantly more than the $11 inactive non-solar tiles. Thus, to buy the Tesla Solar Roof used in the bar chart comparison, it would cost significantly more than $22 per square foot.

See footnotes 1 and 3 at the end of the article below for the 35% and 50% discrepancy.

Yes, so the cost for 50-50 should be $26.5/sqft. They need to redo the math…

The average American home is just under 2400 sq feet and needs 35% active tile to satisfy 99% of electricity needs.

Of course if you have 3 electric cars each accumulating 15k miles per year, you set your air conditioning at 65 degrees F, have an extra refrigerator and chest freezer in the garage,and have a heated/cooled Olympic sized pool you are gonna need more active tiles.

And the average person putting a roof like this on lives in 5000 sqft. I’d expect that the average person who installs solar lives more southern than average and uses more a/c. And on and on.
35% coverage to meet 99% of needs is a pipe dream with EVs

It is both prices. They would be smart to provide both. Actually, they should provide a 70% number too.

sure, anybody can calculate these for themselves, but for people who can’t to math they might as well provided it right in the calculator. They could put the cost for whatever mix is there.

The short sellers still don’t understand that Tesla is more than just a car company. They just announced there largest deal for storage batteries to date in Vermont. Musk does things other not all don’t even dream of.
So now they have installed batteries in California, Hawaii the UK and soon Vermont. There’s also a very small island that went 100% solar and battery they did.

One thing to keep in mind about the solar roof, is that the payback calculator isn’t just telling you what the payback is for the solar cells in the roof.

It is telling you what the payback is for the electricity savings to pay for the solar cells, the roof, and the Powerwall.

In order to compare to traditional solar installs, you have to do more math after calculating the payback for the cost of the solar panels/racks/inverts/etc.

In order to make a valid comparison, you have to then calculate how many years of electricity generation it will take to pay for a powerwall (or other battery system).

Then calculate how many years of electricity generation it will take to pay for a premium infinite warranty roof. Because that is included in the Tesla numbers.


Finally, keep in mind that like high end steel roofing, most insurance companies will give you an insurance discount for having a top-rated roof that is rated against hail, wind storm, and fire resistance rating.

Premium 30 year (not infinite) warranty roof for the things that matter: weatherization and power production.

The Tuscan style roof will need to also have different glazing colors available to be successful! Many communities have a particular color of Tuscan tile and new tiles must match in color. Also, the important part of a Tuscan style roof is the paper underneath the tiles. If you are going to have your roof replaced it is a must to have 2 forty year or fifty year papers laid down at slightly different angles underneath of your new Tesla Tuscan Tiles. As far a weather is concerned the tiles are for heavy water shed, however during a significant downpour, it is the underlying papers that truly protect the wood structure underneath from that which no tiles can do. Also, very old papers may have curled, dried, cracked beyond repair.

The numbers they cite for the roof “paying for itself” have a couple big issues:
1) They calculate that electricity will get more expensive at a rate of 2% per year (basically inflation). The reality is that, inflation corrected, electricity has never been cheaper. Tesla themselves are introducing products (battery storage & solar) that will make electricity even cheaper the more it’s rolled out. So it’s likely that electricity will be cheaper in the future (not to mention the solar equipment to produce it).
2) What if I do something crazy and NOT live in the same house for 35 years… like 99% of the population. In one year, will my house value increase enough to offset the $$$ I paid for the panels? What about 10 years from now? When solar panels are even cheaper and more efficient, will someone give me 60% premium on my house to cover that still unfulfilled electricity saving? Probably not.

1) We are in an abnormal cycle both for monetary inflation rates, and electrical rates. Predicting those cycles will remain the same for 30 years is like in 2006 predicting that housing prices will continue to rise at the current rates. Tesla actually uses a significantly LESS aggressive 2% number compared to typical solar calculators that use 3 or more percent. 2) You will get some percent of your upgrade value, just like when you update your kitchen, or remodel bathrooms, finish your basement, or put a brand new roof on your house (without solar). If you are going to move in 1 year, you will lose money on ANY solar install. If you buy an EV or gas car and sell it in 1 year, you will lose a lot of money. Avoid it if at all possible. Keep in mind that your payback for the solar cells alone is a SUBSET of the how many years of electricity it takes to pay for the solar cells, then pay for the optional powerwall, then pay for the cost of a premium roof. Each of those are bundled in Tesla’s numbers, but if you were comparing to installing some other… Read more »

An abnormal cycle? With the exception of a few spikes for world wars and the 70s energy crisis, technology has been decreasing electricity prices (inflation corrected) since it started being delivered to households a hundred years ago. Batteries in infrastructure promise to even accelerate this as power companies don’t need to revert to inefficient emergency generation and harness more “free” energy via solar and wind.

Yes, and abnormal cycle. Natural gas fracking has poured an abnormally high amount of natural gas into the market, driving down price. Please read up on Chesapeake Energy and NG leases to understand why.

Electricity generation is only about half of what you pay for in your bill. Grid/distribution is the other half. Grid costs and distribution costs are not going down, and absolutely will go up over the next 30 years. The grid has been neglected for the last 10-20 years, and we will have to pay for that neglect.

It isn’t possible to simply ignore monetary inflation rates. They are real, they exist, and they have to be included in the calculations. Yes, we have been in an abnormally low inflation cycle since 2008, even going through deflation. Believing that the inflation (deflation) rates over the last decade will continue for 30 years is like believing in 2006 that housing prices would continue going up at the same rate forever.

None of this is controversial.

Electricity buffering via batteries will drastically reduced grid costs. You can modularize the grid. You think the widespread introduction of batteries to the electricity delivery will increase electric prices? If that was the case power companies wouldn’t be adding them.
Also don’t confuse currency manipulation we’ve been performing since our conversation to fiat currency with the natural course of events. A society with increasing automation and/or population growth will naturally have it’s currency deflate. That is if it isn’t being artificially manipulated, like all fiat currency is.

No, I don’t believe that all of our grid problems will be solved within the next 10, 20, or even 30 years by any technology. Especially if electricity replaces gas over that same timeframe. That will be a longer term project. This calculator isn’t based upon the end results of a multi-decade transition from Grid provided power and gas cars, to a distributed power generation and storage system with electric cars. The savings of the money spent to invest in that transition will not be fully realized 10, 20, or even 30 years from now. I know everybody wants this all to happen fast, but these transitions typically take 40 years to complete and pay off. Until then you have to continue to spend and invest into that future payoff. This calculator is based upon the realities now going forward. Not on where we will be 20-40 years from today after we’ve spent money on all those upgrades. Those are the exact costs that I’m referring to that we will have to pay for out of our electricity bills. “widespread” use will take decades to complete buildout. Meanwhile we will still have to pay for our decaying grid until that… Read more »

There are a lot of forces at work on the price of grid electricity. One that is not much reflected yet is the price of carbon dioxide emissions: that will be inflationary.

Technology drives the cost of solar and wind to affordable levels, but batteries are an expensive option. For my situation right now buying a Powerwall would be like setting 5 grand on fire. It’s hard for anyone to justify them unless you live off grid or you have mandatory and punitive time of use pricing.

These Tesla products are just crazy expensive for a lot of people to think about when they still have to pay to connect to the grid, which provides them with 99+% reliability and affordable prices. Your prices may vary, but when we’re talking about a $6,000 roof and paying $100/month for electricity vs a $30,000 roof and not paying for electricity, well it takes a crazy long time to make up that $24,000, especially if you consider investing that 24k at 3% return.

If I were building new, on a site with good solar access, I’d consider these tiles though, especially if the neighborhood is upscale enough to reward the glitz.

“Technology drives the cost of solar and wind to affordable levels, but batteries are an expensive option.” Yes, but the cost vs. benefit analysis is very different for electric utilities than it is for individual home owners or commercial building owners. The grid is very sensitive to moment-by-moment and minute-by-minute supply and demand. Just a few seconds’ or a few minutes’ storage of power would be of great benefit to utilities; the seconds it takes to balance the output of a wind farm sped up or slowed down by a gust of wind, or the few minutes it takes to spin up a standby gas-fired power plant. There is no comparison for individual home owners or commercial building owners. Just a few minutes’ storage isn’t going to help them at all, other than providing a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) if there is a brief local blackout. The great cost benefit for electric utilities from installing a relatively tiny amount of grid-level energy storage will create — heck, has already created — a large potential market for stationary battery packs. Assuming that market develops — and why wouldn’t it? — that will drive a beneficial cycle of increasing production and decreasing… Read more »

So I am building new in a glitzy area….
Outside of a single large west side Elm tree, I am pretty good.

The interesting thing about the tiles is that you could balance the sun/timing a bit. I currently have east facing tiles. The new house will have southern panels but the tiles could put 80% south, 10% east, 10% west or something like that. Would stabilize my production. I pay demand rates so what I really need is western exposure – that darn elm tree…. But honestly, I could pick a west area with the least blockage from that tree. Aesthetics wouldn’t matter. That does have some value….

If Tesla’s mission is to ever further into debt whilst attempting to implement ever more loss-making ideas then yes this is another step closer. It’s also another step closer to Chapter 11.

Look, a new troll username has appeared in Alex a.

Spiegel revisted?