If you’ve assumed Tesla Solar roofs would be priced sky high, prepare to be amazed.
The company opened up ordering last week and they priced, on average, at $21.85 per square foot. That’s less than the cost of a regular roof, taking into consideration the energy savings over a 30-year period.
These roofs aren’t 100 percent solar tiles — they’re a mix of non-active tiles and active solar tiles, depending on the energy needs of a house. Non-active tiles cost $11 per square foot; active solar tiles cost $42 per square foot. So for a house needing 35 percent solar panels, the cost works out to $21.85 per square foot. There are lots of variables in determining the percentage of active tiles, of course, like the location of the home and shape and height of the roof.
To put this in perspective, Consumer Reports estimated that a solar roof needs to be $24.50 per square foot to be competitive with other kinds of roofing materials.
You can calculate your home’s exact energy needs using the Tesla energy calculator. This looks at the 30-year production of energy of a solar roof, the flat cost to purchase the roof, estimated tax credit, and adjusted cost based on the cost of electricity.
That tax credit, by the way, is a 30-percent Solar Investment Tax Credit, which applies to the cost of the solar tiles and associated solar energy equipment, as well as the cost of the Powerwall batteries. The Powerwall battery costs $7,000 and stores energy from the solar roof for use on cloudy days or during nighttime.
The Tesla solar roof is made from tempered glass over a photovoltaic substrate. The company says the tiles are three times stronger than things like slate or asphalt tiles. They’re also half the weight of other roofing materials. They are currently available in a gray smooth or black textured material. Next year, Tuscan and slate-look tiles will become available.
What about a warranty? Tesla glass solar tiles are warrantied for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.
Installations will start in June, beginning with California and rolling out to additional markets over time. Tesla will do the installations themselves.