How much do you know about Tesla’s solar roof?

Will the Tesla solar roof be a game changer for solar energy, asks Adam Hammill, president and CEO of ALIVE Industries?
Published: Fri 06 Jan 2017

Global warming is a reality that we all are living in. Constant burning of fuel and overheating of our earth’s atmosphere is changing our planet. The design of the Tesla solar roofs looks to bring a refreshing change in the way we consume our solar energy for commercial as well as residential purposes. The sun provides enough energy in one hour to power our earth for one year, and a solar roof is an attractive way to capture this free energy and coupled to a battery, to store it to power homes and factories.

Solar energy is not a new concept, but commercialising it for household use is a whole different story. In many developed countries, more and more homes are opting for this clean energy source, not only to cut down on their bills but also to reduce their carbon prints on our atmosphere. This tremendous prospect of saving big bucks while doing our part on this planet has undergone some criticism. Many wonder whether this alternate energy source can overcome non-renewable fuels in the coming years – let’s find out.

Potential for solar roofs

Over 5 million new roofs in the United States gets rooftop solar panels every year, and the number is even bigger for roofs worldwide, so there is a market for this type of solar roof. With coming years, almost every house could become a solar home and so the future is even brighter and better.

New technologies will result in new and more advanced solar panels, which will be more impact and weather resistant. Solar energy commercialisation is a relatively new concept, and with the prospects of new technology, solar roofs have a brilliant potential.

Average cost of Tesla solar roof installation

There are a number of solar shingle products by Tesla for the residential sector. Each shingle has a 15cm (6-inch) solar cell, which is assumed of the highest efficiency and can generate 6W maximum per shingle. When you combine one thousand shingles, it will become a 6kW system with 2,000 connectors for 1,000 shingles. A typical residential roof wouldn’t be fully covered with solar shingles, and to complete the design, Tesla offers dummy shingles to fill the gaps. There will be approximately 2,000 dummy shingles for 1,000 solar shingles.

This will cost around $15,000, which will give you a powerful solar panel that will generate 9,000kWh per year and will help you save up to $2,500 per year on energy bills. This is a roughly estimated cost, which can differ depending upon the size and surface area of the roof.

Here is the payback time of the Tesla solar system, based on their average cost:

  • Standard solar system – 6.5 years payback

  • Tesla retrofit – 11 years payback

  • Tesla production home – 8.2 years payback

  • Tesla custom home – 11 years payback.

These figures are based on assuming ITC applies on the whole project, which may not be the case for non-solar roofing. This cost does not include the traditional roof tiling.  

Will Tesla solar roof become a game changer for solar energy?

Tesla with its new Powerwall 2 is predicted to be a game changer for the residential energy storage market. The company has managed to double the energy storage with their new technology, without significantly increasing the price, and so this is just the beginning of a future with solar energy. Even though there are many other big names in the solar industry, Tesla has managed to make its mark in the residential sector in the United States and soon will launch a programme of increasing their global impact.

Incorporating solar energy into our lives will soon become a necessity instead of a choice, and when that day comes, Tesla is likely to be at the forefront to help every commercial and residential space to power themselves with solar energy.

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