Tesla Solar Roof Cost: Price Breakdown and Guide (2022)

By Jon Jachura

A solar roof to your home can add thousands of dollars of value and significantly lower or eliminate your energy bills. The Tesla Solar Roof is a fantastic way to go green without adding solar panels to your roof. And while the Solar Roof has an expensive upfront cost, it can pay for itself after a handful of years and provide you with days of backup energy with the Powerwall.

Tesla Solar Roof Equipment Price Breakdown

For an average home, the Tesla Solar Roof will cost between $40,000 to $50,000, assuming a 6.14 kW system. And while the Tesla Solar Roof shingles cost less per watt than the national average solar cost, several other factors can increase the cost beyond a traditional system. However, homeowners should keep in mind that they will also have a completely new roof, not just a solar energy system. Additionally, residents purchasing a new solar system will qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Credit and other rebates (depending on their state). These rebates and incentives help make the Solar Roof more affordable.

Solar Glass

Not every shingle in a Tesla Solar Roof is solar generating. There are two reasons why – you don’t need all the shingles to be solar to generate enough energy to power your home, and it helps keep the overall system cost down. These tempered glass shingles look similar to slate shingles, and their inactive counterparts match them exactly. The active shingles are 15″ x 45″, produce 71.67 watts, and cost about $1.80 per watt to install. Their cost is far lower than the $3 per watt average for traditional solar panels, but that’s not all you need to complete your Solar Roof.

Image credit: Tesla Image credit: Tesla

Non-Solar Shingles and Roofing Materials

A major portion of the Tesla Solar Roof is inactive shingles, meaning they have no solar energy capturing (photovoltaic) electronics in them at all. These inactive shingles look just like the solar versions and are indistinguishable from the ground. If your roof is 1,800 square in area, your costs for inactive shingles and roofing materials will fall between $23,500 and $33,000. The major factors influencing the total cost are your roof’s size and complexity.

Tesla has three roof complexity ties, with simple roofs costing about 38% less than complex ones:

  • Complex roofs – $18.54 per square foot: Multi-level roofs with a steep roof pitch, many obstructions, and a very crowded mounting plane.
  • Intermediate roofs – $15.30 per square foot: Multi-level roofs with a high roof pitch, some obstructions, and a crowded mounting plane.
  • Simple roofs – $13.38 per square foot: Single-level roofs with a low roof pitch, minimal obstructions, and an uncrowded mounting plane.

Powerwall

The Tesla Powerwall costs an additional $11,000 for each battery. Although you don’t need Tesla’s Powerwall battery to use the Solar Roof, it does help make your home even more energy efficient. For example, it stores extra solar energy your home produces during the day for your home to use at night or on cloudy days. And if your power goes out, you can also use it as a battery backup. You can also use this energy storage to charge electric vehicles.

Additional Costs

Besides the solar tiles, non-solar shingles, and the Powerall (if you opt for one), there are additional costs for the Solar Roof’s installation. However, the major component is the removal of your old roof. Permitting, prep, and electrical work add on some costs too.

Roof Removal

If Tesla needs to remove your existing roof for the Solar Roof installation, they will charge you for it. It costs around $6,500 to remove an average roof, and Tesla arranges roofers to do the work. However, some homeowners can bypass this extra charge if they have a good-condition roof of less than 3/8-inch thick, 3-tab asphalt shingles. Tesla can install the Solar Roof directly over the existing shingles in this case.

If you’re wondering if other types of roofing material can stay on, you’re out of luck. You will have to remove cedar shingles, concrete tiles, architectural shingles, etc., before Tesla can install the Solar Roof.

Permitting, Roof Prep, and Electrical

Tesla takes care of the permitting, roof preparations, inverters, and electrical hookups itself, so you don’t have to worry about it. However, the company doesn’t break down these individual costs. Instead, they’re baked into the overall equipment, and installation cost you pay for the solar roof.

Tesla Solar Roof Vs. Solar Panels and a New Roof

If you’re considering a Tesla Solar Roof for your home, you’re probably weighing it against other renewable energy sources, like traditional solar panels. While solar panels don’t provide the same curb appeal as the Solar Roof, they are still much more affordable, even if you get a new roof along with it.

Cost Tesla Solar Roof Solar Panels + New Roof
Total Cost $40,000 to $50,000 $30,000
Solar System $12,000 (solar producing shingles) $17,000
Old Roof Removal $6,500 $1,000
Roof Replacement $21,500 (non-solar shingles and other materials) $12,000

The Tesla Solar Roof costs between $40,000 and $50,000. If the solar roof costs $40,000 for a 6.14 kW system, about $12,000 is for the solar shingles, $6,500 is for roof removal, and $21,500 is for the roof replacement.

On the other hand, a 6.14 kW traditional solar panel system would cost around $17,000, roof tear-off is about $1,000, and roof replacement is approximately $12,000. However, if you have a good asphalt shingle roof and don’t need a new one, your costs will just be $17,000 for the solar panel system.

Tesla Solar Roof Warranty

The Tesla Solar Roof comes with a 25-year product warranty, a 25-year weatherization warranty, and a 25-year module warranty. So, you can expect your Solar Roof to last at least 25 years, which is on par with all leading solar panel systems. However, most solar panels have only a 10-year or 12-year product warranty.

If you decide to add on the Powerwall, it has a 10-year warranty as well. All of the Solar Roof equipment has high durability and can withstand impacts and storms.

Tesla Solar Roof Financing & Incentives

You can finance your Tesla Solar Roof through a loan, lease, or power purchase agreement (PPA). If you choose to finance your roof with a loan, you’ll probably get a better deal through Tesla than another lender. That’s because solar loans are still relatively new, and most banks don’t offer them yet.

If you decide to lease your Solar Roof, Tesla will own it, and you’ll make monthly payments. The benefit of leasing is that you don’t have to come up with all the money upfront. However, you won’t get any tax breaks because you don’t own the system.

You also don’t own the system with a power purchase agreement (PPA). Instead, you make monthly payments, and the solar company owns it. The benefit of this agreement is that your monthly payments will be lower than they would be with a lease because you’re only paying for the power, not the system itself.

Federal and state incentives can help offset the cost of your Solar Roof. The federal tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your system from your federal taxes.

However, the 26% will only apply to the cost of the solar-energy producing component (solar shingles) and not the non-solar shingles. So, if your Solar Roof costs $40,000, and the solar shingles cost $12,000, you will only receive the 26% tax credit on the $12,000 (not $40,000).

Some states, such as California, offer additional incentives, such as rebates, property tax exemptions, and performance-based incentives too. Keep in mind that some incentives and rebates may only apply to the cost of the solar shingles only and not the rest of the roof.

Tesla Solar Roof Power Output & Efficiency

The solar shingles on the Tesla Solar Roof are made of tempered glass and have an embedded solar cell. The solar cells are connected in series to form a string, and several strings are connected in parallel to form a module.

The power output of the solar shingles is determined by the roof size and the home’s electricity usage. Tesla’s website provides very little in terms of specifications for its solar shingles. However, the company does note that each solar shingle is 71.67 watts, and it offers 5.32 kW to 12.53 kW size systems to homeowners.

Tesla and Elon Musk don’t provide the efficiency of their solar shingles to the public. But various third-party tests put the efficiency of the solar shingles at about 8-10%, which is lower than regular solar panels. However, the overall efficiency of the Solar Roof system is even lower because of the non-solar shingles that make up a majority of the roof.

Average Cost per Watt

You can look at the average cost per watt of the Tesla Solar Roof in two ways– using the cost of just the solar shingles or the cost of the entire Solar Roof (including the non-solar shingles). The solar shingles cost $1.80 per watt, which you would technically use to determine the true cost per watt.

However, you can’t purchase just solar shingles; you have to get the entire solar roof with inactive shingles and other components. Plus, you will have to pay to remove your existing roof (in many cases). In that case, the cost per watt of the entire Tesla Solar Roof averages about $5.27. But keep in mind that this cost per watt value is taking into account non-solar energy-capturing hardware.

Is Tesla solar roof worth the price?

The bottom line is that the Tesla Solar Roof is more expensive than a regular roof and is also more expensive than a traditional solar panel system combined with a new roof. But, there are several factors to consider when deciding if the Tesla Solar Roof is worth the price.

First, you must decide if you want to own or lease your solar system. If you want to own the system, then the Solar Roof is a good option because you will eventually make your money back in energy savings, and you’re eligible for federal, state, and local rebates and tax incentives.

However, if you’re not interested in owning the system, a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) might be a better option. You don’t get the upfront rebates and tax incentives with a lease or PPA because you’re not the system’s owner.

Some homeowners also don’t like the look of solar panels on their roofs. In that case, the Tesla Solar Roof is a good option because it looks just like a regular, traditional roof. Another factor to consider is whether you need a new roof. If your existing roof is in good condition and doesn’t need to be replaced, then adding a solar panel system will be cheaper and more efficient (in terms of power output) than getting the Solar Roof.

But, if you need a new roof and are interested in solar power, then the Solar Roof is worth considering. Just keep in mind that the cost of the Solar Roof will be higher than a regular roof plus a solar panel system, and the overall efficiency of the Solar Roof will be lower than a regular solar panel system.

Tesla Solar Roof Cost FAQs

Is Tesla Solar Roof cheap?

The Tesla Solar Roof is not cheap. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive solar roof options on the market. However, it is one of the best options if you need a new roof soon anyway or want to go solar without having intrusive solar panels on your roof.

How long does the Tesla solar roof last?

The Tesla Solar Roof comes with a 25-year warranty, which means it will last at least 25 years. However, it may lose some efficiency after 10-15 years.

How efficient is the Tesla Solar Roof?

The Tesla Solar Roof is about 8% to 10% efficient, which means it converts about that much of the sunlight that hits it into electricity. Most traditional solar panels in 2022 have an efficiency of over 20%.

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