This May, Tesla announced that they would be taking orders for their highly anticipated Solar Roof systems, with a deposit of $1,000. Designed to blend in and function like normal tiles, but also act as a power generation source, these tiles seem like a no-brainer.

Tesla’s idea was to create tiles that were cheaper, and more durable, while providing a clean energy source for your home. So what’s the catch? Is there one, or is this an all round great idea?

Watch Elon Musk explain the idea here:

Each tile is a single solar panel, blending in perfectly. The house would require a Tesla Powerwall battery, storing the energy that was collected in the day and making it available any time. “Effectively turning your home into a personal utility”, Tesla said.

You can buy solar and non-solar panels to suit your needs and Tesla has a calculator directly on its website for you to check.

Slo-mo hail cannonball impacting Tesla solar roof tile

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

There are actually four different style types: tuscan, slate, textured, and smooth. The first two tiles, smooth and textured, are going into production this summer.

SO HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Here’s what Tesla says on its website:

“The estimated cost of your Solar Roof includes materials, installation, and the removal of your old roof. Taxes, permit fees and additional construction costs such as significant structural upgrades, gutter replacement, or skylight replacements are not included. The Solar Roof cost is based on estimated roof square footage for your home, provided by Google Project Sunroof where available, and the portion of your roof covered with solar tiles.” 

According Tesla’s calculator, the average US customer can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot of solar panels. A Tesla Solar Roof for a two-story, 2,000-square-foot home in New York state should be around $50,000 to install after federal tax cuts. But it would generate $64,000 in energy savings over three decades, so Tesla said the upfront cost is “more than offset by the value of energy the tiles produce”.

A FEW QUESTIONS ARISE

  • How can we accurately compare the cost of the Solar Roof tiles to standard solar panel systems?
  • How efficient are the tiles compared to conventional panels?
  • What is the durability compared to conventional panels?
  • Who should get a Solar Roof?
  • What about flat roofs?

Despite all the excitement around the launch, the jury is still out on whether the Solar Roof will meet the same fate as the other products in Tesla’s long line of largely unsuccessful building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products.

To calculate efficiency accurately, one needs to consider the size of your roof, and your current electricity bill. Typically the larger your roof, the larger the home, and thus the higher your bill is – making solar roofs particularly of interest to this demographic.

THE COMPANY’S OFFERING IS IMPRESSIVE

Tesla solar roof