tesla-solar-roof June 7th, 2017

The new Tesla Solar Roof has been making headlines since it was officially launched in 2016. And why not? It is an innovative product that produces electricity as well as looking great. The roof tiles have the solar cells built in so you get a new roof and solar power.

But look a little closer at the economics of  Tesla Solar Roof compared to a solar panel array that is installed on top of your current roof and you see that the investment in a Tesla Solar Roof may not be a wise choice.

The team at Novo Solar Solutions have been responding to questions over the last 12 months from clients about the new Tesla Solar Roof. And while we really respect Elon Musk and his company Tesla, we have some concerns about the financial viability of investing in a Tesla Solar Roof. So as not seem overly bias, here is a summary of article from Forbes that explains what we have been saying to people who ask for info on this new innovative solar installation.

Roof and Solar in One Package. Does it make economic sense?

Tesla promotes the solar roof as high quality roof that doesn’t cost a lot of money because you get a roof AND solar in one package. Saving money on your electricity bill will allow you to pay off your initial investment quicker. This formula is one we at Novo Solar Solutions promotes when selling our solar panel installations.

But when you are thinking about a roof and solar, it is important to separate the two, because their functions are different. A roof should look good, keep your house dry and be sturdy. Electricity on the other hand should be inexpensive. That’s pretty much it.

With solar panels producing power for 30+ years, you will replace them and maybe not your roof. But when the solar output in a Solar Roof has depleted, you now have to replace the entire roof.

Combing the two may sound good in theory but in a real world scenario this and the economics don’t add up.

Solar Roof vs Solar Panels

So let’s breakdown the numbers and see what the price difference is between a Solar Roof and Solar Panel Array installed on typical asphalt roof.

An average roof in Canada cost between $2 to $5 per square foot. (Source: BC Living Magazine). So if we go in the middle, the cost is $3.50 per sq. foot. If an average roof size is 3000 square foot a asphalt roof will set you back roughly $10,000.

Install solar panels on top of that new roof for roughly $30,000 for a 10 kW system and your total cost is now $40,000.

The cost of the Tesla Solar Roof per square foot is $30. On a 3,000 sq. foot roof that equals $90,000.

This is significantly more expensive than a traditional roof with solar added on.

So what is the actual lifetime savings of each system?

An article on Forbes.com takes this question and analyzes the data by comparing a solar panel installation vs solar shingle roof on the same house in West Virginia.

The conclusion is that the total financial benefits over the 30-year useful life of the Tesla roof integrated solar energy system is $1,700 USD.

With a traditional solar panels, the total financial benefits over the 30-year useful life of the solar panel system is $33,600 USD! This is an extraordinary difference.

Read the full article “Why Tesla’s Solar Roof is a Bad Buy” at Forbes to see the numbers breakdown and how they came to this conclusion.

So while Tesla and Elon Musk have made major impacts in the world with electric cars, space travel and other innovative inventions, the Tesla Solar Roof may be a product that doesn’t hit the mark.