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The results are in, and Tesla’s solar roof is cheaper than a normal roof

The results are in -- Tesla's solar roof is cheaper than a normal roof

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Anyone who has had to replace a roof can attest that it is no small expense. Well, homeowners may have a better solution on the horizon that not only costs less upfront but also saves them money over time, according to Bloomberg. In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, with about 85 percent of shareholders voting to go through with the deal that made them the undisputed kings of sun-to-vehicle energy.

Shortly after the deal was finalized, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the company’s new solar roofing would cost less to create and install than traditional roofing materials. He claimed all this savings would come before the savings on your electric bill. According to Musk, “Electricity is just a bonus.”

While the initial amount consumers could save by switching to a solar roof was unclear, Musk said customers who purchased a roof would save “considerable” amounts of money over a traditional roof. But just how much does that mean? We’re finally starting to find out. 

A solar roof will set you back $21.85 per square foot, which means that a 3,000 square foot roof would set you back around$65,550. And while that’s not cheaper than a standard, non-solar roof at first blush, when you consider the added value of “free” electricity that comes from having an energy source atop your house, the savings start pouring in. Consumer Reports suggests that you can calculate about $2,000 in savings a year for the lifetime of the roof (which is about 30 years). That means that you’ll end up saving around $60,000 over the course of several decades, which ultimately makes Tesla’s roof competitive with traditional alternatives.

Earlier in 2017, customers were able to start pre-ordering a solar roof. To do so, Tesla required a $1,000 deposit (though it offered a full refund for customers who changed their minds before signing the final contract). As for the final price, Tesla Solar has a cost calculator (powered by Google’s Project Sunroof) that will give you a ballpark estimate specific to your needs. Simply enter your address, and you receive an estimate unique to your home, complete with the value of energy your roof will generate, the cost of the roof, the cost of the Powerwall battery (or batteries, if your home needs more), and the amount of the tax credit. You can also make adjustments to your estimate, like specifying the exact roof square footage or the amount of your current monthly electric bill.

If you are happy with what you see, you can continue down the ordering pipeline by placing an order and awaiting a response from an engineer, who will pay you an on-site visit and determine precisely what your roof needs. Not all the tiles in your new roof have to be solar tiles because not all parts of your roof will get the same amount of sun).

Tesla’s high-end roofing materials include mimicked fancy terracotta and slate roofing tiles, which are made of textured glass. There are four designs to choose from, with styles to match every home. The tiles gather and store the energy from light for you to use in your home or electric vehicle. It is estimated that the glass solar panels will be available for installation this year, while other slate panels won’t be around until 2018, or according to Musk, in “about six months.”

Update: Tesla’s solar roof pricing has been released. 

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Anthony Thurston
Anthony is an internationally published photographer based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Specializing primarily in…
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