Is A Tesla Solar Roof Worth Your Money? (Solar Advice)

Tesla originally unveiled their new solar roof tiles product back in 2016 with actual pre-orders being made available in 2017.

The company claims their solar roof tiles will produce clean energy for your home for decades to come. This, along with the hype that surrounds the Tesla brand in general, may lead you to question whether a Tesla Solar Roof is really worth the cost or not.

In this article, we aim to break down Tesla Solar Roof ROI while helping you determine their value versus a conventional solar system.

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Is A Tesla Solar Roof Worth It?

To figure this out, we need to make some comparisons. Feel free to jump straight to the answer instead.

However, we do recommend giving the entire article a good read to have a proper overview.

How Frequently Do You Need To Replace The Roof Of Your Home?

Roof replacement duration all comes down to what type of material you’re working with:

  • Composition shingles: 12 – 20 years
  • Asphalt: 15 – 30 years
  • Wood: 20 – 25 years
  • Metal: 50 – 75 years
  • Tesla Solar Roof – 25 years (Warranty)

Asphalt is one of the most common roofing materials being used today. If we were to compare replacement intervals, a Tesla Solar Roof/Asphalt roof lasts about the same amount of time.


How Huch Does A Roof Cost To Build On A New Home?

Have you already built your home? The answer to this question will greatly influence whether a Tesla Solar Roof is worth the money.

The roof of a home generally costs around $3.50 to $5.00 per square foot to build.

In the United States, the average roof size is about 3000 square feet. Therefore you could expect an average roof to cost you between $10,500 to $15,500.

Essentially what we’re trying to say is the following:

If your home is not yet built, and you considering going straight for a Tesla Solar Roof, you could minus the expense of a normal roof (which you would have had to pay for regardless) from your overall solar roof costs.

What Is The Fire Rating Of A Normal Roof Compared To A Tesla Solar Roof?

Another point to consider would be fire resistance – How does the Tesla Solar Roof stack up to normal roofs in this regard?

Roof TypeFire Rating
Tesla Solar RoofClass A
Asphalt shinglesClass A
Clay tilesClass A
Concrete tilesClass A
Pressure-treated shinglesClass B
Wood shinglesClass C
PlywoodClass C

First and foremost, class A is the highest rating out there. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how Tesla’s solar roof holds its own when it comes to fire ratings.

For obvious reasons, if your home is located in close proximity to wildfires then Class A roofs are the go-to for most homeowners.

Class A roof ratings include the following:

  • Can encounter maximum flame spread of 6 feet
  • Able to withstand a burning load measuring 12″ x 12″ and weighing 2,000 grams
  • Resists up to 15 cycles of a gas flame turned on and off

What Is The Hail Rating Of A Normal Roof Compared To A Tesla Solar Roof?

According to a study done by Phys.org, golf ball-sized hail conditions are increasing throughout the United States. As such, it’s understandable why roof strength is important.

Roof TypeHail Rating (FM 4473)
Tesla Solar RoofClass 3
Asphalt shinglesClass 4
Clay tilesClass 3 – 4
Concrete tilesClass 3 – 4
Wood shinglesN/A
Metal RoofClass 4

It is important to remember that all types of roofs have different FM 4473 ratings. You’ll only know the true impact ratings when you see the FM 4473 rating on the packaging of the product.

If it doesn’t have that rating, then it isn’t classified as impact resistant.

Below is the definition of each class:

  • Class 1 roof can withstand ice balls that are 31.8 mm or 1.25 inches in diameter.
  • Class 2 can withstand ice balls that are 38.1 mm or 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Class 3 roof can withstand ice balls that are 44 mm or 1.75 inches in diameter.
  • Class 4 can withstand ice balls that are 50.8 mm or 2 inches in diameter.

What Is The Wind Rating Of A Normal Roof Compared To A Tesla Solar Roof?

Roof TypeWind Rating (ASTM D3161)
Tesla Solar RoofClass F
Asphalt shinglesClass F
Clay tilesClass D
Concrete tilesClass D
Wood shinglesClass D
Metal RoofClass F

ASTM D3161 stands for Standard Test Method for Wind Resistance of Steep Slope Roofing Products (Fan-Induced Method).

This testing method measures a shingle’s ability to withstand fan-induced wind speeds and is comprised of three classifications:

  • Class A for shingles that passed testing at 60 mph
  • Class D for shingles that passed testing at 90 mph
  • Class F for shingles that passed testing at 110 mph

Interested in the cost of Tesla Powerwall? Read this article.

Does A Tesla Solar Roof Increase The Value Of Your Home?

Tesla Solar Roof on a sunny day
(Source: Tesla)

Elon Musk himself had this to say on Twitter: “Very likely that a home with clean power that’s lower cost than utility, plus blackout protection via Powerwall, will have a positive effect on value”

Now although Mr. Musk was choosing his words carefully, we can assume that he is indeed correct.

A study done by Zillow in 2019 shows that homes equipped with a solar system indeed sell for 4.1% more than homes without solar.

Given that the product has been out for less than 7 years now at this point, there is no long-term data available to show any sort of average increase in the home’s value. However, maintenance is expected to be minimal and is completely covered for the first ten years.


How Long Does A Tesla Solar Roof Last in Comparison To Solar Panels?

After speaking with a Tesla advisor, we were informed that the Tesla Solar Roof will last between 25 – 30 years, very similar to the latest solar panels currently on the market.

However, the warranty only lasts 25 years.

Check out our top recommended Tesla Solar Roof alternatives here.

How Much Does A Tesla Solar Roof Cost To Maintain?

All of a Tesla Solar Roof’s maintenance is covered in the purchasing price for 10 years.

Given that it would be individual quotes per-project (similarly to an auto service or maintenance) and it would be 10 years from now (since until then it’s all covered), we are unable to estimate these costs at this time.


Tesla Solar Roof ROI

Now for the fun bit, figuring out how much a Tesla Solar Roof will cost you and how long it’ll take to pay off that cost with the solar savings themselves.

But before we begin, it’s important to remember that a Tesla solar roof varies in price and ultimately depends on the square footage of your home’s roof.

For our example, we’ll use 3 different roof sizes, all of which will be located in California, and each will have varying levels of electricity consumption.

1700 Square Foot Tesla Solar Roof

The home in this example pays $115 a month for electricity. Based on this, the location, and roof size you could expect the below costs:

ApplianceCost
Solar Roof Base Price$26,000
4.85 kW Solar$8,700
1 Powerwall Battery:$10,500
Estimated Price:$45,200
Federal Tax Credit$11,700
Total Cost$33,500
Excluding sales tax and including installation

ROI

$33,500 ÷ $115 = 291 months
291 months ÷ 12 = 24,25 years.

Your return on investment for a Tesla Solar Roof would be 24,25 years assuming your electric bill is $115 a month and your roof size is 1700 square feet.

Assuming your system lasts for 25 years, you will save approximately $1035 in total.


2500 Square Foot Tesla Solar Roof

The home in this example pays $160 a month for electricity. Based on this, the location, and roof size you could expect the below costs:

ApplianceCost
Solar Roof Base Price$38,300
4.85 kW Solar$11,800
1 Powerwall Battery:$10,500
Estimated Price:$60,600
Federal Tax Credit$15,600
Total Cost$45,000
Excluding sales tax and including installation

ROI

$45,500 ÷ $160 = 284 months
284 months ÷ 12 = 23,66 years.

Your return on investment for a Tesla Solar Roof would be 23,66 years assuming your electric bill is $160 a month and your roof size is 2500 square feet.

Assuming your system lasts for 25 years, you will save approximately $2572 in total.


3500 Square Foot Tesla Solar Roof

The home in this example pays $200 a month for electricity. Based on this, the location, and roof size you could expect the below costs:

ApplianceCost
Solar Roof Base Price$53,600
4.85 kW Solar$14,700
1 Powerwall Battery:$10,500
Estimated Price:$78,800
Federal Tax Credit$20,400
Total Cost$57,400
Excluding sales tax and including installation

ROI

$57,400 ÷ $200 = 287 months
287 months ÷ 12 = 23,91 years.

Your return on investment for a Tesla Solar Roof would be 23,91 years assuming your electric bill is $2000 a month and your roof size is 3500 square feet.

Assuming your system lasts for 25 years, you will save approximately $2616, in total.

Learn more about the Tesla Solar Roof here.

So, Is A Tesla Solar Roof Worth It?

In our examples, we used the best-case scenario of the Tesla Solar Roof lasting for 25 years (as stated in their warranty).

Unfortunately, the total amount of savings is nowhere near compared to the amount of solar savings you could see with a normal panel installation.

For example, if you were to install the same size system as in our first example (just in panel format) it would cost you a total of $16,082. (from Tesla themselves).

The ROI on this would be 11,58 years. meaning you could save a total of $18,519 instead of $1035.

So, do we think a Tesla Solar Roof is worth it?

No, unless your home is in need of a new roof, you could save a total of $17,484 or 1789% by installing Tesla’s common solar panel range as opposed to a Tesla Solar Roof.

Kyle Browning

Kyle Browning

Kyle is a researcher and content specialist at Climatebiz. He has a strong interest in green technology, particularly in photovoltaic systems. Kyle believes in a future where everyone has affordable access to renewable energy, regardless of their race, religion, or social status. This ideology led Kyle to found Climatebiz - with the goal to provide free information for anyone, anytime. You can follow Kyle on Twitter at @kylebrwng

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