The Telsa solar roof tiles are in the news again. They now have solar panel shingle installations going in 8 states so far - with what's becoming competitive pricing. If news of these PV roof shingles is also news to you, check out our Tesla solar roof review from when it was first announced in 2016.

What was missing back then was the pricing, as well as any inkling of a timeline for when we would see this happen. We are pleased to say that both these questions have now been answered as recent patent filings also reveal that they're developing panel runs rather than individual tiles - with exactly the same appearance - speeding installation, and reducing potential connector failures by having fewer of them!

How much does a Tesla solar roof cost?

The working figures for the cost of a Tesla roof is $21.85 (USD) per square foot, which, is about 5 times the price of the cheapest and shortest-lifespan shingle roof you can find. But don’t get sticker shock before getting the full picture… and bear in mind that these are most suitable for new-build or when a roof needs replacing with something durable, long-term and sustainable - otherwise look for special offers on standard Solar PV panels - like this one also from Tesla

An asphalt shingle roof is ‘cheaper’ for the initial install, though it is more costly in the long run since every 20 years or so we have to strip our roofs, send another load of shingles to a landfill and buy new ones. That is why shingles are the single greatest ecological catastrophe of the home building industry, and probably the most expensive long-term roof covering when you consider the full life-cycle of a house.

Tesla Solar Roof
The Tesla Solar Roof powers your home but looks no different than other durable roofing materials. 

Further to that,  a shingle roof, metal roof, or any other composite recycled-material roofing product will not turn your lights on, nor will it fill your gas tank for you. That’s where Tesla really delivers.
Tesla has equated the cost of their solar shingles to the price of a standard shingled roof, plus an electricity bill. And with a predicted 30-year lifespan, this could feasibly be the cheapest roofing option on the market.
Elon Musk said the following at a recent shareholders’ meeting to explain the delay for ramping up production on the solar roof –

 “We are about to complete version 3 of the solar roof. This is actually quite a hard technology problem to have an integrated solar cell with a roof tile, have it look good, and last for 30 years.”

As for cost, Musk went on to say: “I am very excited about version 3 of solar roof. We have a shot at being equal to a comp shingle roof plus someone’s utility cost or being lower than that. That’s one of the cheapest roofs available. So you can have a great roof with better economics than a normal fairly cheap roof and your utility bill.”

Again, think back to the price point of the  Model 3 EV – it’s on the higher end of pricing for commuter vehicles (though it is on the low end of the swanky car market), but the savings on incidental costs – fuel and maintenance – is what makes it (the Tesla model 3 and other electric vehicles) more affordable than driving combustion engine vehicles.  The economic case for the Tesla roof follows that same principle.

Tesla Solar roof now available in US and Canada
The Tesla solar roof tiles integrate with identical non-solar ones for a seamless look we like

When can I get a Tesla solar roof?

The answer to that is, don’t hold your breath. That’s a supply and demand issue, and if history and the popularity of the Tesla brand is any indicator, it may still be a while. Providing 1000 solar roofs per week is a significant achievement, but at the rate of new home construction as well as replacing old roof coverings, 1000 homes a week is still a drop in the bucket. But, no one else has dropped anything quite this cool in the bucket lately, so we’re not going to get on their case about it just yet : ) 

The downside to Tesla solar roof tiles

Tesla solar roof tiles is a very popular topic as people tend to love em' or hate em', so critiques will likely soon follow. But since there still is very little real-world data to see how the Tesla roof will perform, there is little we can say for or against. Tesla’s biggest flaws have always been meeting their own delivery date targets, and having a few false starts. It happened with the launch of the Model 3 EV, the first Powerwall home batteries were duds, and the solar roof is way past the initial target date for delivery and currently can only be found on the roofs of Tesla executives and likely a few close friends. Meh; no one is perfect, better late than never.

As yet another innovative renewable-energy initiative from Tesla comes to life, it will likely have the same effect that they had on the electric vehicle market, which was to fire a shot across the bow to any of their competitors who have hopes to stay in business.  

There is a lot of speculation about what the Telsa master plan is, because they make waves in whatever industry they target. If Elon Musk was a global leader in producing high-polluting products he would be the perfect Bond movie super-villain, but thankfully for us he is using his powers for good. Kudos to him for his continued leadership in renewable-energy technology. 

Now you know more about the Tesla Solar Roof, find more info pages about Solar PV & sustainable & resilient green building techniques here : 

Find more about sustainable home construction in the EcoHome Green Building Guide pages