Tesla solar roof

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mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD
I have to swap out my shingles this year, my roof is already 2 layers so I will need to remove them before install.

I have been holding out to see if the Tesla roof would become viable, well I can't hold out any longer.

Anyone seen one yet? Are they even being installed? If I have to fall back to asphalt shingles do you guys have one you would recommend? I was looking at these: https://www.owenscorning.com/en-us/roofing/tools/cool-roofing-shingles

I see they are doing a credit if you install a powerwall at the same time as the roof, but I have also read reports that they will lure you in with a Tesla roof then switch you to conventional solar since they have had issues with leaks.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,597
Northern Maine
All I know is to steer clear of anything to do with IKO at all levels and prices. What garbage. What a crap company.
My 16 year old IKO shingled roof rated for 30 years is junk and getting replaced with on site formed standing seam metal this year. Just sent a message to the roofer. I'll be dead and long gone when the house needs another one.

A lot of high end builders around here use GAF but I heard all the shingle company products just don't stand up like they once did after the changes to manufacturing.
 

mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD
Just a bit to add to this, I have an awesome south facing roof, one of the reasons I bought this house. Many of my neighbors have already put up panels. My avg electric bill for my 1600sq ft house is $159/month. My roof is 31 square, quite a bit of room.

This is what Tesla is quoting me:

18.6 kW Solar Roof $67,708
Installation Included
Cash Price $67,708
Federal Tax Credit -$12,264
Solar Renewable Energy Credit -$2,611
MD Solar Energy Grant Program -$1,000
Price After Incentives $51,832
Excluding Sales Tax

Est. 25 Year Savings$33,033

Picture of my roof from Project Sunroof showing how good it is. My neighbor has taken down those big trees next to me so I have even more sun on that side.

myroofsolar.png
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
I have not seen one, they are pretty rare as they are on at least their third redesign. They are quite expensive and the information that leaked out on the third redesign is that it a much an injected molded plastic roof with a veneer of silicon wafers clicked into the underlying plastic. They now use a waterproof underlayment similar to ice and water shield to act as waterproofing so the Tesla product is mostly acting as a very complex UV screen for the underlayment. Design details are tough to come by. The system takes a lot longer than typical PV e to 4 times longer. Tesla has their crews but has been trying try sell franchises to private companies. Reportely they are having problems finding takers and cherry pick the markets that are most profitable for them.

There are concerns that with the frequent redesign of what are supposed to be forever systems is how well supported will older revisions of the design be.Will the parts and expertise be available 10 to 20 years down the road?. My concern is a roof is tough environment for plastic as the heat bakes the flexibility out. The silicon panels appear to be snapped in somehow which implies plastic under tension which can be problematical after several years.

You do appear to have an ideal roof for solar but the first question most solar folks would have is why so big?. Have you done the up front efficiency work to minimize the system size? Most home systems are less than 10 KW.
 

mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD
I could go down to a 10-13kw for sure. Let me ask you @peakbagger what asphalt shingles are you seeing put down these days that does well under a panel if I went that route?

I was interested in the tesla solar roof since it carries a 25 year warranty and can be coupled with a few powerwalls which would be great for backup power. I do have high winds so I tend to loose shingles from time to time which also drew me to the tesla product.

I have been keeping an eye on the tesla roof for a while now, this 3rd revision does look very nice and I like how it does not attract attention. It still might be out of reach but the best time is now when I am replacing the roof to be looking at how it compares to panels.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
I also have a personal bias against IKO shingles from years ago. They were the cheap builders specials and didnt have the durability. I havent heard much more encouraging reports but then again I am not a roofer. I helped someone do a roof last summer with IKO architecturals and they seemed durable but it will 15 to 20 years before the owner finds out. IMHO the key to any roof, solar or not starts with WR Grace ice and water shield. Almost every commericial roof I have seen in my area has it installed whether it has shingles or standig seam . Strip the roof and cover the entire roof with either the regular grade or the high temp grade (high temp under metal roofing). As long as its out of the sun, it has a 30 year plus life. Drive a nail through and it seals right up around it. Cut a hole in it and just throw a patch of the same stuff on it and once its down it seals up like it was never cut. I and a lot of folks use the Owens Corning architectural grade shingles that are effectively a no tab double thickness shingle with third layer of texture. Other firms claim to sell something equivalent to the Grace Ice and Water Shield but every time I have worked with the "identical" products they feel inferior.

As for solar panels as long as you get a known brand mounting and flashing system for the racking and they are installed correctly, they will be leak free for the life of the roof. Leaks are almost always due to shortcut taken by contractor who is in a rush.

Part of the reason I asked about system size is many utilities have a 10 KW cut off for expedited permitting for interconnection. If someone has to go through a regular interconnection process its lengthy and expensive.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
954
Eastern Long Island NY
I am no roofing connoisseur, but I can say the following. I have Owens Corning architectural shingles and LG panels on top.

My OC roof has a platinum warranty, 30 yrs plus some prorated thing up to 50 yrs. That's laughable, of course. But the warranty is carried by OC, not the roofer. And it's unlikely that they'll be gone 30 yrs from now. Tesla roofing? I'm not so sure.

As with power tools that are "multiple in one", I d be hesitant to get a system that is roof AND PV at the same time. One part malfunctions and you have to replace both. Instead I can take the panels off and replace the shingles, or replace panels without messing with the shingles.

The panels have a known performance (old technology), the same warranty, and the system is cheaper as your quote. (Roof plus 7.2kW system came out to 26.5k$, after tax credit it was 15.)

You can sell your Tesla car if you don't like it. It's almost impossible to sell your PV Tesla roof ... And while their design teams generally are good and creative, their track record in PV (a decades lasting investment for you) is not great (see versions).

So, if you are predisposed to Tesla, go for it. If you want to play it safe, I would take a conventional system.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
Another aspect to consider is what string configuration and inverter is used?. Is it custom to Tesla?. There is a new requirement for Rapid Shutdown ((called RSD) of panels if the grid goes down or a local shutdown switch is activated to keep fireman safe. The actual panels output have to drop below a set voltage almost immediately. The normal answer is either microinverters or optimizers mounted at the panel. Well the Tesla roof is composed of rows of "mini panels" in theory are wired together in a string for rows. My guess is it may be something custom to Tesla but since they tend to keep those details secret, good luck. Tesla does not have a good track record with supporting past products, they walked away from high voltage DC Powerwall batteries that Solar City (which they now own) built a proprietary hybrid grid tie system around. They also walked away from theri original roadsters. My guess is at some point in the future long before the roof wears out, that the array electronics may be obsolete. Standard panels are pretty much plug and play, yes they may look different and be different sized but there are mutiple microinverter and optimizer makers that can match up with almost any panel. One goes bad and its likely you can replace it. The general assumption for commercial arrays is that every 10 years the electronics will be starting to need changing out. Inverter warranties are typically 10 year or you can pay extra and effective pay a company to keep a rebuilt spare on the shelf and hope that when you need on they are still in business.

BTW golf balls and rocks happen. If you are making a big investment on panels or on a solar roof buy some spares and store them somewhere safe. Panel colors sizes and models vary every few years. My spare panel for my most exposed array is in my garage facing a wall. I wish I had a spare for my other array.
 

mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD
Another aspect to consider is what string configuration and inverter is used?. Is it custom to Tesla?. There is a new requirement for Rapid Shutdown ((called RSD) of panels if the grid goes down or a local shutdown switch is activated to keep fireman safe. The actual panels output have to drop below a set voltage almost immediately. The normal answer is either microinverters or optimizers mounted at the panel. Well the Tesla roof is composed of rows of "mini panels" in theory are wired together in a string for rows. My guess is it may be something custom to Tesla but since they tend to keep those details secret, good luck.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,230
South Puget Sound, WA
That is too pricey. Will you be able to upgrade your roof in 15-20 yrs as performance degrades or new technology makes higher output options attractive?
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
I saw an article yesterday that Tesla changed the way they generate estimates and the buried into the change was a substantial price increase. https://electrek.co/2021/03/29/tesla-drastically-increases-price-solar-roof/

I had read previously that they were having a tough time enticing third parties to sign up to be installers. My speculation is that with their own crews they can bury their losses but when a third party comes along they want to make a profit.
 
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mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD
The panels can be swapped out, it looks to be pretty easy to do so from the videos I have found. I think the problem would be getting Telsa to come out and service them, they do not seem to be very good on the customer service end. I have not found a local roofing company that does it yet so that is another strike.

I really want a powerwall but with the price hikes and the lead times I think I am just going to drop back and punt and put on a GAF asphalt roof on as the prices for that keep increasing so I need to do it ASAP.

Then I will revisit doing panels. I will have a better ROI on panels anyway. But man does that Tesla roof look sexy.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
Compared to conventional panels. I think changing out a tile would be more difficult than a standard panel. I dont think they intend for anyone to walk on them once installed. Therefore I assume they have some specialized staging or scaffolding that bridges from the bottom of the roof to the ridgepole so that someone can get access to the shingles. Given that it appears they use a string inverter, I expect diagnosing a bad tile is challenge. I expect the use of and IR camera on cold sunny day might work but doing it with multimeter would be chore.

I do agree its a great looking roof, I just do not know its a lifetime roof that will be supported for many years. I am 61, odds are any roof that lasts 30 years is all I need.

There are other firms selling batteries and more entering the field every month. The new administration is talking a major green initiative and my bet is batteries and load shifting will get big chunk of funding. As long as you have a standard architecture panel my guess is someone going to have a battery that will fit into it.
 

mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD

Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
139
Western MA
I saw an article yesterday that Tesla changed the way they generate estimates and the buried into the change was a substantial price increase. https://electrek.co/2021/03/29/tesla-drastically-increases-price-solar-roof/

I had read previously that they were having a tough time enticing third parties to sign up to be installers. My speculation is that with their own crews they can bury their losses but when a third party comes along they want to make a profit.
I just read that article today, and was not surprised. I have also heard they are having trouble finding installers for the solar roof product.

They are also having trouble finding installers to go and remove all the panels from thousands of systems they installed using cheap panels with "MC4 Compatible" connectors. There is no such thing as MC4 compatible connectors and the knock offs have been linked to fires, so Tesla is approaching installers asking them to remove these panels, cut the connectors off, then crimp on actual MC4 connectors and reinstall the panels. How do I know? They asked us if we were interested. We declined.

Tesla does have some good ideas and some of their products are really good like the Powerwall, but they are sort of a basket case of a company to deal with. The solar roof does look great, but it's unproven and would make me nervous.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,230
South Puget Sound, WA
The company that did our installations became a licensed installer for Tesla last month. I see it's on their website now. I'll be curious to see what they think after a season.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
I like Tesla, I think they have a lot of revolutionary products that are industry leading, but I do not believe their solar roofs are one of these products. I would be replacing the shingles and installing a traditional solar system on top.

One thing to consider is allowing the shingles to seal before attaching the panels on top. If the shingles are installed in the summer this isn't an issue, a few hours of direct sunlight should seal the roof. Should the roof be replaced in fall or winter however the roof may not seal until sometime the next spring (or possibly never if dust gets underneath), installing panels over shingles before they seal would be a detriment to the water resistance properties of the roof.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
One of the big concepts for tech is "good enough" to get it on the street to get revenue and dont worry about the long term as they will upgrade it in the next revision. That works fine for "throwaway" tech like cell phones (Apple) where there is a big drive for the latest and greatest features and people willing to replace that tech on frequent basis. Not so good for legacy systems like a roof that is going to be around for 20 years. IMO, the early adopters of Tesla solar roofs are in it for the bling effect. Its undoubtedly new and shiny and better than the neighbors but I expect the initial owner is not planning to own the place long enough to worry about long term durability and maintenance, they will have moved on to the next big thing. Tesla can afford to lose money on early installs to build up a market but at some point they need to transition to breaking even. Teslas big profit is not in selling the roofs, they make the big money on the tax credits and sales of long term environmental incentives that the panels will generate. There are many financial entities that will gladly buy a government guaranteed stream of revenue. My guess is this transition to contractor installation is that attempt but these third parties have to make a profit fairly quickly and also have their long term reputation on the line. If Joe's Electric does the install and Tesla flakes out on long term support of legacy systems, the long term owners of Joe's Electric lose their local reputation and probably gets hauled into litigation.
 
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mellow

Resident Stove Connoisseur
Jan 19, 2008
5,238
Salisbury, MD
Well, I put my order in for the GAF Timberline HD Weathered Wood shingles. They will have no problem sealing right now on the south facing side of my roof, which is the side the panels will go eventually. Also getting a ridge vent cut in the roof while they are at it. I have 2 layers currently so that is all coming off and new going down. Hoping to get this all done in the next few weeks.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
I think you made the right choice.

Just tell me that you asked to get a layer of Grace Ice and water shield from the bottom edge of the roof to the top?. Accept no substitutes as IMHO they are all inferior to the Grace product. I did a quick search and got this from a Roofers forum GAF Stormguard or Grace Ice and Water? - Roofing/Construction Questions - Roofing.com (talkroofing.com) an he folks who responded agree.

Once it is down it never comes off. The shingles may blow off but this stuff stays. The only way it comes off is with the underlying sheathing. Once its on as long as it has something on top of it to protect it from UV your roof will be waterproof the shingles are just decoration and UV shield. When you go to add solar it will act as secondary seal around any roof penetrations.

I am not a roofer but I have messed with several of the cheaper alternatives and they all are a step below the Grace product. They are better than tar paper but that is a low bar to meet.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,350
Northern NH
Pay it now or pay it later;)
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
834
Central Ohio
One of the big concepts for tech is "good enough" to get it on the street to get revenue and dont worry about the long term as they will upgrade it in the next revision.
Yep, I work in tech. I've been told more than once that "80% is good enough". <>
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
954
Eastern Long Island NY
Yep, I work in tech. I've been told more than once that "80% is good enough". <>
I have to take issue with the generality of this remark.
This is *not* all tech. Transistors (by the billions in your gadgets) have an unprecedented reliability - far outperforming e.g. airplanes (which are also far, far, FAR beyond "80%").

Imagine 1% of your transistors failing. No single chip would work. Imagine 0.1% of planes failing during flight. Imagine 1% of railroad control "tech" failing. Imagine 1% of cruise control (or more advanced modern driver aid features) failing.

NONE of these are "80% is good enough".
I would not lump all tech into one box that is "good enough".

This may be true for solar tech newcomers. But I know that "normal brand name panels" are not like this (the numbers I saw when I researched my panels support this - unfortunately I can't find those numbers anymore).