Elon Musk has just put your old, unemployed roof to work – by creating one that converts the suns rays into energy that will power your home. If you’re lucky, you may even earn some money from it.
Innovative electric car manufacturer Tesla has announced the U.S. rollout of its glass, solar roof tiles, with worldwide orders expected to be fulfilled next year. Solar panels on roofs are nothing new, but instead of fixing a standalone (and let’s face it, ugly) panel to your beautiful slate or clay tiled roof, you can now turn your whole roof into one big solar panel. And the results are stunning – both visually and financially.
According to Tesla, their mission is to “accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future by creating products that are so compelling, there is no alternative.” Solar energy has always been part of their master plan, and like their groundbreaking electric cars, have recognized the need for a roof that is simultaneously affordable, durable, beautiful and integrated with battery storage.
Solar Roof complements a home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Tesla Powerwall unit, energy collected during the day is stored and made available anytime, effectively turning a home into a personal utility. Solar energy can be generated, stored and used day and night, providing uninterrupted power even if the grid goes down.
And here’s what should convince you if saving natural resources seems too much of an effort: Solar Roof is more affordable than conventional roofs because in most cases, it ultimately pays for itself by reducing or eliminating a home’s electricity bill.
Consumer Reports estimates that a Solar Roof for an average size U.S. home would need to cost less than $24.50 per square foot to be cost-competitive with a regular roof. The cost of Solar Roof is less. The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof, and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.
As an example of total cost, the out-of-pocket cost of a Solar Roof for a typical home in Maryland will be around $52,000, but after considering a 30% federal tax credit (in the U.S. only) and the value of energy it generates, the roof will actually pay for itself and earn you about $8,000 over 30 years, according to Tesla.
Solar Roof uses two types of tiles – solar and non-solar. Looking at the roof from street level, the tiles look the same and homeowners can select how many solar tiles they need based on their home’s electricity consumption. For example, households that charge an electric vehicle every day may want more solar tiles on their roof.
In doing research on the roofing industry, it became clear to Tesla that roofing costs vary widely, and that buying a roof is often a worse experience than buying a car through a dealership. Initial contracts tend to be overly optimistic, and later customers face hidden costs that were never mentioned up front. In the spirit of transparency Tesla has created a Solar Roof calculator that lets homeowners estimate the upfront price of a new roof, as well as the value of the energy it can generate for their home. The calculator is based on factors like roof size, the average local price of electricity, and how much sunlight a neighborhood receives throughout the year.
Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, yet half the weight. They do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete and the glass itself will come with a warranty for the lifetime of the house, or infinity, whichever comes first. Oh, and they’ll also cart away your unemployed, lazy roof that’s been hanging over your head for years.