Tesla Solar Shingles: What Every Roofer Needs to Know | Tesla Shingles (2022)

14 things you need to know about Tesla roof shingles.

On October 25, 2019, Elon Musk and his inner circle of tech engineers announced that their revolutionary new solar roof shingles were finally ready for mass market. Tesla’s “photovoltaic” glass tile is the company’s third attempt at perfecting a market-ready system and now they feel they’ve got it. With fewer parts and sub-assemblies, it’s a simpler design than previous prototypes. The product has already been installed on a handful of homes. Musk is right on time with his revolutionary innovation, as state after state considers bills to require that new home and commercial construction, as well as renovations, incorporate energy-wise roof systems.

Tesla is apparently fueling solar roofing demand by getting behind theEnergy Freedom Coalition of Americawhich lobbies for construction requirements, requirements which are sure to favor Tesla’s solar roof shingles, solar panels and other renewable energy products. But will Tesla’s solar roof tiles spell the end of conventional slate, shake, tile and asphalt roofing? Not in your lifetime, but, just asmany roofing contractors have moved away from tar and gravel roofing to modified bitumen andrubber roofing,so will go some types of conventional slope roofing materials in favor of modern solutions, especially if homeowners are forced to usephotovoltaic alternatives someday.So, get educated and get ready for solar roof shingles. They may be beyond the price range for most property owners, but the time is coming when they’ll be a significant demand. Learn as much as you can about Tesla’s solar roof shingles because consumers will certainly be asking you questions about it.

Tesla Solar Shingles: What Every Roofer Needs to Know | Tesla Shingles (1)

1) What are solar roof shingles?

Tesla solar roof shingles incorporate Panasonic’s ultra-efficient solar cells. The roof system connects to a Tesla Powerwall – a battery backup for your house that ties into grid power for automatic power fail-over and for use when electricity cost is high. Elon Musk has hyped his innovation by comparing Tesla solar shingles to standard roofing, declaring that they look better, are better insulators, last longer, are more durable and cost less when energy savings are factored in.

(Video) How This Roofing Company Is Taking On Tesla’s Solar Roof

2) How do the upfront costs for Tesla solar shingles compare to conventional roofing?

Expect Tesla solar roof shingles to cost about USD $22 per square foot ($2,200/SQ). Conventional asphalt shingles cost around $4 per square foot ($400/SQ). Renewable energy-conscious homeowners should compare the cost of Tesla’s roof system to the combined cost of a new non-solar roof PLUS the cost of a solar panel system. That would make it a closer pricing comparison!

3) Are Tesla solar shingles available to roofing contractors?

Not really. That is coming later. Tesla’s own installers have been responsible so far for the few homes that do have the shingles. (Incidentally, all those homes are in California.) In addition, one would be led to believe that only roofing contractors with a background in electrical systems are prepared to install the Tesla shingles.

We are likely to see some gate keeping on Tesla’s part relative to who gets to install their photovoltaic product. At this point installers directly from Tesla are the only ones with the ability to do these roofing jobs, but as market demand rises, Tesla willlikely expand its qualified installers as we’ve seen from major roofing manufacturers. GAF and Owens Corning both recommend contractors to homeowners interested in their products. The contactors at the top of that list are one’s that demonstrate brand loyalty by installing hundreds of GAF roofs. Tesla is more likely to go the route of Da Vinci roof shingles, a higher end product that demands a more skilled roofer. Da Vinci first pre-qualifies the homeowner with a series of questions about their home, then finds certified installers in their area. Roofers should be prepared to compete for the ability to install Tesla roofing products, especially as it becomes more popular among homeowners.

Tesla Solar Shingles: What Every Roofer Needs to Know | Tesla Shingles (2)

4) Is every shingle in Tesla’s solar roof system a mini solar panel?

Not every shingle in Tesla’s solar roof shingle system is solar energy-generating. Only about 35% of the shingles are solar shingles (a.k.a. photovoltaic tiles). The rest are identical in appearance but are not solar energy-generating. With matching solar and non-solar shingles, the roof looks uniform and money isn’t wasted installing solar shingles in shaded areas, i.e. under overhangs.

(Video) The Problem With Tesla’s Solar Roof

5) How are solar roofing shingles installed?

Early images of jobs in progress make the installation process look similar to slate and shake jobs. Battens are set up evenly with the solar shingles overlapping like slate. Since not all of the shingles in any particular roof project using Tesla’s system would be photovoltaic, the solar shingles seem to be grouped together in the area of the roof most exposed to sunlight and connected with small wires to the home grid. Wiring within a roof system raises some obvious questions: Is it weatherproof? Whats the maintenance like? These are questions we may not see answered until we have long term studies of these new systems.

Tesla Solar Shingles: What Every Roofer Needs to Know | Tesla Shingles (3)

6) What do Tesla shingles look like?

The Tesla solar shingles have a dark-colored tempered glass finish. From the ground, they look like normal opaque shingles but from the perspective of the Sun, the shingles are transparent. The transparency of the shingles allows sunlight to hit the integrated solar cells. Today, design choices for Tesla solar roof shingles are very limited. The company says it will gradually unveil new designs.

7) Do Tesla solar shingles take longer to install than conventional shingles?

It’s still too early to determine an average installation time, but the initial projects have taken about twice as long to complete compared to installing conventional roofing. As contractors get accustomed to the process, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, expects solar shingle installation to be just as time-efficient to install as most conventional roofing materials.

8) Do Tesla’s solar shingles last as long as an asphalt shingle roof?

No one yet knows how long solar shingles will last. Tesla is so confident about their product that they’ll replace any roof shingles as long as you own your home. The solar glass roof material they’ve developed is extremely durable according to Tesla. To test the toughness of the shingles, Tesla engineers propelled pellets of hail at them at extremely high speed which left the shingles unscathed, whereas standard roofing materials were destroyed under those same test conditions.

(Video) One Year With the Tesla Solar Roof | The $100,000 Experiment

Tesla Solar Shingles: What Every Roofer Needs to Know | Tesla Shingles (4)

9) Besides generating energy for a home, what are other monetary benefits of Tesla’s solar shingles?

Tesla’s solar shingles are eligible for the 30% U.S. federal Investment Tax Credit. Also, when it comes time to sell your home, if you’ve installed Tesla solar shingles there’s a good chance you’ll see a higher home value than if it had traditional solar panels or asphalt shingles.

10) Do we know all the specifications for Tesla’s solar roof shingles?

Not all the specifications are readily available at this time, but we do know that Tesla’s solar shingles measure 8.7” X 14”. Each shingle has two solar cells that combined produce 12 watts of electricity per shingle. It takes approximately 27 solar shingles to equal a typical solar panel.

11) Does Tesla offer special accessories to go with their solar roof systems?

According to Tesla’s Solar Shingle V3 announcement on Oct. 25, 2019, Elon Musk and other engineers who participated in the press conference claimed they have designed special flashing that complements the Tesla roofing system.

12) Are Tesla solar shingles already installed on many homes?

Negatory. Elon Musk claimed that the system is installed on hundreds of homes, but that may be an exaggeration. Tesla plans to deliver the product through distributors, but a time frame for that has not been made clear. In the meantime, Musk announced in October that they will be diverting current inventory to California to address the immediate needs of fire-stricken property owners.

(Video) Installing Solar Shingles like the Tesla Roof is the Future for Alberta Roofers!

Tesla Solar Shingles: What Every Roofer Needs to Know | Tesla Shingles (5)

13) Where are Tesla’s solar roof shingles manufactured?

Tesla’s solar roof shingles are manufactured at The Tesla Gigafactory 2. Gigafactory 2 is a photovoltaic cell factory leased by Tesla subsidiary SolarCity in Buffalo, New York, USA.

14) Are there other manufacturers of solar roof shingles besides Tesla?

No other major manufacturer has a product like Telsa’s. However, GAF – a leading manufacturer of roofing material – has a solar offering that sits flush on the roof. GAF has installed hundreds of such systems.

So, is traditional roofing going extinct?

Traditional roofing will certainly not be going away anytime soon. For the most part, today’s roofing materials are practical, affordable durable and visually attractive. Plus, there are thousands of great roofing contractors out there who install traditional roofing, providing excellent service and quality. Until photovoltaic glass roof tiles prove to perform the way they are cracked up to (no pun intended), traditional asphalt, slate, tile, clay, concrete and metal roofing will still reign supreme. If there does come a day when solar roof shingles prove their durability, affordability and sustainable energy-generating purpose, that will be cause for celebration, no doubt. Tesla and other manufacturers like GAF should be applauded for investing heavily in innovations that will limit our dependence on fossil fuels and other environmentally unfriendly energy sources.

TESLA UPDATE (Oct. 2020)

Despite a bit of troubleshooting regarding installation issues, Tesla solar roofing tiles are well on their way to powering homes throughout North America, in the coming year(s).

(Video) 1 Year with Tesla Solar Roof: top 11 questions answered + real production numbers & utility bills!

Tesla recently changed the type of underlay it uses and has also reduced the price of the product!

Electrek – an online magazine providing coverage of the entire sustainable ecosystems and related products – reported on 10/25/2020 that Tesla is hiring for roofer positions around the US and approving other third-party roofing companies.

In addition, it appears Tesla will also be expanding solar roof installations into Canada — starting in Ontario.

FAQs

Can roofers work around solar panels? ›

Here's something else you'll need to know: your roofers are not the ones who will remove your solar panels. Roofers generally don't have the training or skill to properly handle a solar panel removal, so you'll want to call your installers to have them take your panels down before your removal project gets started.

What is the difference between solar panels and solar shingles? ›

They work the same way standard types of solar panels do, but where solar panels are assembled on top of your roof, solar shingles are used to build a roof.

Which type of roof is best for solar panels? ›

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt is the most common type of shingle used on housing and is also the best roof for solar panels. These shingles are made from a fiberglass or cellulose type of mat that is very flexible and durable, making it the perfect material for solar panels.

Should I get a new roof before installing solar panels? ›

A general guideline is asphalt shingle roofs should be 10 years old or less and in good condition before beginning solar panel installation. If your roof is over 10 years old, then you may want to schedule a roof inspection to see if it's still in good enough condition for solar panel installation.

Do solar panels void roof warranty? ›

In most cases, solar panels will not void a roof warranty. However, you have to be cautious of some companies that may install solar panels without considering the consequences of some actions, such as drilling holes in your roof.

Can you walk on a solar roof? ›

Roofing contractors can and do walk on Tesla Solar Roofs – when wearing the appropriate safety harnesses. They won't damage the roof in the process. However, you as a homeowner, should never walk on your roof.

Are solar shingles worth it? ›

While expensive to install, a solar roof can save in the long run. Depending on the number of tiles on your roof, solar shingles can reduce energy costs by anywhere from 40 to 60 percent, according to the consumer education site SolarReviews. Additionally, you may be eligible for federal and state tax incentives.

How long do solar shingles last? ›

Solar shingles are designed with an energy-efficient lifespan of 25-30 years, which is a good timeline to keep in mind when calculating costs for a new roof.

What color roof is best with solar panels? ›

Grey or grey-blue and black are good. The most ideal roof color for black solar panels is a lighter color, because they're far enough from black to be complimentary. The bluer solar panels, while less professional-looking overall, are easier to match to your roof; blue looks okay on any background.

Do solar panels cause roof leaks? ›

Poor Installation

A common reason why a roof can leak is due to the company that installed the solar panels. Most solar companies work hard to prevent leaks, but there are some that do not use sub-roofing materials. Inexperienced sub-contractors can be the other reason for inadvertent damage to a roof.

What You Should Know Before replacing your roof? ›

6 things to know before getting a roof replacement
  • You need to know whether you really need a roof replacement. ...
  • Hire a local roofing contractor for your roof replacement. ...
  • Invest in a quality roof replacement. ...
  • The roofing materials included in your roof replacement. ...
  • What the roof replacement process looks like.
25 Aug 2020

Does hail damage solar panels? ›

Quality Solar Panels like the LG brand panels used by Solar Power Pros are extremely resistant to hail damage. Solar panel manufacturers test their panels to withstand up to 25 mm (1 inch) diameter for hailstones. While your actual roof is susceptible to damage form all sizes of hailstones.

Does a new roof count toward a tax credit on a solar energy system? ›

Previously, it allowed homeowners a federal solar tax credit for roof replacement. This equaled 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system on their home. As of 2020, the deduction dropped to 26 percent. In 2021, it will become 22 percent, and from 2022 onward, 10 percent.

Will solar panels increase my insurance? ›

Most rooftop solar energy systems are covered by standard homeowners policies, which doesn't change your insurance plan. However, you may need to increase the amount of coverage on your home to account for the cost of the system which can then raise your premium.

Why is my Tesla solar bill so high? ›

You may notice a higher bill in the summer when your solar system is producing the most energy. This energy is typically applied as a credit by your utility for usage later in the year. Tesla no longer provides this financing offering for new systems.

Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels? ›

Solar leases cause the most difficulty when owners of solar homes go to sell, according to a Colorado real-estate agent who trains other professionals on solar home sales—but that's only one of five problems that commonly arise when solar homes go on the market.

How do you remove solar panels to replace roof? ›

The process of removing solar panels involves unhooking the solar power generation system, uninstalling the hardware that holds the panels in place, and then taking down and securely storing the panels until it is time to put them back up again.
...
Remove Solar Panels to Replace Roof Costs.
ItemCost per PanelTotal Cost
Total Cost$94-$130$1,410-$1,950
3 more rows

Do solar panels cause roof problems? ›

For most homeowners, as long as your solar panels are properly installed, they shouldn't do damage to the exterior or the infrastructure of your roof. If you are working with a qualified licensed professional and your roof is in good condition, your solar panels won't affect the integrity of your roof.

How are solar panels fixed to roof? ›

Solar PV panels can be retrofitted onto an existing roof, on top of the tiles or other roofing materials, using roof anchors (also called roof-hooks or brackets), mounting rails and clamps. Mounting rails are usually made of aluminium (due to its lightness) and other components from aluminium or stainless steel.

Does a new roof count toward a tax credit on a solar energy system? ›

Previously, it allowed homeowners a federal solar tax credit for roof replacement. This equaled 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system on their home. As of 2020, the deduction dropped to 26 percent. In 2021, it will become 22 percent, and from 2022 onward, 10 percent.

Is it OK to leave a solar panel disconnected? ›

Many people wonder if it's OK to leave solar panels disconnected when they are exposed to the sun . Yes, it's OK. Nothing happens to them. Solar panels will generate electrons when sunlight strikes their surface, but with no closed circuit they go nowhere.

Does removing solar panels damage the roof? ›

The solar panel removal process can be dangerous and cause roof damage when not done properly by licensed professionals. Damage to the panels and improper repair of holes left by the mounting can void roof warranties. Roof-top solar panels offer numerous benefits to homeowners.

What happens when you sell a house with solar panels? ›

Most mortgage lenders will require the solar panels to be paid off and transferred to the new owner upon closing. This is to prevent the property from being devalued if the panels are repossessed by a third-party lender.

How common are roof leaks with solar panels? ›

Roof leaks after solar panels are extremely rare. When roof leaking after the solar panels are fitted does occur, however, it usually becomes evident very quickly after the installation process is finished. Almost always, homeowners will notice the leak within the first year, when it begins to rain or snow.

Will solar panels affect my house insurance? ›

Are Solar Panels Covered by Home Insurance? Yes, your solar panels are likely covered by your home insurance. As long as your solar panels are attached to your home, they'll have coverage under the dwelling portion of your homeowners policy.

Will my homeowners insurance go up if I get solar panels? ›

Will installing solar panels increase my insurance premium? More than likely, your homeowners insurance premium will go up as you add solar panels to your house and coverage. Primarily, this is because solar panels are still quite expensive, and adding the replacement cost is likely to increase your coverage limit.

How are solar panels attached to shingle roof? ›

Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Solar panels have been fixed to numerous houses in the United States with a lag bolt and flashing. The bolt is fastened to the roof's rafters, securely holding the solar panels and racking system together. A piece of flashing is laid beneath the shingle to guarantee there are no leaks.

How much weight do solar panels add to a roof? ›

Most solar panels weigh about 40 pounds That means, for pitched roofs, solar panels add about 2.8 pounds per square foot. For flat roofs, they add about five pounds per square foot.

How close to the edge of a roof can solar panels be installed? ›

In most cases, solar arrays are required to have a minimum of 18 inches set back from the ridge of the roof and may also require a three-foot pathway along one of the edges.

Do solar shingles qualify for tax credit? ›

Traditional roof materials and structural components that serve only a roofing or structural function do not qualify for the credit. However, some solar roofing tiles and solar roofing shingles serve both the functions of solar electric generation and structural support and such items may qualify for the credit .

Is a new roof tax deductible in 2022? ›

Can I deduct the cost of a new roof? Unfortunately, you cannot deduct the cost of a new roof. Installing a new roof is considered a home improvement and home improvement costs are not deductible. However, home improvement costs can increase the basis of your property.

How many years can I claim solar tax credit? ›

You can claim the federal solar tax credit as long as you are a U.S. homeowner and own your solar panel system. You can claim the credit once; it will roll over to the next year if the taxes you owe are less than the credit you earn.

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