At NES we believe there is a big transformation taking place to incorporate solar and renewables into properties with the focus on a sustainable future. Tesla are a key company to look out for in this transformation and all their products have a focus on a sustainable future. Since the buzz from Tesla’s solar roof tiles has quietened down we thought it would be a good time to go through what we know so far.
What are they and how does it work?
They work the same way as ordinary solar PV panels do by generating electricity for the home with an optional Tesla Powerwall 2 battery which will store excess energy instead of exporting it to the grid. The Tesla solar tiles replace your roof and the PV unit is built within the tiles making it hard to tell the difference between an ordinary roof and a Tesla roof. These are very different from the traditional mounted solar which has been a drawback for many people wanting to invest in solar.
Additionally, you don’t have to buy solar tiles to cover the entirety of your roof they will fit among traditional tiles. The idea behind it is to be able to integrate them seamlessly and effortlessly. There are four styles available: Tuscan, slate, textured and smooth, the latter two will go into production this summer in America with more to follow.
According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk their solar roof tiles could last up to 3-4 times longer than a traditional roof and have been tested under the most extreme conditions. They are guaranteed for the life of the home which is longer than the 20-year life span on traditional roofs which may be a huge selling factor.
How much does a Tesla Solar Roof cost?
Musk and Tesla officials have been indicating that the cost will be “less than a price of a regular roof when accounting for energy generation”. The cost includes removal of your current roof, the design permits, installation and operations, and even maintenance of your new solar roof. It also includes the installation of 14kWh Powerwall to store your energy and use it at night. Tesla states customers can expect to pay about roughly £16.88 per square foot and people will need 40 percent solar tile coverage on their roof to generate enough electricity, but for customers here in the UK that percentage will probably rise due to weather conditions.
So for a home with a 2,000 square foot area, which is very big and typically a detached house, can expect to pay around £38,000. Then over the next 30 years (Tesla’s warranty period) you would generate investment over that amount through energy savings. This is all based of the American solar model and schemes so this would be different for the UK and other countries. Right now for the vast majority this isn’t the best option unless you are building a new property or completely replacing your existing roof.
The demographic for a Tesla roof are homeowners with detached houses as these have the large roof space that is needed. The problem is this is a small percentage of the population and it is still too early to tell if the demand is there right now.
What you didn’t know…
Solar tiles are not a new concept and have been available in the UK for some years, unfortunately due to the lack of demand some have been discontinued. Here are the two manufacturers still selling solar tiles:
- GB – Sol have been selling PV slates for quite some time and are “barely distinguishable from the slates surrounding them”. They offer solar tiles in black and grey slates but will advise you on the best possible match. The PV slate visually imitates a row of 3 standard ‘duchess’ roofing slates but can cost a lot depending on your installer. If you were thinking about installing GB – Sol PV slate, we still believe financially it is worth the investment when needing a roof replacement as the costs at this stage outweigh the benefits significantly. If finance is not an issue there is no reason to not invest in whatever solar solutions you prefer.
GB – Sol PV Slates
- Another option is the C21e by the well-respected Solar Century, again the C21e is a solar roof tile but the difference is the solar tiles are embedded among your existing roof tiles rather than replacing. The C21e has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Excellence in Innovation, the Ecobuild Best Building Product and the Sunday Times R&D Award.
Solar Century C21e Solar Tiles
You will find the majority of solar installers offer embedded (integrated) solar PV units already and shopping around will help you find the right one.
For most people Tesla tiles, which appear to be more cost effective than companies like GB – Sol will be a preferred option, especially when instalment costs are included in the price. On the other hand, most of the UK population will not have roof space needed to generate enough electricity to power their home using solar tiles. Three to four traditional solar panels can generate 1kw of electricity it is estimated you would have to double the square meterage using solar tiles to generate the same amount.
NES Embedded Solar
Still want Tesla Solar Tiles?
If you are interested in solar and would like something more affordable we believe the best solution would be embedded solar with or without a new roof. The saving gained through your feed-in tariff and export tariffs would essentially pay for your new roof over a period of time with an investment.
For those who want Tesla solar tiles they are available to order now on the Tesla website but be aware you won’t get your new roof the following month as installations won’t occur in the UK until next year at the earliest.
Even if the cost and worries reduces interest in Tesla tiles it is exciting watching them make solar integrate with the home naturally and NES look forward to seeing their roofs in the UK in the near future.