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Tesla's Solar Roof Is More Expensive Than Typical Roof, But Here's Why The World Will Still Buy It

11 May 2017, 10:49 pm EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Tesla has now opened preorders for its solar roof, with an expected delivery date sometime this year. Here’s how much it’ll cost to install the solar roof in your home, and why it makes sense to do so.  ( Tesla )

Tesla has begun accepting preorders for its solar roof — tile-sized solar panels which the company unveiled back in October 2016. They're not like your run-of-the-mill solar panels: they're more pleasant-looking and they're integrated into the structure and aesthetics of your own home. Best of all — you won't have to rip off your existing tiles to have it installed.

As per the company, the "typical" U.S. customer can expect to shell out $21.85 per square foot of solar panels. For those who have two-story 2,000-square-foot homes in New York, expect the installation to run around $50,000. For a typical home in Maryland, meanwhile, that'll go as high as $52,000, as per Tesla's FAQ page.

Tesla Solar Roof Energy Savings

But what you spend in the panels, you get back in energy savings. According to Tesla's solar roof calculator, users with solar roofs can save up to $64,000 in over 30 years.

"In many cases, the reduction in a home's electricity bill over time will be greater than the cost of the roof," Tesla says.

Only 2 Types Of Solar Tiles Available For Now

For now, Tesla is only making two types of solar panels available — the "smooth" and "textured" glass tiles. Tesla had originally promised four, with the remaining two, "Tuscan" and "French Slate," to become available in about six months, CEO Elon Musk says. He adds that Tesla's solar roofs can be installed in "almost any country." U.S. deliveries will start this year, UK deliveries begin next year.

The solar roof can connect to the Powerwall 2, Tesla's home battery that stores up to 14 kWh of energy. The tiles are made of tempered glass for damage protection. What's more, they're designed and printed in a way that makes them almost invisible from onlookers. Tesla claims the tiles look opaque enough to be mistaken for a typical roof.

The glass tiles will also come with a lifetime warranty. Moreover, unlike asphalt or concrete, Tesla says the tiles won't corrode over time, arguing that it's the most durable roof available. Musk proves this with a video of a cannonball hitting Tesla's solar roof, then hitting traditional roof tiles. Unsurprisingly, the latter breaks; the solar roof emerges unscathed.

Despite The Price, Here's Why Installing Tesla's Solar Roof Makes Sense

Again, preorders are now live, which requires a $1,000 deposit that's refundable if you end up balking at the solar roof. Tesla will eventually bring an engineer and survey your roof to work out how much square footage of solar panels you'd need.

It's easy to imagine that the installation price would cause many to scamper away immediately, but ordering one actually makes sense in the long run. First, the cost efficiency. If Tesla's claims over the roof's energy savings prove accurate, then users will eventually reap what they originally invested, thereby offsetting the initial steep cost with higher savings in total.

Second, installing the solar roof doesn't require purchasing Tesla's Powerwall, so if you take that out of the the company's calculator, you stand to end up with less expensive costs.

Third, well — it looks pretty. It'll prevent your house from being an eyesore to onlookers, as most traditional solar panels often do.

What's more, Tesla's estimates include materials, installation, and more. It's basically the whole package.

At present, specific metrics are hard to put side-by-side with traditional solar panels, simply because we still need to record actual savings users will get with the solar roof via real-world testing. Expect due coverage when Tesla's solar roof begin to ship this year.

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