Tesla’s Solar Roof is ready to purchase; Here’s how much it costs

tesla solar roof

They guessing game and cryptic tweets are over. Amid the latest dark clouds from Q1, Tesla’s persistent optimism continues with the official launch of its solar industry-changing (maybe?) solar roof product.

So, does it live up to the hype? I suppose we can’t really know until these make it out in the market for an extended period, but Tesla’s price point and cost-saving projections are certainly intriguing.

So, what is it again?

Tesla isn’t looking to compete as much with conventional PV systems as it is with the roofing industry because this product is meant to be a literal replacement for the entire roof.

It does this by using two types of tiles—solar and non-solar. Looking at the roof from street level, the tiles look the same. Customers 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 our own research on the roofing industry, it became clear that roofing costs vary widely, and that buying a roof is often a worse experience than buying a car through a dealership,” The company stated in its blog explaining the product. “Initial contracts tend to be overly optimistic, and later customers face hidden costs that were never mentioned up front.”

Speaking on a briefing call with reporters, Musk said a solar roof covering 40 percent of the average-sized American home would generate 10 percent to 20 percent more electricity than a standard solar system.

Are solar roofs the next big thing?

How do costs compare?

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. Tesla says the cost of Solar Roof is less. Check out this chart.

tesla solar city roof tiles

The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof according to Tesla’s research, derived using similar methodology, roof size, and energy costs described in Consumer Reports’ research. This price does not reflect any solar incentives. The price was calculated for a roof where 35 percent of the tiles are solar (solar tiles cost more per square foot than non-solar tiles), in order to generate $53,500 worth of electricity, which according to Consumer Reports would make a solar roof more affordable than an asphalt shingle roof.

Feel free to play around with some scenarios using the company’s Solar Roof Calculator.

“Although the cost of our solar tiles is more expensive up front, it can be more than offset by the value of energy the tiles produce,” the company stated. “In many cases, the reduction in a home’s electricity bill over time will be greater than the cost of the roof.”

OK, but will it survive?

solar city roof warranty

The Solar Roof will be available in a variety of designs, including Smooth and Textured (available this year) and Tuscan and Slate (available early 2018). This sounds like crazy talk, but Tesla says Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, yet half the weight. Because they are made with tempered glass, they do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete.

And, the kicker: the warranty is infinite.

The first installations of the Solar Roof will begin this summer.

— Solar Builder magazine

Investor outlook: Four solar companies to watch as the industry matures

The following perspective was shared with us via Financialbuzz.com

Over the course of the last several years the solar industry has finally gone mainstream. A recent research published on December 12, 2016 by The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) shows how much progress has been made. The U.S. installed 4,143 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in the third quarter of 2016 to reach 35.8 gigawatts (GW) of total installed capacity, enough to power 6.5 million American homes. With more than 1 million residential solar installations nationwide and record-breaking growth in the utility-scale sector, the industry is projected to nearly double year-over-year.

Despite the encouraging numbers however, the industry still faces the challenges that are so familiar to businesses reaching maturity – improving efficiency and cutting costs. Thanks to technological innovations, the solar market is combating these challenges. Solarwindow Technologies, Corning Incorporated, Tesla, Canadian Solar, First Solar.

The innovations ahead

Nevada solar utility

Most solar companies today manufacture solar panels using large portions of silicon, called ingots, and cut it into small rectangular shapes. These silicon components account for approximately 40% of the cost of production for solar panels. While some companies have been finding ways to manufacture panels for cheaper using the same materials, the expectations are now somewhat different.

According to a report by Fortune, “today as the industry matures, much more of the expected lowered production costs will come from new components that plug into traditional silicon solar panels, new ways to manage the electrons from panels, or new ways to finance and sell the panels.” In addition, some innovative companies are coming up with entire new techniques to salvage the sun’s energy.

Solarwindow Technologies creates transparent electricity-generating liquid coatings. When applied to glass or plastics, these coatings convert passive windows and other materials into electricity generators under natural, artificial, low, shaded, and even reflected light conditions. Earlier this week, Solarwindow Technologies announced that, “it has been named a winner in the 2017 BIG Innovation Awards presented by the Business Intelligence Group.

Unlike conventional solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the company’s coatings can be applied to all sides of tall towers, generating electricity using natural and artificial light, as well from diffused and reflected light, and in shaded areas.

RELATED: How the cell-optimizer, string inverter combo could change PV systems 

When applied to a 50-story building, SolarWindow could avoid more than two million miles of equivalent carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles on the road, reduce electricity costs by as much as 50 percent per year, provide 15-times the environmental benefits over other roof-top solar PV systems, and according to independently-validated engineering modeling, could achieve a one-year financial payback.”

On Jan. 18, Solarwindow Technologies revealed that the company’s “scientists and engineers recently applied layers of the company’s liquid coatings on to Corning Willow Glass and laminated them under conditions that simulate the high pressure and temperatures of the manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers. The result is a bendable glass ‘veneer’, as thin as a business card, which generates electricity.” The Corning Willow Glass is developed by Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW), a company with expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics.

American automaker and energy storage company, Tesla Inc., showcased it’s at-home battery, the Powerwall 2, for homes and small businesses that stores the sun’s energy and delivers clean, reliable electricity when the sun isn’t shining. Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, emphasizes that homes can capture this free, abundant energy source through rooftop solar tiles, turning sunlight into electricity for immediate use or storage in a Powerwall battery. The new Tesla Powerwall 2 will cost around $5,500, which consist of a built-in inverter and twice the storage capacity of the first ever Powerwall battery. The product is not yet available out in the market.

Canadian Solar Inc. announced that it has completed the sale of the outstanding shares of 3 utility-scale solar farm holding companies, SSM 1 Solar ULC, SSM 2 Solar ULC, and SSM 3 Solar ULC, totaling 59.8 MW AC to Fengate SSM Holdco LP, an affiliate of Fengate Real Asset Investments for over $195.32 Million. Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar, commented, “We are delighted to announce the successful sale of 3 additional solar power plants. To this point, we have sold all of our operating plants of 100 MWdc in Canada, including the BeamLight and Alfred projects sold in December 2016. We value our partnership with Fengate and look forward to deepening our cooperation while we continue to monetize our solar power plants in other countries.”

First Solar Inc. has been awarded the module supply contract for the 140-megawatt Sun Metals Solar Farm in North Queensland, Australia. The project marks the largest solar initiative by the country and, once constructed, is set to utilize more than 1.16 million First Solar advanced thin-film photovoltaic modules to produce approximately 270,000 megawatt-hours of energy in its first year of operation.

“Large-scale solar is fast becoming one of the most cost-effective sources of energy generation in Australia. This project represents the viability of the commercial and industrial solar market in Australia, and the growing trend of major energy consumers owning and operating renewable energy assets,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s regional manager for Asia Pacific.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar Roof Tiles as Imagined by Tesla

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Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and SolarCity chairman recently unveiled a new type of roofing tiles, which are also solar panels. It’s no secret that the Tesla company is rapidly developing new ways of establishing a more sustainable future, and these roofing tiles are a great idea. They would be used to cover a roof just like regular tiles, and thereby incorporate solar energy harvesting potential directly into any home without the need to spend money on and install a separate solar power array.

roof

These solar tiles are made of glass and come in many different styles, including textured tiles, French slate, flat modern and Tuscan style curved roof tiles. Every tile appears opaque when looking at it from ground level, so the solar cells inside it would only be visible from the air.

tile

The main goal of this project was to develop rooftop solar arrays, which would be more aesthetically pleasing than currently available ones. And by having the solar panels also act as roofing tiles, the whole system would also be much more affordable than currently available solutions. The tiles they created in some cases look even nicer than regular ones, while they also last longer, provide better insulation and, according to Musk, “Have an installed cost that is less than a normal roof plus the cost of electricity.”

Tiles made of glass might not sound very durable, but they tested their durability by dropping a weight onto a roof covered in them from above. The tiles did not shatter as traditional roofing tiles do in such a test, but only cracked. They did not yet announce the price of these tiles, or their energy generation and insulation value. But it is a project well worth following as it goes forward.

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Apart from introducing these new solar roof tiles, Tesla also announced the second generation of their Powerwall battery. The so-called Powerwall 2 is basically a battery pack, which is capable of providing 14 kWh of storage. This is enough to provide sufficient power for everything needed in a four-bedroom home for a day. Hooked up to a rooftop mounted solar system, it could in theory be used to power a home for quite a long time. The Powerwall 2 costs $5,500 and they will begin taking orders for it soon. Its development is a joint effort between Tesla and SolarCity.

SPI Preview: Fronius showcases shutdown, storage, smart meters, software and a paddleboard

While attending Solar Power International in Las Vegas this year, you will notice the large presence Fronius has on the trade show floor (booth 1521), promoting a slew of products under its mantra of “24 hours of sun.” Here is a sneak peek of what you’ll find. (Oh, and you’ll also have a chance to win several prizes, including a grand prize of an inflatable Fronius paddleboard.)

Fronius smart inverter

Fronius Primo Hybrid and Tesla Powerwall

Fronius Rapid Shutdown solution

The Fronius Rapid Shutdown Boxes provide an NEC 2014 code (690.12) compliant solution while enhancing rooftop and firefighter safety. Directly connected to the inverter through the same conduit as the DC homeruns, the Fronius solution minimizes the number of components needed providing ease of installation. See both versions of the Fronius Rapid Shutdown Box and how it can be mounted behind the array.

Fronius Primo Hybrid and Tesla Powerwall

The Fronius Primo Hybrid is the seamless storage solution for residential solar systems. It is suitable for both new solar installations and existing systems. The Fronius Primo Hybrid inverter, partnered with the Tesla Powerwall creates the most streamlined storage system available. The Fronius Primo Hybrid can operate the PV array and the Tesla Powerwall at the same time, reducing system costs. In existing systems, the Fronius Primo Hybrid can simply be added (AC coupled) or replace the existing inverter (DC coupled).

Fronius Smart Meter

Are you facing feed-in limitations for a solar system? Or would you like to monitor a house’s energy consumption? Fronius has you covered – Introducing the Fronius Smart Meter, a bidirectional energy meter. Thanks to high accuracy and fast communication via Modbus RTU, the meter is suitable for various applications, such as dynamic feed-in management (e.g. zero export) or self-supply systems. Together with Fronius Solar.web, the Fronius Smart Meter offers a detailed overview of energy consumption within a home or commercial building.

Fronius SnapINverter line

The Fronius SnapINverters are a string inverter family from 1.5 to 24.0 kW with a simple hinged mounting system, allowing for easy installation within 15 minutes or less. Simply commission the system with the company’s smartphone app and connect it to Fronius Solar.web via integrated Wi-Fi. The great design flexibility and rich feature set with integrated DC disconnect, AFCI, Wi-Fi, SunSpec Modbus, Advanced Grid Features and optional Revenue Grade Meter make SnapINverters a great choice for any residential or commercial installation.

Remote inverter software update and Bay4 Energy

Fronius will introduce its all-new Fronius Solar.web online monitoring platform, including the new remote inverter software update feature. Also, learn more about its collaboration with Bay4 Energy to provide best-in-class commissioning support, O&M and asset performance management services.

“We are looking forward to presenting the latest Fronius solutions to our customers and to further supporting the US solar market with innovations that bring us closer to 24 hours of sun,” says Tristan Kreager, Director of Solar Energy at Fronius USA.

— Solar Builder magazine

SolarCity, Tesla make things official and merge to focus on solar+storage

Solar CityAre you sitting down? SolarCity and Tesla will be joining forces to ramp up efforts on a big-time solar-plus-storage rollout in the U.S. The announcement was only a matter of time and makes a ton of sense for both companies.

Here is the official word from Tesla’s blog:

Now is the right time to bring our two companies together: Tesla is getting ready to scale our Powerwall and Powerpack stationary storage products and SolarCity is getting ready to offer next-generation differentiated solar solutions. By joining forces, we can operate more efficiently and fully integrate our products, while providing customers with an aesthetically beautiful and simple one-stop solar + storage experience: one installation, one service contract, one phone app.

We expect to achieve cost synergies of $150 million in the first full year after closing. We also expect to save customers money by lowering hardware costs, reducing installation costs, improving our manufacturing efficiency and reducing our customer acquisition costs. We will also be able to leverage Tesla’s 190-store retail network and international presence to extend our combined reach.

Here are some key terms of today’s announcement: this is an all-stock transaction with an equity value of $2.6 billion based on the 5-day volume-weighted average price of Tesla shares as of July 29, 2016. Under the agreement, SolarCity stockholders will receive 0.110 Tesla common shares per SolarCity share, valuing SolarCity common stock at $25.37 per share based on the 5-day volume weighted average price of Tesla shares as of July 29, 2016.

— Solar Builder magazine