Going Solar?

2017 is shaping up to be a great year for the solar industry and specifically Tesla and SolarCity merger. I have had quite a few people ask me about the solar shingles that Elon Musk unveiled last fall and I think I have information to share with you!



Frist of all, let’s figure out what the actual product is. The solar shingle from Tesla is a multiple layer piece that is sandwiched together. The solar shingle is available in 4 different styles. The color portion of the Slate Glass Tile, the part you see, is made by a computer-generated coloring system. Meaning, every piece is unique, much like a snow flake. So yes, your roof is one of a kind! The glass is made of tempered glass material and withstands an eight-pound ball when dropped at 4’. So, it’s durable, and in our hail ridden environment it’s crucial.


Each shingle will have its own solar cell with 1 positive and 1 negative wire. How that all connects to each other is still yet to be seen. The average size home (about 2,000 sq ft) will see approximately 1,000 shingles, so about 2,000 connections will need to be made. There is speculation that these will come in larger sheets to reduce the amount of connections, but still yet to be seen. It is quite an undertaking. From the ground, the shingles themselves look impressive and blend in nicely with the overall appearance of the house.



Now let’s talk about what everyone really wants to know, how much? According to Musk, the cost is the same as an asphalt roof plus the cost of electricity. Not sure how that’s even possible in the near future. Maybe in the long run, but certainly not this year. Let’s run the numbers.


The typical cost of a new roof in our area, based on 2,000 sq ft of roof space you’re looking at close to $6,000. Then the cost of the electricity, averaged over each year of $2,500. According to Tesla, the life span of their solar shingles is 30 years. Plugging their numbers into my calculator it tells me that you need to add $75,000. Upfront investment looks like $81,000. This is purely speculation. I’m sure that there are a lot of variables to consider as well. And keep in mind, you get free electricity during the 30-year period; it will pay you back, but is the upfront investment worth it? It was stated that the initial role out was geared towards upper 5% of Americans, but the short goal is to make it viable for any homeowner. I’ll give Tesla credit, there has been a significant price decrease from their first car. The Model 3 now goes for $35,000 from the original price tag of over $100,000.



What’s Next?

First things first, logistics. How will they be transported? Who’s going to install them? Currently, SolarCity installers are the only ones authorized to do so. What’s the cost? As discussed above, nobody really knows the exact cost; not even certain Tesla knows that answer.


When the solar shingles are released Summer 2017, they will not change the industry overnight. In fact, it will take years. However, new technologies will force us to grasp it, understand it, and run with it. Anyone not wanting to learn more about it will be left behind.


We do not install solar, yet. We are however, keeping our pulse on the new technology and embracing its change. Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date with this new technology!


2017 is shaping up to be a great year!