Tesla Solar Roof

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tech_arch
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Tesla Solar Roof

Postby tech_arch » Wed May 10, 2017 9:02 pm

I saw that Tesla released pricing of their solar roofs today. Even though we're in the middle of getting a traditional PV system installed, I decided to see what their cost estimate would be for my house. I was not impressed.

Traditional system: 9kW, $21,500 before 30% federal tax credit. My estimated break-even time is ~9.5 years, saving about $1600/year on electricity. Over 25 years, that amounts to $40k (not including output degradation).

Tesla estimate: 40% covering our roof, $98,200 before federal tax credit of $21,100 (no Powerwall.) They estimate $17,100 earned over 30 years plus you get a new roof. Excluding the rest of the roof, that's about $70k for their solar tiles.

So essentially I invest $70k to earn $17k over 30 years? I can do better with a savings account paying 1%.

Am I missing something? Maybe our electricity rates just make it infeasible. Has anybody else priced out their homes?

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TimeRunner
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby TimeRunner » Wed May 10, 2017 9:06 pm

I looked for data sheets or ANY Tesla technical literature like data sheets to answer questions like how are they wired, what do the connections look like, what is the physical size, etc and didn't find anything. That's a huge red flag. If anyone has a link for that, please post.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 10, 2017 9:20 pm

I thought this was supposed to be comparable to a normal roof. Even with the tax credit, it's 10 times what we paid for our last re-roof.
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Lancelot
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Lancelot » Wed May 10, 2017 11:00 pm

tech_arch wrote:
So essentially I invest $70k to earn $17k over 30 years? I can do better with a savings account paying 1%.

Am I missing something? Maybe our electricity rates just make it infeasible. Has anybody else priced out their homes?


I skimmed the article, but I'm with you, very low pay back
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Leif
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Leif » Wed May 10, 2017 11:16 pm

Looks very expensive out of the gate. I guess that is why they use a 30 years payback period. That is the only way to get a positive number. Hopefully prices will fall. I like this product. I already have a 30 year old roof, so it would be nice to reroof using solar tiles. However, right now, WAY more expensive then a standard roof replace, despite claims to the contrary. I don't what to wait 30 years for ROI.

With a 3,000 SFt roof the price is about $45,000 after a tax credit (no powerwall). That is about $15 SFt. They estimate $18,000 saved over 30 years at $100/mo. electric bill. Looks like break even is about 15 years. Adding panels takes about half that time for break-even.
Last edited by Leif on Wed May 10, 2017 11:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Saving$
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Saving$ » Wed May 10, 2017 11:28 pm

I just received two very close estimates for a new roof, so thought I would compare.
1. The Tesla calculator is accurate to within 1% of my own measured take off of total roof square footage
2. Tesla's assumptions for how much electricity I use annually were almost double what I actually use, but you can edit the assumptions to correct them.
3. Tesla's calculation included one Tesla wall battery by default. Removing the wall battery cut the projected energy savings over 30 years by more than half, which significantly increased the cost of 30 year cost of the roof. The economic model clearly favors including a Powerwall battery. I don't know if this is due to raw data, or Tesla's desire to sell Powerwalls.
4. After editing the assumption on the monthly electrical bill, but leaving the accurate square footage, and leaving in one Powerwall (the optimum quantity), Tesla tells me:
a. Net cost over 30 years equals approximately twice what I was quoted for a conventional roof with 30 year shingles
b. Upfront cost before tax credit is greater than 8 times the estimates for a conventional roof
c. Upfront cost after tax credit is greater than 6 times the estimates for a conventional roof

Mudpuppy
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Mudpuppy » Wed May 10, 2017 11:32 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:I thought this was supposed to be comparable to a normal roof. Even with the tax credit, it's 10 times what we paid for our last re-roof.

Depends on your definition of a "normal roof". Looks like Telsa compared to a high-end tile roof, not a basic asphalt shingle roof, at least if you look at the chart given in this article: https://electrek.co/2017/05/10/tesla-so ... -warranty/

My house only has a 10 year old roof on it, with 30-year asphalt shingles, so it's another decade at least before it will need a re-roofing. I'll play the "wait and see" game on this technology.

mnaspbh
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby mnaspbh » Wed May 10, 2017 11:56 pm

Net cost is over 4x the all-in cost of our high-end shingle roof (lifetime/50 yr warranty) we had done last fall, and that's using Tesla's wildly optimistic estimates. I happened to price out solar panels back then, and the Tesla roof would be over double the cost of the roof we got plus the panels I priced out. Payback time for the panels would be about 28 years, and for the Tesla solar roof, well, it might pay for itself in 3 more generations. :oops:

Our house is poorly oriented for solar, but even so, the Tesla roof is just crazy expensive compared to solar panels. The Tesla roof size estimate is wildly wrong, even though Google Project Sunroof gets it spot-on.

The Tesla roof prices do NOT include taxes, permits, or fees, and it assumes that all solar tax rebates are available which they may not be by the time Tesla gets around to trying to install your new roof. They also make unspecified (possibly wildly optimistic) assumptions about solar power generation and utility regulations. Some states have very generous regulations around solar power generation, others very poor, and those regulations are also very much subject to change.

I'd really love to go solar, but it just doesn't make sense for us, and the Tesla solar roof looks like a step in the wrong direction from our perspective. It might be almost competitive if we lived in a perfectly-oriented house in a state with wildly favorable solar power regulations, and if our electricity usage was much much higher than it is.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby daveydoo » Thu May 11, 2017 12:13 am

tech_arch wrote:I saw that Tesla released pricing of their solar roofs today. Even though we're in the middle of getting a traditional PV system installed, I decided to see what their cost estimate would be for my house. I was not impressed.


And is this to be completely off the grid with battery back-up, or this including the selling back of the electricity? I'm not current but haven't we had multiple threads about the wildcard effect of utilities charging customers insane rates for the "privilege" of using their infrastructure to sell electricity back to the grid? Makes the 30-year rate calculations (hell, even the two-year calculations) wildly unpredictable, imo.

Valuethinker
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Thu May 11, 2017 3:57 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:I thought this was supposed to be comparable to a normal roof. Even with the tax credit, it's 10 times what we paid for our last re-roof.

Depends on your definition of a "normal roof". Looks like Telsa compared to a high-end tile roof, not a basic asphalt shingle roof, at least if you look at the chart given in this article: https://electrek.co/2017/05/10/tesla-so ... -warranty/

My house only has a 10 year old roof on it, with 30-year asphalt shingles, so it's another decade at least before it will need a re-roofing. I'll play the "wait and see" game on this technology.


This is absolutely the right decision to take. Solar roof technology is likely to get better and better. Similarly lessons will be learned about durability, installation, optimum configuration etc.

I think that currently the solar roof tile technology is really only appropriate for places where HOA or other conservation restrictions prevent simple solar panels, externally mounted.

In the future it will no doubt become so cheap that south or west facing solar tiles will become the standard roofing material- -perhaps required by law. But that future is not yet.

Valuethinker
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Thu May 11, 2017 4:04 am

tech_arch wrote:I saw that Tesla released pricing of their solar roofs today. Even though we're in the middle of getting a traditional PV system installed, I decided to see what their cost estimate would be for my house. I was not impressed.

Traditional system: 9kW, $21,500 before 30% federal tax credit. My estimated break-even time is ~9.5 years, saving about $1600/year on electricity. Over 25 years, that amounts to $40k (not including output degradation).

Tesla estimate: 40% covering our roof, $98,200 before federal tax credit of $21,100 (no Powerwall.) They estimate $17,100 earned over 30 years plus you get a new roof. Excluding the rest of the roof, that's about $70k for their solar tiles.

So essentially I invest $70k to earn $17k over 30 years? I can do better with a savings account paying 1%.

Am I missing something? Maybe our electricity rates just make it infeasible. Has anybody else priced out their homes?


Tesla is using a roof tile technology?

In current circumstances, that's really only a good solution where there are visual, historic conservation or other restrictions that prevent the use of standard stand-alone solar panel arrays.

harikaried
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby harikaried » Thu May 11, 2017 4:51 am

Tesla's pricing is $11/sqft for non-solar tiles and $42/sqft for solar tiles. This means the net cost for solar is an extra $31/sqft. These are without factoring tax incentives. With the 30% incentive, the solar tiles are about $30/sqft (which means you effectively get to apply the incentive towards part of your roof :beer ).

The total cost to replace a roof with asphalt tiles is roughly $5/sqft while other materials are about $14/sqft. Google's Project Sunroof estimates solar panel installation around $35/sqft with incentives and $50/sqft without.

So if one needed to replace the whole roof and add the same amount of solar sqft, it would be comparing the $5/sqft asphalt vs $11/sqft non-solar tiles plus $55/sqft asphalt+solar vs $42/sqft solar tiles. For non-solar portion, asphalt is cheaper, but the solar portion starts shifting towards Tesla solar tiles.

However, if the roof were to be replaced with slate/tile/metal, then it would be cheaper to go with the Tesla option as the non-solar tiles are cheaper than the regular non-asphalt roofing cost. And the Tesla solar option at $31/sqft is cheaper than $50/sqft solar panels (although the Tesla solar price probably needs to be increased for some efficiency loss relative to panels).

Additionally, at least from Tesla's own testing, their glass roof is much stronger, lighter, and more durable than other roofing materials, so that might impact future needs to replace the roof.

Edit: Updated with tax incentive/less numbers.
Last edited by harikaried on Thu May 11, 2017 7:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

Boston Barry
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Boston Barry » Thu May 11, 2017 7:00 am

tech_arch wrote:Traditional system: 9kW, $21,500 before 30% federal tax credit. My estimated break-even time is ~9.5 years, saving about $1600/year on electricity. Over 25 years, that amounts to $40k (not including output degradation).


What brand system gives you 9kWh power for $21,500 before the federal tax credit? I was given estimates of around 21.5K after tax credits for 10kWh system with LG panels. Would love to get 9 kWh for net $15,000...

tech_arch
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby tech_arch » Thu May 11, 2017 7:55 am

daveydoo wrote:
tech_arch wrote:I saw that Tesla released pricing of their solar roofs today. Even though we're in the middle of getting a traditional PV system installed, I decided to see what their cost estimate would be for my house. I was not impressed.


And is this to be completely off the grid with battery back-up, or this including the selling back of the electricity? I'm not current but haven't we had multiple threads about the wildcard effect of utilities charging customers insane rates for the "privilege" of using their infrastructure to sell electricity back to the grid? Makes the 30-year rate calculations (hell, even the two-year calculations) wildly unpredictable, imo.

My numbers are based on net metering. My utility is a co-op and rates have been stable so I've not taken anybody's assumption of 2% annual rate inflation too seriously. My Tesla quote was worse with a Powerwall, so I removed it.

Boston Barry wrote:
tech_arch wrote:Traditional system: 9kW, $21,500 before 30% federal tax credit. My estimated break-even time is ~9.5 years, saving about $1600/year on electricity. Over 25 years, that amounts to $40k (not including output degradation).


What brand system gives you 9kWh power for $21,500 before the federal tax credit? I was given estimates of around 21.5K after tax credits for 10kWh system with LG panels. Would love to get 9 kWh for net $15,000...

REC Twin Peaks 290W panels with a Sunny Boy 7.7 string inverter. We're early adopters in our neighborhood and were able to get a good deal for that.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Jack FFR1846 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:24 am

Ok, I sort of get it. If we were to use slate, which is extremely uncommon in my area unless it's a government or college building, they say they're competitive. I have to think that they haven't looked very carefully into our state's pre-payment plan. The state pays for 20 years of expected electricity generation up front to get installation done. The result is that I can't walk into a Lowes or Home Depot without having a solar company telling me about getting solar installed for zero cost. If the solar roof could be zero cost and could be done instead of replacing asphalt shingles, it would be a great deal. Spending $50k to avoid a $4k re-roof and free solar panel install makes no sense. Our electricity is 20 cents a kWHr, so pretty expensive.
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Angelus359
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Angelus359 » Thu May 11, 2017 8:27 am

It doesn't count install price, but unifi solar is 2kw per 3k usd.
The stuff is designed to be so simple, that it's diy though.

I'm getting my price from streakwave

Diy solar sounds a bit scary though, tbh
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tech_arch
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby tech_arch » Thu May 11, 2017 8:46 am

Angelus359 wrote:Diy solar sounds a bit scary though, tbh

I agree with this, at least for roof-top installs. There's no way I'd feel confident installing mountings and flashing on my roof, but if it was a ground install I'd probably go the DIY route.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby squirm » Thu May 11, 2017 1:29 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Mudpuppy wrote:
Jack FFR1846 wrote:I thought this was supposed to be comparable to a normal roof. Even with the tax credit, it's 10 times what we paid for our last re-roof.

Depends on your definition of a "normal roof". Looks like Telsa compared to a high-end tile roof, not a basic asphalt shingle roof, at least if you look at the chart given in this article: https://electrek.co/2017/05/10/tesla-so ... -warranty/

My house only has a 10 year old roof on it, with 30-year asphalt shingles, so it's another decade at least before it will need a re-roofing. I'll play the "wait and see" game on this technology.


This is absolutely the right decision to take. Solar roof technology is likely to get better and better. Similarly lessons will be learned about durability, installation, optimum configuration etc.

I think that currently the solar roof tile technology is really only appropriate for places where HOA or other conservation restrictions prevent simple solar panels, externally mounted.

In the future it will no doubt become so cheap that south or west facing solar tiles will become the standard roofing material- -perhaps required by law. But that future is not yet.


I would think the technology improves but the terms from the utilities probably will not. For example, Ten years from now you might not get full retail credit rates if you do now.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Easy Rhino » Thu May 11, 2017 1:54 pm

How do they assume savings using a powerwall? I can think of only two ways:

1) you're on a time of use plan with your utility and can do "peak shaving" to charge at low rates and drain at high rates.

2) you're on some sort of unfavorable net metering situation where excess production during the day would be credited at a bad rate, and the battery would let you save it at night. (note that in san diego the NEM2.0 doesn't even do this.)

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby taguscove » Thu May 11, 2017 1:58 pm

Though very promising, it's clearly an early adopter technology.

I remember analyzing the Toyota Prius in 2001 when it first came out, and it made zero economic sense compared to a Toyota Corolla.
What I failed to consider was the trajectory that the new technology would improve.

15 years later, hybrid cars are cost competitive in many cases and occupy a substantial segment of US car sales.

Similar story with electric cars.
Similar story with solar roofs.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby harikaried » Thu May 11, 2017 2:30 pm

Easy Rhino wrote:How do they assume savings using a powerwall?
Playing around with the calculator with different addresses seems to show adding Powerwalls have no effect on "Value of energy" for California (where there's net metering). Whereas for Nevada (no net metering), adding the first Powerwall will increase the Value of energy quite a bit because you'll be able to use solar in the evening, but adding more will increase the Value at a lower rate because the solar can only generate so much energy during the day.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby barnaclebob » Thu May 11, 2017 3:09 pm

TimeRunner wrote:I looked for data sheets or ANY Tesla technical literature like data sheets to answer questions like how are they wired, what do the connections look like, what is the physical size, etc and didn't find anything. That's a huge red flag. If anyone has a link for that, please post.


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Pajamas
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Pajamas » Thu May 11, 2017 4:08 pm

Solar installers are notorious for being overly optimistic in their projections. No need to be a guinea pig for Tesla, especially considering the expense, wait until the second or third generation equipment and for the installers to perfect their work.

harikaried
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby harikaried » Thu May 11, 2017 4:32 pm

Pajamas wrote:Solar installers are notorious for being overly optimistic in their projections.
Tesla directly addresses that in their blog: https://www.tesla.com/blog/solar-roof

Tesla wrote: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. Initial contracts tend to be overly optimistic, and later customers face hidden costs that were never mentioned up front.


They provide the solar roof calculator, but the 30 year "Value of energy" projection does seem a bit optimistic. E.g., if you put a $0 monthly electricity cost, the value doesn't change although it does try to adjust the percentage of needed solar. It does seem to adjust the recommended number of Powerwalls based on the incremental value, i.e., if paying another $7000 doesn't increase net savings (based on the ability to store solar for later use), it will reduce the recommended number of Powerwalls.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 12, 2017 7:07 am

taguscove wrote:Though very promising, it's clearly an early adopter technology.

I remember analyzing the Toyota Prius in 2001 when it first came out, and it made zero economic sense compared to a Toyota Corolla.
What I failed to consider was the trajectory that the new technology would improve.

15 years later, hybrid cars are cost competitive in many cases and occupy a substantial segment of US car sales.

Similar story with electric cars.
Similar story with solar roofs.


I recommend Dieter Helm's new book on all this.

https://www.amazon.com/Burn-Out-Endgame ... 0300225628

We can't predict how technology will develop, but we can create plausible end scenarios. In particular his one:

- electricity will be distributed in generation, and free, or nearly so (distribution charges will remain in some form)-- analogies with broadband and phone services 40 years ago compared to today

- carbon emissions will be highly constrained by taxes, tradable permits or other mechanisms

- electricity will be the primary source of energy for major activities: heating, transportation etc.

I agree with you re solar roofs: i.e. the technology is likely to get better and better. Major forecasting bodies like the IEA and BP have consistently underestimated the rate of cost reduction, technical progress and deployment for renewable technologies. They may well also be doing so for Electric Vehicles.

It speaks to not hurrying to adopt. I would even consider leasing a car rather than buying, right now, because the pace of technology change is so fast.

I had this with LEDs. 6 years ago, at nearly £20 per bulb (say $30) for a replacement for a 50w halogen, it paid to replace-- I had an NPV model that showed this ;-). I pay about 22 cents US for electricity per kwhr.

Lo and behold you can get those same LEDs for below £5 per bulb. Prices fell faster than my savings in energy. It would have paid to wait (interest rates fell to record low levels and stayed there, so the opportunity cost was not huge, but still). :oops: :oops:

ponyboy
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby ponyboy » Fri May 12, 2017 7:41 am

Considering Tesla hasnt even been profitable yet selling their cars...I would hold off on buying a solar roof from them. Not to mention it costs 20x as much as a "shingle" roof.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby tedgeorge » Fri May 12, 2017 8:43 am

There is a lot of genius in this offering. Just like Apple, they get you to buy a premium device and then entice you to buy premium add ons.

You charge your Model S with regular power...how...pedestrian. :D

If this helps move other companies along to cheaper and better looking solar panels then great!

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby ibanda » Fri May 12, 2017 9:52 am

I am fascinated by this technology and I do think Elon Musk and Tesla will figure it out and solar roofs will be the norm in the future. I ran the calculator on their website. I am currently re-roofing my small 2/1 house in Fort Worth, TX, cost is $5,300 for asphalt shingles. The Tesla solar roof would cost $52,400 before tax breaks and after 30 years I would still owe $800 on the roof.

$52,400 Value of Energy
-$63,400 Cost of Roof
-$7,000 Cost of Powerwall Battery
+$17,200 Tax Credit

=$800 Net cost over 30 years

I would think Texas would be a great place to put in solar. I had to enter about 8 friends or family addresses in different cities and states before I found one that would save money after 30 years. If the upfront cost of the roof is 10 times more and doesn't even payback after 30 years. I might be ready when version 3.0 comes out. Here is the calculator if anyone wants to see how it works out in your area https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby surfstar » Fri May 12, 2017 10:02 am

Our electric bill is so low, our payoff would be about... never.
And I like the thought of saving energy and money and generating your own electricity, and all that. But alas, ROI dominates.

Nate79
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Nate79 » Fri May 12, 2017 10:11 am

Even if they payoff after 30 years it is only because of the tax credits. This is not even close to a viable technology yet.

Valuethinker
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 12, 2017 10:52 am

ponyboy wrote:Considering Tesla hasnt even been profitable yet selling their cars...I would hold off on buying a solar roof from them. Not to mention it costs 20x as much as a "shingle" roof.


I am not sure that Tesla's non profitability with cars is a good steer on their position on solar panels. And that business came via a merger (of questionable value to Tesla shareholders in my view, but good value to Elon Musk's personal position).

Unless you simply meant they are not likely to be around in 20 years? Issues for servicing of contract.

I think it's too early for this technology. Practical applications are limited to those places where conventional rooftop solar panels are not permitted or not usable (can't think of any of the latter) or the aesthetic problem really will hurt home values (I live in an area of 19th and early 20th century homes, albeit in the UK, not historic conservation protected (in general; teardowns are almost impossible though)-- solar panels on roofs do not lower home value).

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 12, 2017 10:53 am

Nate79 wrote:Even if they payoff after 30 years it is only because of the tax credits. This is not even close to a viable technology yet.


Depends on your electricity rate? And also geographic location?

I agree most Americans don't pay much for electricity by developed world standards. There are places in New England and California though... and Hawaii of course.

I think there are benefits to waiting, or going for simple solar panels. This is all a sign of where things are going, though.

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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby stoptothink » Fri May 12, 2017 10:59 am

surfstar wrote:Our electric bill is so low, our payoff would be about... never.
And I like the thought of saving energy and money and generating your own electricity, and all that. But alas, ROI dominates.


+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.

harikaried
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby harikaried » Fri May 12, 2017 11:11 am

Valuethinker wrote:Depends on your electricity rate? And also geographic location?
Additionally, it seems very dependent on net metering, which is a risky thing to expect to be favorable in 30 years.

Just picking random addresses in each state with a 50% coverage of 2000sqft roof and no Powerwalls unless specified (i.e., cost of roof is fixed across comparison):

Hawaii: $91,000 Net earned over 30 years (with 3 Powerwalls)
Alaska: $12,500 Net earned over 30 years
California: $44,200 Net earned over 30 years
Oregon: $8,200 Net cost over 30 years
Washington: $14,000 Net cost over 30 years
Nevada: $2,000 Net cost over 30 years (with 2 Powerwalls)
Idaho: $18,400 Net cost over 30 years (with 2 Powerwalls)
Arizona: $17,500 Net earned over 30 years
Utah: $9,000 Net earned over 30 years
Wyoming: $1,900 Net earned over 30 years
Montana: $400 Net cost over 30 years
New Mexico: $23,500 Net earned over 30 years
Colorado: $10,200 Net earned over 30 years
Texas: $8,000 Net cost over 30 years (with 2 Powerwalls)
Oklahoma: $3,400 Net earned over 30 years

The tax credit for the 1000sqft solar used above is $12,600 (included in the earned/cost). So Hawaii and California are the only ones significantly above that threshold of "savings are only from the credit." New Mexico and Arizona are a little bit above the tax credit.

Definitely looks like further north states of Washington and Idaho are better off without solar. Although curiously Montana is almost breaking even and Alaska is making money?

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Leif
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Leif » Fri May 12, 2017 11:49 am

ponyboy wrote:Considering Tesla hasnt even been profitable yet selling their cars...I would hold off on buying a solar roof from them. Not to mention it costs 20x as much as a "shingle" roof.


A bit off topic, but just a brief note. I hear this so much, Tesla is not profitable.

How Tesla compares to the big guys
The reason why those attention-grabbing figures are misleading is that they include operating expenses, which includes all of the investments that the company is making to fund future growth. That includes R&D, design, and engineering expenses, as well as massive amounts of capital expenditures to build product tooling and manufacturing infrastructure.

Tesla's gross margin is actually quite impressive and higher than rivals Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM), specifically because Tesla only plays in the niche luxury segment right now. On a gross profit basis, Tesla made over $18,000 per vehicle last year. The operating margin is where Tesla lags, which should expectedly persist as Tesla remains in growth mode.


Gross margin
..Tesla 22.8%
..Ford 15.4%
..GM 12%

Operating Margin
..Tesla (17.7%)
..Ford 5.1%
..GM 3.5%

How Tesla Motors Could Be Profitable if It Wanted To
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

TravelGeek
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby TravelGeek » Fri May 12, 2017 11:53 am

stoptothink wrote:+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.


Different geographies and climates? Different electricity rates? Different heating systems? Different home sizes?

We used to live in the Bay Area and our monthly electricity bill was in the same range as yours. We had gas heating, so in the winter the gas bill would go up a bit (you ultimately need to look at the total energy cost). We didn't have A/C because there were only few days each year when it was really hot, and that didn't justify the cost of buying an operating an A/C system. We just opened the window when it cooled down in the evening and ran a ceiling fan. We also worked in offices, so no one was at home during the day consuming energy. I did the math and it made no economic sense to get solar panels.

Now we live in a location with four seasons. Hot in the summer, at times very cold in the winter. Lots of sunny days. We now have solar panels. Without them our energy bills (heat pump, secondary electric) would be a lot higher. I also work from home now and thus consume somewhat more electricity during the day that previously was paid for by my employer.

killjoy2012
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby killjoy2012 » Fri May 12, 2017 12:03 pm

Leif wrote:
That includes R&D, design, and engineering expenses, as well as massive amounts of capital expenditures to build product tooling and manufacturing infrastructure.

So GM & Ford don't spend any money on R&D, design, or engineering? :confused
The only reason Tesla gets away with their financial operating model is the Musk sleight of hand & fanboyism.

It's not hard to have 22% profit margin when you only sell $100k+ luxury vehicles. Let's see what happens to that # when the model 3 starts getting mass produced, if that ever happens.

stoptothink
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby stoptothink » Fri May 12, 2017 12:06 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
stoptothink wrote:+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.


Different geographies and climates? Different electricity rates? Different heating systems? Different home sizes?

We used to live in the Bay Area and our monthly electricity bill was in the same range as yours. We had gas heating, so in the winter the gas bill would go up a bit (you ultimately need to look at the total energy cost). We didn't have A/C because there were only few days each year when it was really hot, and that didn't justify the cost of buying an operating an A/C system. We just opened the window when it cooled down in the evening and ran a ceiling fan. We also worked in offices, so no one was at home during the day consuming energy. I did the math and it made no economic sense to get solar panels.

Now we live in a location with four seasons. Hot in the summer, at times very cold in the winter. Lots of sunny days. We now have solar panels. Without them our energy bills (heat pump, secondary electric) would be a lot higher. I also work from home now and thus consume somewhat more electricity during the day that previously was paid for by my employer.


Definitely aware of variances, that was sort of tongue-in-cheek. That being said, it is amusing to see the headlines about how these are cheaper than expected (which is all I knew about the panels before opening this thread); the ROI simply doesn't work, for almost anybody.

Valuethinker
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 12, 2017 12:12 pm

stoptothink wrote:
surfstar wrote:Our electric bill is so low, our payoff would be about... never.
And I like the thought of saving energy and money and generating your own electricity, and all that. But alas, ROI dominates.


+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.


The retail price of electricity on the US mainland can range from c. 8 c/ kwhr to 30 c/ kwhr (peak rates in some places in California; New England/ NY in some locations). Hawaii I believe it can be 50 c.

In addition, Air Source Heat Pumps are common in parts of the USA-- heating and cooling demand satisfied by electricity. Granted, those are largely in the South, which is where electricity rates tend to be lowest (except for Pacific NW).

So one needs to know:

- where the consumer is located
- what their kwhr consumption is (not just their current monthly bills because they are not comparable between locations)
- whether they use electricity only for appliances, light, AC or whether they also use it for heating (Heat Pump normally, electric bar is fairly rare)

There's lots of reasons to think US natural gas prices will stay low for an extended period. Fewer reasons to think that of electricity- -the phase out of nuclear and fossil fueled stations from the 1960s and 70s, plus a grid installed in the 70s, means that there will be big replacement costs which will be passed onto consumers either directly or indirectly.

Valuethinker
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 12, 2017 12:19 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:
Leif wrote:
That includes R&D, design, and engineering expenses, as well as massive amounts of capital expenditures to build product tooling and manufacturing infrastructure.

So GM & Ford don't spend any money on R&D, design, or engineering? :confused
The only reason Tesla gets away with their financial operating model is the Musk sleight of hand & fanboyism.

It's not hard to have 22% profit margin when you only sell $100k+ luxury vehicles. Let's see what happens to that # when the model 3 starts getting mass produced, if that ever happens.


Be warned, you could make the same critique of Amazon. An EV is radically simpler, mechanically, than an ICE car. That means that Tesla may be able to avoid a large chunk of costs that an ICE engine automaker incurs. Tesla is probably best compared to say, Cadillac within GM, or BMW or Mercedes or Jaguar Land Rover (Tata). Or rather, it is headed that way.

Tesla is in a growth phase, and you wouldn't expect it to have positive Free Cash Flow (CFO - Cash Flow for Investments).

I have not analyzed Tesla's numbers in detail-- the stock valuation is too frightening. But I think the main issue is that volume car production, even at the luxury end, is not easy nor highly lucrative. I think BMW makes the highest margins (EBIT) at around 12%.

All cars have a brand, what Tesla is about is brand. "Fanboyism" for Tesla is not worse than it is for Porsche or any other strong brand of car. If such a thing did not exist, we'd all drive $15-25k Toyotas. They tried that under socialism (with markedly inferior cars like the Trabant) and it didn't work out-- humans compete in the domain of status goods, it is hard wired into our genes (it appears), and cars are a status good. On such is founded consumer product marketing as a discipline.

I am (as you are) sceptical that they will be able to handle the transition to volume car production without hiccoughs or even disaster. In that sense, they remind me of a lot of tech companies in their growth phase.

But what Musk has done is quite incredible, and I have been a doubter all the way. And yet, the cars generate enthusiasm, and they sell.

stoptothink
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby stoptothink » Fri May 12, 2017 12:22 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
surfstar wrote:Our electric bill is so low, our payoff would be about... never.
And I like the thought of saving energy and money and generating your own electricity, and all that. But alas, ROI dominates.


+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.


The retail price of electricity on the US mainland can range from c. 8 c/ kwhr to 30 c/ kwhr (peak rates in some places in California; New England/ NY in some locations). Hawaii I believe it can be 50 c.

In addition, Air Source Heat Pumps are common in parts of the USA-- heating and cooling demand satisfied by electricity. Granted, those are largely in the South, which is where electricity rates tend to be lowest (except for Pacific NW).

So one needs to know:

- where the consumer is located
- what their kwhr consumption is (not just their current monthly bills because they are not comparable between locations)
- whether they use electricity only for appliances, light, AC or whether they also use it for heating (Heat Pump normally, electric bar is fairly rare)

There's lots of reasons to think US natural gas prices will stay low for an extended period. Fewer reasons to think that of electricity- -the phase out of nuclear and fossil fueled stations from the 1960s and 70s, plus a grid installed in the 70s, means that there will be big replacement costs which will be passed onto consumers either directly or indirectly.


I understand all of these factors and they explain why solar panels are a viable option for many; what it doesn't explain is how these solar shingles would be a viable option for almost anybody.

Valuethinker
Posts: 31421
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Valuethinker » Fri May 12, 2017 12:32 pm

stoptothink wrote:I understand all of these factors and they explain why solar panels are a viable option for many; what it doesn't explain is how these solar shingles would be a viable option for almost anybody.


Ahhh... apologies. Mentally I slipped up, and assumed you were equating the 2.

We are on a page re solar roof tiles.

They would only work where aesthetics were a significant consideration:

- areas with strong visual or historic preservation requirements

- architect-designed buildings where aesthetic appearance was important to the client (overlaps with above)

Mudpuppy
Posts: 4904
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Location: Sunny California

Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri May 12, 2017 1:26 pm

stoptothink wrote:
surfstar wrote:Our electric bill is so low, our payoff would be about... never.
And I like the thought of saving energy and money and generating your own electricity, and all that. But alas, ROI dominates.


+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.

People live in different climates. Different climates will come with different heating and cooling costs. Costs to cool a house in the summer in the central valley of California, where it is routinely over 100F in the summer, will be vastly higher than costs to cool a house on the central-coast of California, where temperatures rarely get over 80F for beach-front properties. Meanwhile, the costs to cool in the Mohave Desert will be higher than the costs to cool in the central valley of California.

And that's just climate variance within a 300 mile stretch of California. Just think of how much it varies all over the country and all over the world.

Edit: And we would have loved to have had a $70 electric bill in the summer when I was going to grad school at UC Davis. Even with the AC set to 82F and turning off the AC in favor of window fans whenever the Delta Breeze kicked up, we were looking at $200+ bills every summer month for a 4 bedroom townhouse. Sure, each roommate's share was reasonable, but it was still very expensive for very little cooling.

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Leif
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Leif » Fri May 12, 2017 3:26 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:So GM & Ford don't spend any money on R&D, design, or engineering? :confused

Killjoy,

Of course they do. But not in the same ratio to the revenue as Tesla. I've not heard Ford or GM is building a Gigafactory, which when complete will be the largest building in the world.

killjoy2012 wrote:The only reason Tesla gets away with their financial operating model is the Musk sleight of hand & fanboyism.

I'm not so sure. After all, hard nose analyst look at the numbers all day long. Of course, like Amazon, they are expecting great things long term.

killjoy2012 wrote:It's not hard to have 22% profit margin when you only sell $100k+ luxury vehicles. Let's see what happens to that # when the model 3 starts getting mass produced, if that ever happens.

I don't know if it is easy or hard, but having $70k+ luxury vehicles I'm sure helps their margin. I'm also sure that when the Model 3 comes out their margin will drop. Notice how all the other manufacturers are jumping to produce EVs. Most are promising something around 2020.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

stoptothink
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby stoptothink » Fri May 12, 2017 3:56 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
stoptothink wrote:
surfstar wrote:Our electric bill is so low, our payoff would be about... never.
And I like the thought of saving energy and money and generating your own electricity, and all that. But alas, ROI dominates.


+1. Ours ranges from $15 to a high of ~$70/month in the summer. Don't know what others are doing to use so much more electricity (thermostat set really low in the summer, all day?), but from my perspective, it sure does seem like these are decades away from making financial sense for almost anybody.

People live in different climates. Different climates will come with different heating and cooling costs. Costs to cool a house in the summer in the central valley of California, where it is routinely over 100F in the summer, will be vastly higher than costs to cool a house on the central-coast of California, where temperatures rarely get over 80F for beach-front properties. Meanwhile, the costs to cool in the Mohave Desert will be higher than the costs to cool in the central valley of California.

And that's just climate variance within a 300 mile stretch of California. Just think of how much it varies all over the country and all over the world.

Edit: And we would have loved to have had a $70 electric bill in the summer when I was going to grad school at UC Davis. Even with the AC set to 82F and turning off the AC in favor of window fans whenever the Delta Breeze kicked up, we were looking at $200+ bills every summer month for a 4 bedroom townhouse. Sure, each roommate's share was reasonable, but it was still very expensive for very little cooling.


It was kind of tongue-in-cheek. I've spent most of my life in the hottest areas of the country (Inland Empire of California, Houston, and Arizona), I understand the variances. I am just blown away at the headlines I read this week suggesting that these shingles were cheaper than expected and a viable option for many people. Solar panels, yes, but the ROI on these shingles simply doesn't work.

randomguy
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby randomguy » Fri May 12, 2017 4:58 pm

tech_arch wrote:I saw that Tesla released pricing of their solar roofs today. Even though we're in the middle of getting a traditional PV system installed, I decided to see what their cost estimate would be for my house. I was not impressed.

Traditional system: 9kW, $21,500 before 30% federal tax credit. My estimated break-even time is ~9.5 years, saving about $1600/year on electricity. Over 25 years, that amounts to $40k (not including output degradation).

Tesla estimate: 40% covering our roof, $98,200 before federal tax credit of $21,100 (no Powerwall.) They estimate $17,100 earned over 30 years plus you get a new roof. Excluding the rest of the roof, that's about $70k for their solar tiles.

So essentially I invest $70k to earn $17k over 30 years? I can do better with a savings account paying 1%.

Am I missing something? Maybe our electricity rates just make it infeasible. Has anybody else priced out their homes?


Add in a new 20k roof (we are talking tesla owners not people who buy the cheapest possible roof.) and the numbers are pretty much even. Now if you don't need, being forced to buy one definitely reduces the value.

The real question is are you better off buying a solar system today or will you do better by waiting 5 years. Solar prices haven't stabilized yet. You might end up with a better return by waiting. Or of course the subsidies could be cut (either at the federal or state level) and you lose by waiting.

Big Dog
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby Big Dog » Fri May 12, 2017 6:09 pm

Add in a new 20k roof (we are talking tesla owners not people who buy the cheapest possible roof.)


Our basic asphalt shingle roof is $15k to replace. (Just obtained an etiolate due to several leaks the roofer can't stop/plug.) Live in SoCal, and just ran the numbers on the Tesla website, and they were intriguing:

20% coverage; gas heat and hot water, so electric probably averages $75/mo.

$35k cost of roof
8k for 1 power wall
$43k total cost

(Supposedly, $7300 saved over the next 30 years, but offset by the 2-Model 3's I have on order.)

vs. $15k for ashpalt shingles.....of course, the housing tract does not warrant such a fancy roof, and unless electricity rates skyrocket, I'm doubtful that the new owner would be so inclined.

TareNeko
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby TareNeko » Fri May 12, 2017 7:16 pm

How big is your roof? Just wondering how much it would cost to replace your roof with the simple Tesla roof (no solar). At $11/sq-ft, their pricing is pretty good.

I live in PNW, and have natural gas for heating. So my electricity usage is pretty low and our rates are low (c11/kwh) and we don't get that much sun :) But the Tesla roof looks so good, and it is claimed to be so durable, I'm just wondering if it is worth getting it without solar.

Big Dog wrote:
Add in a new 20k roof (we are talking tesla owners not people who buy the cheapest possible roof.)


Our basic asphalt shingle roof is $15k to replace. (Just obtained an etiolate due to several leaks the roofer can't stop/plug.) Live in SoCal, and just ran the numbers on the Tesla website, and they were intriguing:

20% coverage; gas heat and hot water, so electric probably averages $75/mo.

$35k cost of roof
8k for 1 power wall
$43k total cost

(Supposedly, $7300 saved over the next 30 years, but offset by the 2-Model 3's I have on order.)

vs. $15k for ashpalt shingles.....of course, the housing tract does not warrant such a fancy roof, and unless electricity rates skyrocket, I'm doubtful that the new owner would be so inclined.

tech_arch
Posts: 140
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby tech_arch » Fri May 12, 2017 7:33 pm

randomguy wrote:
tech_arch wrote:I saw that Tesla released pricing of their solar roofs today. Even though we're in the middle of getting a traditional PV system installed, I decided to see what their cost estimate would be for my house. I was not impressed.

Traditional system: 9kW, $21,500 before 30% federal tax credit. My estimated break-even time is ~9.5 years, saving about $1600/year on electricity. Over 25 years, that amounts to $40k (not including output degradation).

Tesla estimate: 40% covering our roof, $98,200 before federal tax credit of $21,100 (no Powerwall.) They estimate $17,100 earned over 30 years plus you get a new roof. Excluding the rest of the roof, that's about $70k for their solar tiles.

So essentially I invest $70k to earn $17k over 30 years? I can do better with a savings account paying 1%.

Am I missing something? Maybe our electricity rates just make it infeasible. Has anybody else priced out their homes?


Add in a new 20k roof (we are talking tesla owners not people who buy the cheapest possible roof.) and the numbers are pretty much even. Now if you don't need, being forced to buy one definitely reduces the value.

The real question is are you better off buying a solar system today or will you do better by waiting 5 years. Solar prices haven't stabilized yet. You might end up with a better return by waiting. Or of course the subsidies could be cut (either at the federal or state level) and you lose by waiting.


I was trying to separate the solar portion from the regular portion of the roof. A 30% tax credit yielding $21,100 equates to a system cost of ~$70,000, leaving $28,000 for the rest of the regular roof. They estimate my roof at ~4200sq ft, so 60% of that is 2,520 sq st. I currently have asphalt shingles (as does my entire neighborhood) so I'm not their ideal demographic to begin with. Maybe when I need to replace the roof in about 10 years the technology will have matured and dropped in price.

tagius
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Re: Tesla Solar Roof

Postby tagius » Fri May 12, 2017 11:00 pm

Most of you are not comaparing apples to apples in this discussion. You are looking at the cost of a Tesla Roof compared to a simple Asphalt roof.

The cost of a Tesla Roof is equal to the cost of a asphalt roof + Solar Panels. I have run the numbers on my house in SoCal and they are almost equal, so all this talk of the Tesla Roof being 10X and 20X the cost of ashphalt shingles is just not correct. Also note that it only works after you figure in the 30% fedral tax credit. You cannot deduct the fedral tax credit from ashphatl shingles, only the solar panels in a conventional set up. With Tesla you can deduct 30% from almost the whole bill. This is where the price really comes down and meets with the conventional set up for solar.

Numbers...Tesla is actually Cheaper
Conventional set up; Shingles 15,000 + Solar Panels 48,000 (18kWh system)= 63,000 less Fed Credit (30% of 48,000...14,400) = 48,600 Total
Tesla roof; 66,300 less Fed Credit (30% of almost entire system...17,900) = 48,400 WINNER

It is surprising to me that they have no data on the website as to how many kWh the system produces or how it is constructed. I just paid the deposit online so lets see what happens. Its fully refundable. I wont actually purchase it unless they can prove it will generate the amount of kWh I need.

2,500 sf roof with no power walls.
Net erned over 30 years; 57,400
Average current electric bill; 220 per month


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