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Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla Solar Roof

Smart homes are an increasing trend in real estate as homeowners prefer to use technology to monitor and communicate with their homes remotely. Thermostats, appliances, lighting and more can be controlled via mobile apps from any location.  Tesla Solar Roof is a fully integrated design that looks incredible from any angle.  Tesla provides an integrated ecosystem that allows you to monitor your solar production and customize your Powerwall battery system settings all from the Tesla app.

 

Solar Roof is building-integrated photovoltaics that are designed to function as solar panels while seamlessly integrating into the roof.  The photovoltaic effect is the basic principal process by which a PV cell converts sunlight into electricity. When light shines on a PV cell, it may be reflected, absorbed, or pass right through. The absorbed light generates electricity. The Solar Roof tiles are made of textured glass tiles that resemble the look of slate roofs. When a Solar Roof is installed, it replaces the existing roof with two types of tiles:  (i) active solar tiles, which contain solar cells to produce electricity for your home to use, and (ii) inactive tiles that act as regular shingles. 

The number of tiles containing photovoltaic cells in a Solar Roof can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the customer, up to the maximum capacity of the roof based on its size, shape, pitch, etc.  The inactive tiles look exactly the same as the active solar tiles, to maintain a uniform aesthetic.  Tesla provides a 30-year warranty for power and weatherization and a lifetime tile warranty which covers physical damage to the glass in the tiles.  Solar Roof tiles received the highest possible hail, wind and fire resistance ratings.  They also keep your home cool and comfortable by allowing hot air to vent with high-quality underlayment and integrated air gaps.

 

Tesla also offers Powerwall, a rechargeable home battery system designed to maximize your home's energy independence.  Powerwall is an intelligent system that can be customized to your energy needs, with the ability to charge from solar or from the grid so energy is always available on demand.  Powerwall has a built-in inverter and a fairly standard power output, so it can power things such as lights, electrical outlets, and small 120-volt appliances. Anything larger will require additional Powerwalls to run. 

What really makes Powerwall stand out is its three operating modes:  self-powered home; time-based control; and seamless backup.  These modes allow you to choose how and when you release and store energy in your battery. In self-powered home mode, at night you can power your home with renewable energy stored during the day for use later, or Powerwall can serve as an emergency battery backup when the grid goes down.  Each Powerwall installation includes a complete energy monitoring solution for your home. You can see how a home both produces and uses energy at any given time.

 

Now for the Pros and Cons.  First and foremost, the Solar Roof looks stunning.  It’s designed to be indistinguishable from a roof built out of traditional materials.  Tesla’s claim that Solar Roof tiles are three times stronger than traditional roof tiles is backed by tests by ANSI, ASTM and UL, which conduct standards tests for hail, wind and fire resistance (respectively). Tesla’s tiles received the highest possible marks in all three categories.  Early Adopter status, as people are naturally drawn to innovation.  Early adopters get a rush from being first to adopt a new technology. 

Now for the Cons, for Solar Roof to be financially viable, it needs to replace your existing roof.  Even then, building a traditional roof with discrete solar modules may be a more efficient investment.  The premium you pay for Tesla-branded materials can eat into the money you save from reduced energy bills.  The existing backlog of people already on the waitlist for Solar Roof creates availability uncertainty.  New technology always comes with unanticipated problems and surprises. Even if the Solar Roof is available in your region, there’s still the additional hurdle of securing a qualified installer.

 

Other considerations include available tax credits and whether your state has net metering which means that your utility company pays you full retail price for the power you put back on the grid during the times your solar produces more than you need.  Also consider how long you plan to stay in your home as some buyers and home appraisers value solar at less than its worth.

Tesla’s Solar Roof efforts have gradually ramped up since the spring 2018 rollout. In October 2019, Tesla unveiled a third-generation tile. The new tile is bigger, redesigned on the inside, likely to hide the solar cells better, and is designed for speedy installation.  Solar Roof is only available in some zip codes of 16 US states today, but next year will likely be exciting for the flagship solar product.  Elon Musk noted that the potential of the Solar Roof will be evident in 2021. Here’s to a brighter future.


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