How much does a Tesla Solar Roof cost?
They’re worth it for some people — are you one of them?
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Let’s get right to it — putting a Tesla Solar Roof on your home will likely cost anywhere from $60,000 to $120,000, depending on where you are, the size of your home and your system’s specifications. That includes materials, labor, permitting and other installation expenses.
A price range that wide makes it difficult to predict how much a Tesla Solar Roof will cost for your property and, as a result, whether the investment is worth it overall. Keep reading to see our breakdown of the cost and value of a Tesla Solar Roof and our analysis of how the product compares with other solar energy and roofing options on the market today.
- Most of the Tesla Solar Roof systems we’ve seen cost between $60,000 and $120,000, but the overall price range seems to be a bit wider, with reported costs ranging from $50,000 to $160,000.
- On the upside, a Solar Roof can reduce your utility bills to practically nothing, and there are incentives and financing options available to lower your upfront costs.
- A Tesla Solar Roof is a better value if you’re building a new home or you’re already planning a roof replacement on your current home.
- However, conventional solar panels are still the more cost-effective option in most cases.
What is the Tesla Solar Roof?
The Tesla Solar Roof is a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system that functions as both a roofing material and a solar power generator.
Tesla’s system is one of several “solar shingles” on the market today. These products are solar panel alternatives designed to resemble traditional roofing materials but still generate clean energy. (It’s important to note that the Tesla Solar Roof is different from Tesla solar panels, which have a more conventional design.)
» LEARN: How do solar panels work?
Notably, the Tesla Solar Roof has gained a large amount of media attention and consumer demand ever since it was first introduced by the Texas-based automotive and clean energy giant in the late 2010s. Still, in March 2023, a study estimated there were only 3,000 Tesla Solar Roof systems installed nationwide. (Tesla Energy responded to a report about the study, calling it “incorrect by a large margin.”)
To learn about the Tesla Solar Roof, we talked to Casey Swyers, a solar energy contractor and electrician in Takoma Park, Maryland. “People like the Solar Roof because it looks just like a regular roof but also generates electricity,” he explained. “You can tell it’s different up close, but with an untrained eye, you may not notice it at first.”
Robin, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New Jersey, concurred: “I finally went with the Tesla Solar Roof (tiles not panels) and I couldn't be happier. … The product looks amazing and IMO is the best looking solar product on the market right now. You cannot tell you have solar tiles at all. From a distance it looks like slate.” If you want to see what a solar roof looks like outside of Tesla’s marketing materials, check out this review from Ken, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer in New York.
Physically, the Tesla Solar Roof consists of both glass solar tiles that produce energy and architectural-grade steel roofing tiles engineered for all-weather protection. Once installed, both the roofing and energy production materials of a Tesla Solar Roof are guaranteed for 25 years of performance.
Most new solar panels should produce energy efficiently for 25 to 30 years.
Tesla Solar Roof buyers are also required to install at least one Powerwall battery with their Solar Roof. Although energy storage is not always necessary with other solar panel brands and solar shingle products, a mandatory Powerwall does let the Solar Roof function when off-grid in case of an electrical outage.
» LEARN: What is an off-grid solar system?
Tesla Solar Roof costs
Because every project is different, the price of your Tesla Solar Roof will depend on:
- The size and characteristics of your home
- The number of Powerwall batteries you need
- The availability and pricing of installation services in your area
If you want the most accurate estimate of what a Solar Roof might cost you, go straight to the source and visit Tesla’s website to schedule a virtual consultation with a consultant. During this meeting, the consultant can provide a precise cost estimate for your unique project or point you in the direction of a local specialist.
Tesla used to offer price estimates directly on its website, but that feature was removed, leaving consumers to cobble together pricing information on their own if they’re not ready to schedule a consultation yet. That’s why we assembled some reports from Tesla customers and other reputable sources to help you understand how much a Solar Roof might cost below.
When we asked Swyers, the solar energy contractor, how much Tesla Solar Roofs cost, he said it was “tough to say because everyone is so different. I'd say you can expect to pay between 50 and 80k for a Solar Roof after the tax credit.” He added: “I've seen quotes well over 100k, though.”
Swyers’ numbers check out when compared to different reports online. Rebecca, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New York, reported that her Solar Roof cost five times what she would have spent on a normal roof, resulting in a $600 monthly payment. A conventional roof replacement typically costs around $10,000, so a Solar Roof costing five times as much would seem to validate Swyers’ price range.
Both Bob Villa and Home Guide also estimate that Tesla Solar Roofs cost between $60,000 and $150,000 (with a $105,000 nationwide average) before applying for any tax credits. That last bit is important, though.
The federal solar tax credit can reduce your net Tesla Solar Roof costs by up to 30%. It does this by giving you an income tax credit based on the total value of your system’s green energy components. That lowers the $60,000 to $150,000 range reported by those sites down to between $42,000 and $105,000, with a $73,500 average.
Residential solar panel systems usually average $3 to $5 per watt.
These savings aren’t just theoretical, either. For example, we found a March 2023 post on Reddit showing a Solar Roof project proposal from a Tesla-certified installer near Seattle that closely matched the top of this price range. The system was estimated to cost around $156,000 with a tax credit near $47,000, for a total investment of $109,000 and a staggering $11.20 cost per watt.
As we were researching this article, tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee released a video where he reported spending around $93,000 for a large (approximately 29-kilowatt) Solar Roof system that included three Powerwall batteries. Brownlee’s gross costs were reportedly close to $121,000, but he received a smaller tax credit (only about $28,000, or about 23.5% of his total) because he ordered before the tax credit increased to its current amount. That put Brownlee’s final cost per watt at a much more reasonable $3.17.
Is the Tesla Solar Roof worth it?
So far, we’ve established that a Solar Roof is a significant expense, and we acknowledge that many people simply can't afford $60,000 to $120,000 for a solar energy system. Assuming you can foot the bill, is a Solar Roof worth the cost? It really depends on what you’re comparing it with.
|Alternative||Is a Solar Roof financially worth it?|
|Not going solar||Probably, but it depends on your electricity use|
|Conventional solar panels||Probably not, but it helps if you need a new roof|
|Other manufacturers’ solar shingles||Possibly, if you want battery storage and premium features|
Tesla Solar Roof vs. utility power
Using electricity directly from your Solar Roof or Powerwall instead of grid power can dramatically lower your monthly energy bills, especially in areas with peak-pricing hours based on energy demand. However, if you don't use that much electricity in the first place, the high cost of a Tesla Solar Roof may not be worth it for you.
Let’s say you and your partner already drive two Tesla electric vehicles. Because charging your EVs at home can add a lot of your home’s existing electricity use, powering your high-energy devices with your Solar Roof and Powerwall can help offset hundreds of dollars of utility spending every month.
It usually takes about 10 years for a residential solar energy system to have a positive return on investment.
Eventually, those savings add up, and if your lifetime savings total more than you spent on the system, your Solar Roof will have essentially paid for itself. For example, Brownlee, the YouTuber, reported a payoff period of 9.6 years based on his system’s performance over his first year of ownership.
On the other hand, if your electricity use is low, it may take much longer for your Solar Roof to be a net positive. Think of it this way — your Solar Roof has a production guarantee for 25 years, and if your total energy bills over the next 25 years are less than you’d spend on a Solar Roof, there’s practically no way it could save you money in that period of time.
In our conversation with Swyers, the DC-area solar contractor summed things up well by saying, “Because it's so expensive — the Solar Roof — you've kind of got to go all in. It works best for people with a lot of electricity usage and really high utility bills.”
» MORE: Are solar panels worth it?
Tesla Solar Roof vs. solar panels
When deciding between a Tesla Solar Roof and traditional solar panels, your decision may depend on the age of your home’s roof. For example, if you just sunk over $10,000 into a new roof in the last five years or so, it doesn’t really make sense to replace it with hundreds of new solar shingles when you could instead install solar panels (with the same energy generating capacity) for a lower price.
On the other hand, if you do need a new roof, the value of a Solar Roof increases dramatically. Robin, the reviewer from New Jersey we mentioned earlier, was in such a situation: “I needed a new roof anyway so decided to get [a Solar Roof] with 2 PowerWall backup batteries.”
Still, it’s worth doing the math and getting estimates to see if a new asphalt shingle roof and conventional solar panels end up being cheaper than a Solar Roof. As Swyers told us, “Things may change — who knows — but for the most part, regular solar panels will do the trick cheaper than the Solar Roof 9 out of 10 times.”
This was the case for Joseph, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New York, who stated, “I went solar primarily to get the tax credits but also as a power backup solution. SunPower panels were the best value in high-efficiency panels. The Tesla solar roof looked very nice but was expensive and didn't offer me much to expand later.”
Of course, if the difference in your total return on investment is marginal, most people would prefer the look of the Tesla Solar Roof over the aesthetics of rigid solar panels. Lenford, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from California, reported that “people come to look and ask about my new roof, always giving compliments” after having a Tesla Solar Roof installed.
» MORE: Solar shingles vs. solar panels
Tesla Solar Roof vs. solar shingles
Tesla’s Solar Roof is arguably the most famous solar shingle product on the market, but that doesn’t mean it’s your only option. Several other domestic and international manufacturers offer similar solar-powered roofing shingles, tiles and facades.
Tesla’s corner of the solar shingle market is more likely to appeal to people who want a premium product and are willing to pay for it. For example, a Powerwall can increase your total costs by around $10,000, so Solar Roofs are often more expensive upfront than alternatives that don't require battery storage. The Tesla app also makes it easy to monitor and control your roof and other Tesla products on your smartphone.
Like with most large purchases, it helps to read reviews and get estimates for different options so you can comparison-shop before you decide. Reviews on our site that mention the Solar Roof are mixed, with some users reporting good results and customer service and others mentioning significant periods where their Solar Roofs were unable to generate power.
Keith, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Utah, reported several installation issues with his Solar Roof: “I really wanted to like the system. I think it’s a great product. But the fact that their customer service is so terrible, unhelpful, and even rude, I cannot recommend using Tesla for home solar generation.”
» MORE: Are solar shingles worth it?
What is the Tesla Solar Roof installation process like?
Unlike traditional solar panels, which are installed on top of your roof, the Tesla Solar Roof actually replaces your home’s shingles or rooftop tiles. That’s why the Tesla Solar Roof installation process begins with stripping away your existing roof.
According to the company's support forum, a Tesla Solar Roof installation takes approximately five to seven business days to complete, but times may vary based on the complexity of the project. Once your system is installed and the project receives permission to operate (PTO) from both the local utility and building authority, you can officially begin to use your Solar Roof.
Depending on where you live, your Tesla Roof may not be installed by Tesla directly. Instead, it has a growing network of “Tesla-certified” companies and contractors that are capable of designing, installing and interconnecting Tesla Solar Roofs.
Does the Tesla Solar Roof qualify for the federal solar tax credit?
All of the photovoltaic and battery components of the Tesla Solar Roof can qualify for the federal solar tax credit. At the time of publishing, the federal solar tax credit works to reduce total investment costs of solar energy and battery systems by up to 30% through the year 2032.
How long does the Tesla Solar Roof last?
Although the product is too new to have any complete real-world case studies, the Tesla Solar Roof comes with a warranty that guarantees decent performance for 25 years. This is roughly on par with the expected performance period of traditional photovoltaic solar panels.
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
- CNBC, “Tesla has only installed 3,000 Solar Roof systems in the U.S., far below forecast, study finds.” Accessed Aug. 11, 2023.
- Bob Villa, “How Much Does a Tesla Solar Roof Cost?.” Accessed Aug. 11, 2023.
- Home Guide, “Tesla Solar Roof cost.” Accessed Aug.11, 2023.
- Tesla, “Solar Roof.” Accessed Aug. 21, 2023.
- Marques Brownlee, “Tesla Solar Roof Review: Was it Worth It?” Accessed Aug. 11, 2023.
- Tesla Energy, “This is incorrect by a large margin.” Accessed Aug. 21, 2023.
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