Coming Soon to a Home Near You: Solar Roof Tiles by Tesla
Solar technology has been around for a long time now, and as devices become more compact, it’s opened up a world of possibilities. From backpacks with built-in solar phone chargers to small portable RV solar panels, this is one form of clean energy that’s definitely here to stay.
With this in mind, Tesla has been quietly working on new roofing tiles capable of powering an entire house. Equipped with tempered glass profiles, these tiles are both durable and efficient. The company is so confident in their design that the glass on them comes with a lifetime warranty. That seems pretty solid, but it’s also important to note that their weatherization and power production aspects are only guaranteed for 30 years.
Understanding that rooftops take wear and tear during spells of bad weather, Tesla has also worked hard to earn their tiles a class 4 ANSI FM 4473 hail rating. If you don’t spend your afternoons studying this kind of thing, that’s the best hail rating available. Not to be outdone, they also boast the highest wind (Class F ASTM D3161) and fire (Class A UL 790) ratings around.
The solar roofing tiles provide an opportunity for suburban homeowners to power their own homes and perhaps even create excess power to sell back to the grid. Even more exciting, they offer a complete solution for off-grid living without any complex feeding of power lines to remote areas. Even in an urban environment, the energy generated by the tiles can provide uninterrupted power in the case of an outage. This is an especially exciting backup option for hospitals and senior care facilities, as well as in emergency response vehicles. To store all that energy, the system uses Tesla’s own Powerwall battery — several of which can be installed in a single home for even greater storage capacity.
Unfortunately, getting Tesla roofing tiles for your home will require some planning and consultation with installation professionals. Due to regulations, residential homes are not allowed to cover the entirety of their roofs with solar panels, which is the why company goes about creating a customized blueprint based on your location and energy usage needs. Once the number of required tiles has been calculated, the rest of your roof is covered in nearly-identical non-solar tiles to give your home a uniform look from street level.
The process begins with a $1000 deposit from the homeowner, which itself is later applied to the total cost of the roof. A consultant will then come to the house, lay out a design, and present a proposal. Then an agreement is sent and signed. Once work begins, it takes around two weeks for installation to be completed. After that, you’ll receive access to a downloadable app that allows you to monitor the tiles’ solar production and energy consumption in real time.
Because the government now recognizes the value of solar power, there are federal tax credits available to help offset the initial investment of installing a solar roof and Powerwall batteries. If the homeowner can finance the roof through their mortgage lender, they will receive an additional tax deduction on the mortgage interest they pay.
Thus far, only test markets have been given the roof tiles, but Tesla expects to expand availability in 2019. All installation is secured through SolarCity Corporation, a subsidiary of Tesla responsible for locating, training, and monitoring solar roofing contractors. SolarCity currently holds contractor licenses in 25 states and Washington D.C.