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SunPower PV System vs. Tesla Solar Roof

We have received a lot of inquiries about solar shingles since Tesla unveiled their solar roof concept last week. While this technology is certainly appealing and innovative, customers should understand the appropriate use-cases and associated costs.

The new solar roof from Tesla is a roof replacement for your home. The installation requires a customer to replace their existing roof with both non-solar glass tiles and solar-enabled ones. The product is sleek and elegant, but a savvy consumer should consider if the solar roof makes financial sense for their situation.Let’s consider Scenario 1 in which a Texas homeowner wants to reduce their energy consumption but does not need a new roof. Based on a 3,000-sq. ft. house, a solar roof utilizing 40% of available space will generate $29,200 in energy savings over 30 years using Tesla’s own calculations. The cost of the solar roof is $84,200. In comparison, a SunPower system with half the footprint will generate ~$65,000 in lifetime energy savings. The total cost of the fully-installed SunPower system is $50,000. Tesla’s solar roof is ~70% more expensive and produces half as much electricity as a SunPower system. In this scenario, the SunPower system is more productive, cost-effective, and doesn’t require a roof-replacement.

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If a homeowner needs to replace their roof the Tesla solution may seem appealing, however a closer analysis of the numbers in Scenario 2 suggests that may not be the case. Consumer Reports estimate that for our example 3,000-sq. ft. home an asphalt roof replacement costs $20,000 – bringing the cost of a SunPower system and roof replacement to $70,000. While the costs for the Tesla solar roof are only 20% than SunPower + roof replacement, the production difference in the long term will hurt consumers’ ability to recoup their investment. In Scenario 2 the SunPower system with roof replacement proves to be more cost-effective as it will provide double the lifetime energy savings in comparison with Tesla.

Early-adopters may want a Tesla solar roof no matter the price. However, these consumers should keep in mind that Tesla will install solar roofs exclusively in California starting in June and we have no indication as to when installations will take place in the rest of the country. If the Tesla solar roofs are anything like the Tesla Roadster, customers should prepare for initial hiccups. SunPower by Freedom Solar has a proven track record of excellence and all our installations come with a comprehensive lifetime warranty on parts, labor, and performance – providing you peace of mind on your investment.

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Let the experienced Energy Consultants at SunPower by Freedom Solar help you determine the best course of action to meet your energy needs whether you need a need a new roof or not. Please feel free to reach out to us – we look forward to hearing from you!