Solar Shingles : Should I buy the new Tesla Solar Roof Tiles?

Solar Shingles
Picture courtesy Tesla Solar

Solar Shingles are here ! The Tesla Solar Shingles were recently launched with great fanfare by the magician from Silicon Valley : Elon Musk. The new solar roof from Tesla comes with great promise and is being touted as the next revolution to hit the solar shores.

But wait, aren’t solar roof tiles already here? Yes Dow Chemical Company actually sold solar roof tiles until they cancelled the business line in July of 2016. Too little demand and too expensive.

So how much do Tesla Roof Tiles Cost?

Tesla Solar Roof Tiles - Elon Musk
Elon Musk

The initial numbers out for the Tesla Solar Roof Costs are not encouraging. Elon Musk is a genius with technology as well as the marketing of technology. There was enormous expectation for solar shingles to be cost competitive with regular shingles. That is not the case. They cost way way more than regular shingles. In face they cost way way more than regular shingles PLUS a regular solar system.

Should I buy the Tesla Solar Shingles?

The short answer is No. The cost of Tesla’s solar roof tiles is prohibitively high. A 3000 square foot roof with Solar Shingles will set you back by about $65,000, that is just MSRP, you will probably have taxes etc on top of that. Of course you get back 30% as a tax credit and your net out of pocket would be $45,500.

Lets compare that to a regular Asphalt shingle roof with a regular solar system. A 3000 square foot roof would cost around $9000. We could fit a 7KW solar system on the roof which costs about $ 21,000. Total Cost $ 30,000 vs $ 65,000. Even if you compare out of pocket costs, the out of pocket for the regular solar + roof is $23,700 vs $45,500 for the Tesla Roof Tiles.

How efficient are the Tesla Solar Shingles?

Solar Roof Tiles
Photo Courtesy Tesla Solar

The information available today indicates that the solar shingles are less efficient than regular panels. Also, not all the solar shingles that go up on your roof are solar shingles. For example a 3000 square foot roof might have only 70% of the solar roof tiles producing solar electricity. The rest are regular glass shingles. The power output from this solar tiled roof will be similar or less than the 7KW regular solar system we talked about in the earlier section.

So whats in the future for solar roof tiles?

Solar Shingles have a bright future. Like all new technology, we have to wait for competition to emerge and pricing to come down. Remember the days of wide screen TV’s costing north of of $5000. They are now available at $500 from dozens of manufacturers.

We can expect the same to happen form solar shingles. However, a big difference between consumer electronics and the solar industry is the time line. Electronics moves at lightning pace as compared to solar. We think it will be atleast five years or more before solar shingles become cost competitive. So hold on to your horses before investing big in solar shingles.

There is plenty more to see in the solar world especially solar motion toys. Check out these articles. Thank you for visiting

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Author: Michael Bennet

A Solar energy professional with ten years of marketing and installation experience. Avid and passionate about the adoption of solar and related technologies in all homes. Blogs about all things solar and sustainable at

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