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Tesla Solar Roof: All you need to know

Tesla, the electric car company, has begun selling pre-orders for its latest Solar Roof technology. As the company moves to make all things electric, not just its cars, the Solar Roof will work with its home battery system, Powerwall 2.

What does all this mean? Essentially it’s a way to turn your roof into a power source with your own battery at home. So you will have power constantly, even when the grid fails you. 

Solar panels do already exist, there are even some at-home battery storage options too – but nothing that looks this good or is as simple to get up and to run.

So if you are considering a roof upgrade, want to save money on your bills or want to get off the grid to escape The Man, this could be your chance. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the Tesla Solar Roof?

At its most basic the Tesla Solar Roof is a combination of solar panel tiles that work with the Tesla Powerwall 2. The key here is that you simply pay for the number of tiles you need and the rest, like installation and Powerwall addition to your home, is all taken care of for you.

The Tesla Solar Roof looks better than the current solar panels that are bolted on top of roofs. This is because they are designed like actual tiles, in fact, it’s hard to tell them apart. 

How does the Tesla Solar Roof work?

To get involved you can simply use the Tesla Solar Roof calculator to find out what you need. Then you choose from the tile types.

Tesla Solar Roof tile options

Tiles break down into two top-level types: solar and non-solar. The idea is you can have enough solar panels for your needs and then have cheaper normal tiles, that look identical, to fill up the rest of your roof area. A clever way to avoid higher costs of insisting the entire roof is all solar panel filled.

These tiles, solar or non-solar, will come in four styles: Tuscan, slate, textured and smooth. The smooth and textured tiles will be the first to go into production this summer with more to follow.

How do you install the Tesla Solar Roof?

Thankfully you won’t have to worry about installing the Solar Roof yourself. In typical Tesla style, everything is done for you to make the early adopter process an easy and rewarding one. 

The cost includes removal of your current roof, then the design, permits, installation, operations and even maintenance of your new solar roof. That includes the installation of the 14kWh Powerwall in your home so you can store that solar energy to use, even at night. This whole process should take about a week to get you up and running.

How much does the Tesla Solar Roof cost?

The cost of the Tesla Solar Roof varies depending on how many tiles you need for your size of roof. It also varies depending on how many solar and non-solar tiles you need. But for the solar tiles, Tesla says you can expect to pay $21.85 (£16.88) per square foot. The company suggests most people will only need about 40 per cent solar tile coverage on their roofs. And let’s assume a little more for those in the UK because of the great British weather and all that.

Tesla Solar Roof in situe

So for a two-storey home with a 2,000 square foot area, which is very big, you can expect to pay about $50,000. Tesla says you’ll generate $64,000 of savings in energy costs over the next 30 years so it will more than pay itself off. Why does Tesla use 30 years? That’s how long the power side of things is covered for.

Tesla says the tiles are far tougher than traditional tiles. In fact, the Solar Roof tiles have the highest possible ratings for wind, hail, fire and glass coating. You get an infinite warranty for the tiles and that 30-year warranty for the power side of things.

What is the Tesla Solar Roof release date?

Tesla has begun taking pre-orders for the Solar Roof in the US for a $1,000 deposit. Installations are expected to begin in June, beginning with California (where else?). This includes offers of financing from late 2017 for those wishing to spread that initial upfront cost.

For those outside of the US, pre-orders are also being taken but installation times aren’t expected until 2018. Expect to hear more on those timings as well as UK-specific pricing soon.

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