Solar panels vs. Tesla solar roof: The biggest differences broken-down


Sarah Tew

Whenever you consider solar power systems, you most likely think about the basic solar array: some black panels that time towards the sky and take in the power of the solar’s mild and convert it into usable electrical energy. However for those who look carefully on the roofs of some homes, you would possibly simply discover a shock.

In 2016, Tesla — sure, that Tesla — introduced something novel. As an alternative of photo voltaic panels that sit in your entrance yard or stand out on the roof, Tesla determined to show each shingle right into a photo voltaic panel. The Tesla photo voltaic roof replaces an present roof and captures daylight to assist energy your private home in a clear and streamlined method.

The Tesla photo voltaic roof system has not had the smoothest of rollouts, however the firm not too long ago introduced plans to double down on the idea and attempt to flip what’s at the moment a dear challenge right into a actuality for shoppers. (Tesla doesn’t function a public relations division to area requests for remark.)

For owners considering photo voltaic power, that creates the last word query: Must you go together with the usual photo voltaic panel system or attempt the much less intrusive — however nonetheless unproven— Tesla photo voltaic roof? That will help you together with your shopping for questions, I’ve compiled all the largest variations between the 2 photo voltaic choices under.

Photo voltaic panels


Johner Pictures/Getty Pictures

Solar panels ought to be comparatively acquainted by now, as they’ve been gaining reputation and have develop into extra inexpensive in recent times. An array may be positioned in your roof or set to face in your yard, relying on what works greatest for you. Whereas there are a selection of various manufacturers and kinds of panels, all of them supply a clear power different to fossil gas sources like coal or pure gasoline. These panels may be expensive, and a few are tougher to put in than others. However for essentially the most half, you may anticipate cheaper power payments, a smaller carbon footprint and elevated property worth.

Learn extra: 5 thing to consider before you buy solar panels

Tesla photo voltaic roof


The Tesla photo voltaic roof has all the nice promise that you’d anticipate from the revolutionary firm based by Elon Musk. As an alternative of utilizing panels, the idea turns your complete roof into your photo voltaic array. The Tesla photo voltaic roof makes use of tempered glass panels that change your normal shingles, offering the identical safety you’d anticipate from a standard roof whereas additionally capturing photo voltaic power. The Tesla photo voltaic roof is novel, however much less confirmed and more durable to switch to a different dwelling for those who transfer as a result of they’re {custom} made for every roof.

Photo voltaic panels or a Tesla photo voltaic roof?


Worth is a tough factor on the subject of photo voltaic programs, as a variety of it’s going to be depending on what your own home and property is able to supporting. There may be the price of photo voltaic panels, the infrastructure wanted to help them, the set up prices — and it’s a must to account for the precise capability of the system. In each instances, you may get tax credits and different incentives for putting in these programs, so that can assist to ease the value considerably. Research suggests photo voltaic panels value between $15,000 to $25,000 to buy and set up.

For the sake of simplicity: standard photo voltaic panels are cheaper than the Tesla photo voltaic roof when it comes to the general value. Tesla has additionally had some challenges preserving the value down for its photo voltaic roof system, which has been a degree of difficulty for some shoppers. Numerous media studies have urged that costs can scale from $30,000 to $75,000, with some shoppers reporting set up costs as high as $100,000. The worth has additionally shifted dramatically with out warning, which has led to some feeling caught off guard by the price.

Nevertheless, when it comes to the per watt worth, the photo voltaic roof will produce a greater worth. It would nonetheless not be sufficient to justify the considerably steeper up entrance value, which may practically double the value of standard photo voltaic panels in some instances — plus, you may must get the Tesla Powerwall battery for power storage, which will increase the price much more.

Set up

The set up course of for photo voltaic power programs may be sophisticated. Typically, traditional solar panels are simpler as a result of they are often put in elsewhere relying on the format of your property — both in your roof or on the bottom. The Tesla photo voltaic roof can solely be put in in your roof, clearly, and is a little more of a to-do because it requires changing your complete roof. There are fewer contractors accustomed to the Tesla photo voltaic roof system than standard panels, so this may create challenges to find a succesful installer.

Solar energy capabilities

When it comes to the precise capability to generate solar energy, the Tesla photo voltaic roof is more practical than conventional photo voltaic panels. It has a decrease value per watt than standard photo voltaic panels and Tesla’s Powerwall is a greater storage system for generated power. Over time, the Tesla photo voltaic roof could justify the steeper up-front value by means of these energy technology and storage capabilities, however you may must be pondering very long run to make that math work.

Mobility and longevity

One of many down sides of the Tesla photo voltaic roof is the truth that it actually cannot transfer with you. As a result of it’s custom-fit to the roof of your private home, you may’t pack it up and set up it on one other dwelling. Typical photo voltaic panels supply a bit extra flexibility right here, as you would probably take your photo voltaic system with you — although you might wish to depart it to profit from the increase in property worth that they supply.

Tesla’s photo voltaic roof does have a bonus on the subject of longevity, because the system comes with a lifetime guarantee. If one thing goes unsuitable, you may get your shingles changed. If you happen to’re planning to be in the identical home for a very long time, this gives further peace of thoughts. Photo voltaic panels, then again, usually solely have warranties for as much as 20 years.

Winner for many: Photo voltaic panels

For now, standard photo voltaic panels are the safer wager if you’re trying to make the swap to solar energy. They’re a confirmed product. They’re additionally usually cheaper and supply a bit extra flexibility when it comes to how you put in them.

Tesla’s photo voltaic roof reveals a variety of promise, however the {custom} tiles may be cost-prohibitive and early troubles with the product make it onerous to suggest at this stage. Future variations of the Tesla photo voltaic roof could enhance and make good on the promising idea. For now, follow what works so it can save you in your power invoice and shrink your carbon footprint.

Learn extra about photo voltaic power | Photo voltaic panels vs. Tesla photo voltaic roof: The largest variations broken-down


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