Tesla Inc. is now accepting orders for its highly anticipated and aesthetically pleasing solar powered, electricity-generating roofs. The roofs are a mix of generating and non-generating solar tiles to maximize the cost efficiency each roof but both tiles look the same. The tiles are made to create an optical illusion. From street level, they appear to be normal roof tiles but the sun shines from above where a person flying overhead would see the solar cells inside the tiles clearly from the air.
During a conference call with reporters, Musk said that the roofs could be made up of as much as 70% active solar tiles, though most houses would have about 40%. The solar glass tiles will be lighter and stronger than normal roof tiles, and that the roofs will come with a warranty that extends either to the lifetime of the house or to “infinity” — whichever comes first.
Tesla has a cost estimate calculator on its website where the curious public can input their address and see the cost of the roof and the amount of cost savings it is expected to generate in energy over 30 years. The calculator includes the amount of any federal, state, or local tax credits customers could receive as well as the cost of a Tesla Powerwall storage battery. The Powerwall battery stores electricity so that it can power a home when the sun isn’t shining.
A down payment of $1,000 is required to reserve your spot on the order list. Roof installations will start in June.
The average homeowner looking to replace a 3,000-square-foot roof with the solar roof could expect to pay about $21.85 per square foot, Tesla said. That price doesn’t include tax credits and applies to a roof that is 35% covered with electricity-generating tiles.
Musk said on the call. “We want to look around at neighborhoods and see roofs that are beautiful and generate energy from the sun.”
A number of financing options to pay the $30,000 to $60,000 cost include personal loans, mortgage refinancing, and home equity credit lines. Financing directly from Tesla will begin in late 2017 or 2018.