Tesla releases details of its solar roof tiles: cheaper than regular roof with ‘infinity warranty’ and 30 yrs of solar power

Tesla released today all the information to order its new solar roof tiles products – starting with the smooth black glass tiles and the textured glass tiles, as reported earlier today.

Of course, the most important information that people were waiting for is price. CEO Elon Musk first hinted that it would be cheaper than a regular roof after accounting for energy savings, and later said that Tesla’s solar roof could cost less than a regular roof – even before energy production.

Tesla pretty much delivered on both depending on how you look at it.

The company says that the “typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof.”

What is important to understand is that not all tiles on the roof would be solar tiles. It depends on the energy needs of the household and shading coming from structural items such as dormers. For the house pictured above, all the tiles are from Tesla, but only some of them have solar cells in them that can generate electricity – though it’s not visible from street view.

The $21.85 per square foot price point was calculated for a roof where 35 percent of the tiles are solar (solar tiles cost more per square foot than non-solar tiles). During a conference call with journalists today, Musk said that in some cases, depending on the roofs, customers will be able to have up to 70% solar tiles, but in most cases, it will be about 40%.

They released a calculator directly on their website, which any homeowner in the US can use to get an estimate based on data from Google’s Sunroof project. Here’s an example for a home in Maryland with both 70% solar coverage and 40% solar coverage:

Ultimately, Tesla sees that most customers will essentially be paid to have a new roof, when accounting for energy generation and the solar incentive.

They are including an installed 14kWh Powerwall 2 in the quotes. It can be removed, but Tesla believes that most people will want to have the home battery pack for backup energy in case of an outage.

Tesla broke down the cost of both its solar tiles and non-solar tiles against traditional roof solutions.

The company estimates that its non-solar tiles are cheaper than regular tiles and its solar tiles are cheaper than anything else, but only when accounting for energy generation (actual cost of solar tiles is $42/sq-ft):

The value of Tesla’s solar roof is closely linked to its durability and its ability to generate electricity over decades.

Musk previously discussed the possibility of making the warranty last for the lifetime of the house on which it is installed and they actually did it:

“Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. That’s why we offer the best warranty in the industry – the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”

That’s for the tiles themselves. The solar power generation is guaranteed for 30 years, which is on the higher end in the solar panel industry:

During a conference call with journalists, Musk and Peter Rive reiterated their confidence in the new product’s durability, which ultimately, of course, is reflected in the warranty.

They put these through every test imaginable, including shooting a large ball of hail:

The first two tiles, smooth and textured, are going into production this summer. They decided to go with those tiles first because they received the highest number of inquiries.

A $1,000 USD deposit is required when ordering a system online now. Homeowners outside of the US can also order, but they should not expect installation until next year. Musk said that he expects strong demand and for the company to be production constrained on the tiles.

Tesla says that it will manage the entire “Solar Roof experience—from the removal of your existing roof through design, permitting, installation, operations and maintenance of the new Solar Roof.” The company estimates that the installation should take roughly the same time to install as a tile roof installation, which is typically 5-7 days.

They recently updated their mobile app in order to prepare for the integration of the solar products and the Powerwall.

Musk concluded the press call by saying: “When you think of a sustainable energy future, you want roofs to be beautiful and generate energy from the sun. That energy can then charge Powerwalls and electric vehicles. That’s the future we want.”

Tesla solar roof products are perfect for homeowners who want solar and need a new roof relatively soon, but a regular solar panel installation is still a good solution for people who don’t need a new roof. Solar and energy storage prices are highly dependent on your market (electricity cost, gov incentives, etc.) and your property. We suggest to get quotes from more than one installer to make sure you get the best energy solution for your place. UnderstandSolar is a great free service to link you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates for free.

Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.


We haven’t really heard much about Tesla’s original co-founder, Martin Eberhard, after the very public ‘founders disagreement’ with Elon Musk that led to his ousting from his role as CEO of the company back in 2008.

He briefly led Volkswagen’s electric vehicle development in the US and later joined his former Tesla colleagues at competitor Atieva, now Lucid Motors, before leaving in 2015. We learned last year that he resurfaced as a consultant for a Chinese electric vehicle company trying to enter the US market.

Now we learn that he has his own serious effort in electric vehicles as Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of his own startup called ‘InEVit. Inc’.EXPAND FULL STORY


In a SEC filing in March, Tesla confirmed that it closed the acquisition of Grohmann Engineering for “approximately $150 million”, but the company didn’t explain how they came up with the number for the relatively small engineering firm in Germany.

In a new filing today, the company broke down the acquisition in details to explain the value of the company, which has now become ‘Tesla Advanced Automation Group’.EXPAND FULL STORY

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news

A million people in LA County might ditch their utility and investors are scared – They’re not going off grid, but instead are joining a CCA. California Assembly Bill 117 of 2002 established CCAs, allowing “customers to aggregate their electrical loads as members of their local community.” California CCAs have eight operational members/1.25 million customers/projected 2017 load of 13,750 GWh. This is a complex thing – multiple power utilities within the same area, neighbors even. Electricity pumped over shared power lines using various sources for generation. A very smart electricity grid will be required to maximize concepts like this. Anyone know who owns the local distribution power lines in California? Private? Public? Anyone in this program already?

Paying for Utility Politics: How ratepayers are forced to fund the Edison Electric Institute and other political organizations – In essence, your payments to the utilities go directly toward an organization that will manipulate the public and pay Congress to make laws against your best interests. The story here focuses on how the Edison Institute is constantly shown to be violating the rules surrounding collecting fees used for lobbying in shareholders, not ratepayers, interests. And Edison consistently being told they’re not allowed to lobby with that money – many times after it is shown they’ve broken rules. This isn’t new – Ten major utilities spent more than $250 million total on political expenditures over a five-year period beginning in 2011 – and it isn’t going to stop.


At Electrek, we like to cover the transition to electric transport, but also the people who are making it happen. That’s why we often report on employee movements between companies like Apple, Faraday Future, GM, NextEV and of course, Tesla.

But sometimes, we don’t have a lot of information about the new hires and even though they have interesting talents to cover, we don’t release full featured articles about them, like our recent report on Tesla’s new Chief Information Officer. So we thought of doing this short “Tesla comings and goings” about recent hires and departures at Tesla.EXPAND FULL STORY


Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced this morning that the company will open orders for the first solar roof tiles today:

Tesla solar glass roof orders open this afternoon. I think it will be great. More in about 10 hours …

It will start with the Black glass smooth tiles and the textured glass tiles. Other styles will follow next year.EXPAND FULL STORY


We have been talking a lot about China at Electrek over the past few months, but that’s because it has quickly become the largest electric vehicle market in the world and it’s likely to keep growing with the government’s mandate.

Now one of the country’s biggest automakers, GAC Motor, announced that they started construction at a giant $6.5 billion industrial park to develop and produce electric and autonomous vehicles.EXPAND FULL STORY

Green Deals: BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Electric String Trimmer $73, more

Latvian ad firm launches satirical “Stop Tesla” campaign to protect oil barons from an “oilless future”

Almost a year into his new research partnership with Tesla, battery researcher Jeff Dahn has been hitting the talk circuit presenting some of his team’s recent progress. We reported last week on his talk at the International Battery Seminar from March and now we have a talk from him at MIT this week.

He went into details about why Tesla decided to work with his team and hire one of his graduate students, but he also announced that they have developed cells that can double the lifetime of the batteries in Tesla’s products – 4 years ahead of schedule.

Update: Dahn reached out to clarify that the cells in question were tested in the lab and they are not in Tesla’s products yet.EXPAND FULL STORY

Last week, Tesla’s battle to get the right to sell its electric vehicles directly to customers in Connecticut without having to go through third-party franchise dealerships took a turn when the DMV issued a cease and desist for Tesla’s only gallery in the state after complaints from local dealerships.

A bill that would allow Tesla to sell in the state was narrowly approved by the tax-writing legislative Finance Committee on Monday and it will now be going to a vote in the house.EXPAND FULL STORY


Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news

Russia Tells the UN It Wants to Produce More Renewable Energy while Macron tells Trump he will protect what was made in Paris – the people and the Paris Agreement – In terms of Russia, we have a minister telling the UN that one of the largest oil and gas-producing countries in the world likes green energy. In France, we have a country run on nuclear energy with heavy investment in taking care of the environment and building plenty of solar. Macron gives me something to believe based upon history – and Putin speaking can be used to influence.

LG has a 20.8% efficiency solar panel available for sale – LG NeON® R, Module efficiency: 20.8%, model LG360Q1C-A5 – This is cool because it’s the second time I’ve seen a normal solar panel above 20% and available from a serious player. Someone on reddit said their contractor was offering this panel up at SunPower pricing (meaning expensive) versus the regular priced LG product in the 18-19% efficiency range. This might be a great panel to start looking for if your roof is space constrained as it’ll come down in price fast as production ramps.



We were excitted when ChargePoint unveiled its latest charging station technology earlier this year. It’s a modular system called Express Plus and it can enable a record-breaking charge rate of up to 400 kW.

The only problem is that ChargePoint doesn’t operate its own charging stations. Therefore, in order for those to get deployed, other companies need to buy them and operate them.

Well, the company announced today the first major deployment of those stations as InstaVolt in the UK announced that they signed a contract to purchase “more than 200 ChargePoint rapid charge systems.”EXPAND FULL STORY

Even though VW has been making some large-scale commitments to electric vehicles, more recently through a giant $10 billion investment over the next 5 years, it can be hard to take them seriously when the only EVs that they built from the ground up are some “weirdmobile” concepts – like the one pictured above.

Nonetheless, the German automaker is hyper confident that it can go from laggard to leader in electric vehicles. CEO Herbert Diess went as far as saying that “anything Tesla can do, we can surpass.”EXPAND FULL STORY


Plans for an all-electric MotoGP support class have been confirmed by Dorna Sports, the parent company of MotoGP and World SuperBike. Dorna’s CEO, Camelo Ezpeleta said electric motorcycle racing could start as early as 2019.

The FIA Formula E championship for racecars has been growing rapidly and has been quite the success story since it was started three years ago. For bikes, on the other hand, it has been relatively quiet with the exception of the Isle of Man TT, which has included electric racing (TT Zero) since 2010.



A new article in the May edition of Transportation Research took up the question of how much, if anything, consumers would pay for autonomous driving capabilities in their vehicles.  The survey of 1,260 American households concluded that the average household would be willing to pay $3,500 for partial automation, or $4,900 for full automation.

There was a lot of variance in the data however, as several households said they would pay upwards of $10,000 for full automation, and others said they would not be interested in paying a premium at all for this technology.  The research also concludes that because of this large variance in consumer price preferences, there will be plenty of room for vehicle models with varying levels of automation at various price points.



Green Deals: Panasonic Eneloop Pro AA Rechargeable Batteries $21, more

If Tesla can achieve a similar positive gross margin on the Model 3 as it has with the Model S and Model X, it will be one of the most decisive catalysts in the automotive industry. Why? It will show that an automaker can truly produce a mass market long-range electric vehicle for a profit.

Whether or not they will manage to is still up for debate, but an analyst today came out with a note predicting that they will be able to achieve a ~25% gross margin – comparable with the Model S’ margin.EXPAND FULL STORY

The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the most exciting all-electric vehicles coming next year. The design of the concept has been really well-received and the specs are on par with other high-end all-electric vehicles planned for production in 2018-2019.

Only a few months away from the planned reveal of the production version, Auto Express spotted a prototype that reportedly features the final production design – pictured above.EXPAND FULL STORY

BYD  became the world’s biggest electric vehicle maker thanks to its market-leading position in China, which in turn became both the biggest automotive market and electric vehicle market in recent years.

But as the government is reducing its direct EV incentives and shifting to a zero-emission mandate, BYD has taken a hit and saw its sales drop 34% during the last quarter.EXPAND FULL STORY

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news

“If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we’re ready to do it” – In the United States, a $1-3B solar project will be 1-3GW of solar power. I’ve seen no projects announced greater than 1GW. More likely, a project of this size will be within a Buffett owned electrical district – Nevada, northwest USA, or able to get its electricity to Nevada. If Buffett is ready to buy, then the world is ready to buy.

French election 2017: Where the candidates stand on energy and climate change – first off, these are politicians talking…so, grain of salt please…but – Macron says 1. double France’s wind and solar capacity by 2022, 2. ban all shale gas exploration, 3. no new hydrocarbon exploration permits, 4. reduce nuclear power’s share of the French energy mix from 75% today to 50%, 5. pledges to “integrate the ecological cost” into the price of carbon in France by increasing the carbon tax to €100 per tonne of CO2 in 2030. Politics in France will be tilted this direction for a while.



In the rapidly growing battery industry, there’s currently no more ambitious project than Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. Tesla has become the largest buyer of li-ion batteries and now it is trying to become the largest producer of li-ion batteries.

Which is why a lot of industry people were excited that Kurt Kelty, Tesla’s longtime director of battery technology, was in Florida last March to give a keynote address at the International Battery Seminar. His presentation focused on the Gigafactory and its unique supply chain all the way to material sourcing.EXPAND FULL STORY


Tesla started pushing its latest software update for vehicles with second generation Autopilot hardware this weekend. It removed the speed restrictions on Autosteer – bringing the feature to parity with Tesla’s first generation Autopilot on Mobileye’s technology.

Owners have started testing the new update with impressive results so far. EXPAND FULL STORY


The Tesla community had another small technical/communication controversy this week that was not unlike the controversy around Tesla’s undisclosed performance restrictions with max power output in March.

We learned this week that the automaker is also limiting the charging rate when Supercharging on vehicles that have accumulated too many DC fast-charge events. Electrek reached out to Tesla to get the official reason behind the change.EXPAND FULL STORY

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased a new feature to allow a “one-touch access to all discovered Tesla Easter eggs”.

As we reported yesterday, Tesla started pushing a new software update on Friday night for Autopilot 2.0 vehicles and while it was mainly about Autopilot improvements, it apparently also included the new Easter egg feature.EXPAND FULL STORY



Tesla is leveraging its large fleet of vehicles equipped with sensors in order to gather data for its autonomous driving vehicle program.

It’s now stepping up its data gathering game with the latest update this week by updating its data sharing policy to include collecting videos in order to ‘make self-driving a reality’.EXPAND FULL STORY


Friday night, Tesla started pushing yet another software update for its vehicles equipped with second generation Autopilot hardware (October 2016-present).

The new update removes the main restrictions on Autosteer, the Autopilot’s main autonomous feature, and made Tesla’s own proprietary vision system almost to feature parity with the first generation Autopilot powered by Mobileye.EXPAND FULL STORY


We all know the direct benefits of owning an electric vehicle – cleaner, cheaper, smoother  travel, getting to drive in carpool lanes, tax rebates, not being a douchebag to the environment, etc.

But after owning EVs for 5 years now, I’ve run into some 10 benefits that people probably don’t think of when deciding between purchasing and EV, hybrid or internal combustion engine. Drumroll please:EXPAND FULL STORY

Tesla is currently yet again in another battle to get the right to sell its electric vehicles directly to customers in Connecticut without having to go through third-party franchise dealerships. Earlier this year, a new bill (HB 7097) has been introduced in Connecticut to allow direct sales of electric vehicles in the state.

The automaker is pushing for the bill to pass, while local dealerships are strongly opposing it.

In the meantime, Tesla has been operating a gallery in the state to promote its products without directly selling them, but now it received a cease and desist from the DMV following complaints from those same car dealers.EXPAND FULL STORY


Green Deals: GreenWorks G-MAX 40V 20-inch Cordless Lawn Mower $266, more


While GM has been boasting about the Chevy Bolt EV being the first long-range affordable electric car, supplies have been fairly limited. It’s still not clear if the constraints are coming from production or demand since there are decent inventories in ZEV states in the US.

The vehicle is supposed to be coming to Europe this month with the first deliveries in Norway, but despite strong demand, deliveries are reportedly being limited to only a few hundred units by the end of the year.EXPAND FULL STORY

In March, Tesla launched a fan-made commercial competition for people to submit <90-second videos promoting Tesla. The submissions will be judged by Tesla employees who will choose 10 winners based on “originality, creativity, relevance to Tesla and its mission, and entertainment value.”

Update: Tesla announced that it is extending the deadline to next month

We want to give everyone, everywhere a last chance to share their Project Loveday creations. Submit yours by June 5: http://ts.la/2pbsmrC 

Tesla’s ‘Project Loveday’

Following a great idea suggested by 10 year old Bria Loveday, Tesla is holding a video contest. If you would like to enter ‘Project Loveday’ then simply fill in the entry form and submit your video….


We look at a few entries before it closes after this weekend next month.EXPAND FULL STORY

Electric vehicle sales are closely followed by auto industry analysts who are trying to predict when they will surpass internal combustion engine sales.

Morgan Stanley’s analysts are the latest to share their prediction in a new report today. They predict that more electric vehicles will be sold in 2040 than gas-powered cars.EXPAND FULL STORY


BMW has been positioning itself for moving more seriously in the electric vehicle space lately. The company started holding meetings to warn employees that EVS are coming and here to stay and they announced production expansion for its upcoming electric vehicles.

During their earning for the first quarter 2017, BMW CEO Harald Krüger said that they see momentum for its EV sales and highlighted that BMW i3 deliveries grew 50% in 2017.EXPAND FULL STORY


Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news

Trina Solar achieves 24.13% conversion efficiency for IBC solar cell – Cool to see the R&D happening not only in the labs of universities, but also the largest companies on the planet. A few notes though – this was a single cell. Trina Solar noted that the record-breaking IBC cell was fabricated at its State Key Laboratory (SKL) of PV Science and Technology (PVST), on a large-sized phosphorous-doped Cz Silicon substrate (156×156 mm) with a low-cost industrial IBC process, featuring conventional tube doping technologies and screen-printed metallization. Also, the move to market will be long as doesn’t have a commercial line producing this type of product. 3-5 years? Not worth waiting for with tax breaks/incentives/net metering being hacked at.

Linking to this new website – Electrek.co – heard of it? Tesla battery researcher unveils new chemistry to increase lifecycle at high voltage – If made into a car battery pack, 1,200 cycles would translate to roughly 300,000 miles (480,000 km) – meaning that a battery pack could still retain about 95% of its original energy capacity after ~300,000 miles – or 25 years at the average 12,000 miles per year – If put in a house, the values would mean that you’d be above 80% of the batteries original capacity after 25 years. That’s a 25 year warranty on a battery pack coming! Game over.


After proudly announcing reservation numbers for the Tesla Model 3 as the “biggest product launch of all-time”, Tesla has refused to officially update the number of reservations since May 2016.

They refused to confirm the number again this week during the first quarter financial result call, but CEO Elon Musk did say that reservations were growing every week despite the fact that Tesla’s total customer deposits were down.EXPAND FULL STORY


As we recently reported, the labor situation at Tesla Advanced Automation Group, formerly Grohmann Engineering, has been improving since CEO Elon Musk sent a letter to employees in which he made several promises.

But now BMW and VW, two former clients of Grohmann Engineering, are starting a dispute of Tesla’s recent cancellation of the engineering contracts between the companies.EXPAND FULL STORY

Green Deals: 2-pack Mpow 20 LED Outdoor Solar Lights $30, more

While there has been a lot of talk about Tesla venturing into the market of heavy-duty electric vehicles, it’s something its Chinese competitor BYD has been doing for years now. Earlier this year, they delivered a fleet of all-electric trucks to work in yards in California.

Now they deliver their first 60-ft all-electric bus in the US – an impressive machine equipped with an even more impressive battery pack with a capacity of 547 kWh.EXPAND FULL STORY

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