Tesla Solar Roof: Cost Estimate with Powerwall 2 and Electricity Costs


Elon Musk is claiming that the new Tesla solar room is going to look better than a normal roof. That's his words, not mine. It'll generate electricity, no doubt, last longer, that's to be seen, and have better installation and an installed cost that is less than a normal roof plus the cost of electricity. This is a big claim for Tesla, and I figured we should dig into some data, come up with what we think the cost may be, or where the range would be for it to actually make sense for most people. Then try to figure out what solar's like for you, and whether or not it makes sense at all. Consumer reports recently put out some information about what an average roof would cost, and they did a lot of digging, so thank you to them, and thank you for all of us that are joining me. We're gonna figure this out because they found that a clay room is about $16,000, an asphalt roof like I have is $20,000, and then we have a slate roof, which is about $45,000, the more expensive option. On my roof here, this is an asphalt tile roof, and it's extremely common in Arizona, California and Texas, tons of places where solar is also popular.

They estimate this would be about $20,000 to replace. That's for a 3,000 square foot house, not a 1,000 square foot house like I have. Prices are expensive here, what can I say, but the point being that, that is a decent chunk of money. If you add in the cost of electricity, the cost of a solar room could still be quite high, and end up making a lot of sense financially over the 30 year term. Now these roofs typically only come with about a 20 year life span, so all that factored in, I would say that a Tesla roof is going to make a lot of sense for a lot of people, assuming you can afford it, and get financing, all those kind of things. There's a lot to consider, so let's dive into those things next. When we considered those as our choices for our roof cost, we're going to look at what the tiles may cost that are similar. Now they announced four different kinds of tiles, the smooth glass tile, the textured glass tile, the Tuscan glass tile, and then the slate. Forget the smooth glass tile, because there really is no comparison for a roof of a residential home anyways. Now taking that into consideration, and looking at the cost of solar, now the average cost of solar here in Southern California or in San Diego, anyways is about $15,000.

That's after the federal incentive, the tax credit of 30% which is huge. That is there for you, which is gonna save you a lot of money, and there's a big question of whether or not the solar roof will fall under this same category of product, because it's specifically for the photovoltaic panels. This being some hybrid of a roof plus the panels, there's been no installations yet, so we don't really know. Now I'm sure Elon and those guys will be fighting for that, lobbying whoever's in the White House to do that. Here in San Diego, it is sunny about 70% of the time, and we get some clear days, and some not so clear days, but it's one of the sunniest places in the country. You'd think it makes a lot of sense to get solar, but when you consider that this is a Mediterranean climate. It's one of those more mild type climates, where it's not too hot, it's not too cold, you really don't spend a ton of money on energy for your house.

You don't need a lot of heat in the winter, you don't need AC really much in the summer, depending on where you live, and a lot of place don't even have AC at all. When you consider that, solar in San Diego, or in Southern California is more of a question mark. In other places like Phoenix, or Las Vegas, where it's super sunny, and it's super hot, it makes all the sense in the world. To confuse things even more, there is this issue about what to do with the surplus of energy. We have something here in California, known as net energy metering, and it's pretty common in places that are big with solar. New York state is another one as well. What that basically is, is if you're at home, or if you're generating more electricity, during let's say a hot day, when you're at work, and the sun is just beating down, and you're just putting out a ton of electricity, the local utility will buy that from you, and then sell it back to you at that same rate later on when you need it, say in the winter when it's cloudy, or at night, or anything like that.

In the end you can think of it as basically flattening your bill out. For the purposes of our analysis, we're gonna assume that either you have that option for available to to you, or you have something like the Tesla PowerWall. Now the Tesla Powerwall comes in at $6,500, and is a way to essentially offset, I mean in theory with one or maybe two you could potentially go off the grid completely. I think that's a lot of people's dream, but it's yet to be seen. Let's just assume though, that for this to work, the solar that you get from the solar roof would be a net zero effect. You'd have zero bills for electricity that includes potentially fueling up your Tesla car if you have one or multiple of those. Now Tesla says that the solar roof will last for about 30 years, and that's a little bit longer than most solar warranties.

Most solar warranties, in fact if you look for quotes and things like that, it'll be right around 25, sometimes 20 years. They're saying that 30 years is the life span, in that, that's within the warranty. With that, you should be good with any degradation, or any loss of performance, or any problems of like an inverter, or any other piece of the puzzle that goes bust. If we take the annual average electric bill of $2,000 times 30 years, you're looking at $60,000 of kind of a buffer of cost up front that you can actually pad into what this new solar roof product may be. Taking a look here, just starting with the overall roof costs, I wanted to make this little bar chart, so you can get a sense of how much more expensive the slate roof is compared to the asphalt, or the clay roof. It's quite a bit more expensive, so keep that in mind as we go through this analysis here. If we wanted to actually just break down the details, I have several metrics that I want to compare.

First, I start with the roof cost, and I have these bubbles here representing the actual cost relative to each other. If I wanted to then add in the total electricity cost, so this is $2,000 a year for 30 years. That's same across no matter what type of roof you have, I would get a simple sum. This is just adding those two numbers together, and this would be the most basic of ways to say, okay if it's below or within this range then you're coming out ahead financially. Then subtract the cost of one PowerWall, and you get essentially the consumer reports estimate. This is how they calculated the $69,500, and $98,500 for the range of the cost at which you'll be coming out ahead financially, or at least breaking even. If you want, you can play with this.

I'll put it on my website. You can change that to two, and see how much two PowerWalls would affect your cost. Again, if you're looking at a 3,000 square foot house, you probably do need more than just one, but just to stay consistent with their analysis and doing my own comparison, we'll use one for now. I'll let you guys decide if the annual electricity cost of $2,000 is correct, and if the solar cost of $15,000 is fair as well. All of that considered, I think though you need to take into consideration the roof, the electricity, plus the cost of solar. If I check that box there, I'll get what my estimate would be minus the cost of a PowerWall plus the cost of solar, the range that would be acceptable, or at least financially viable for you over the term 30 years to pay for a new Tesla solar roof. We're looking anywhere between $84,500, and $113,500.

If we wanted to see what that looked like plotted out, you can see basically the consumer report's estimate, and then my estimate here, which is that plus the $15,000 cost of solar. Again, you'll have a link in the description where you can actually go to my website and play with these numbers, and see what you come up with. Does it make sense for you. It's the final question in our journey, and unfortunately, I won't be able to answer it specifically, because first off every person that watches this could be in a different country, a different state. The rules change, depending on where you are. I'm gonna put some resources down in the description that you can use to try to find that information out for you, but some generalities, some things we can all think about here whether or not a Tesla solar roof would make sense. First, do you need a new roof? Do you need or are you going to need a new roof anytime soon? Next, are you going to get solar, or have you been thinking about solar.

Either of those questions can really push you towards considering the Tesla solar roof as an option. Still between $70,000 and $100,000 is a pretty big range and still pretty much a luxury item. Again, remember that also considers the size of your house. Me, as I mentioned, I have a 1,000 square foot house. Being in a Mediterranean climate like I live in, I don't need a ton of energy, so the actual cost of the solar roof might be fairly cheap. In fact, Elon even mentioned that parts of the roof wouldn't all be solar, because sometimes it doesn't make sense. Maybe it's covered by shade a good chunk of the day, or whatever, so that would reduce in theory, the cost of the overall installation. They haven't given out details yet. Of course once they do, I'll be back here to tell you more about it then. I really wanted to thank you for watching this video. I hope this has helped you in understanding what could be with this new Tesla product, as well as whether or not it makes sense for you, and any of the other factors that you may be considering when switching to a more sustainable energy platform for you and your family..