The rollout of the first Tesla solar roof tiles in 2018, almost 18 months after the announcement of the Tesla solar roof in October 2016, was another defining victory in the Tesla story that started with their iconic Tesla cars and has now grown to include Tesla solar panels and the Tesla home battery (Powerwall).
Where did the inspiration for the Tesla solar roof come from?
The technology behind the first solar roof tiles (also called solar shingles) was developed in the 1970s. Since then, several companies have attempted to produce a solar medium that would look and function like a traditional roofing system and also replace traditional solar panel add-ons.
While building integrated photovoltaic (known as BIPV) options aren’t a new concept, the Tesla’s Solar Roof products have taken aesthetics to a whole new level – just as Tesla Motors have done with their electric cars.
How much does a Tesla solar roof cost compared to regular roofing materials?
The Tesla solar tiles are a premium product. Constructed of thin layers of quartz – they are virtually unbreakable. While price estimates may eventually vary depending on location and installation costs, Tesla insists that their solar roofing tiles will sell for a price of $21.85 per square foot. The cost of regular roofing materials is between $1-$2 per square foot for asphalt shingles.
At $21.85 per square foot, the Tesla solar roof price for a 2,500 square foot home is around $54,000. This cost has been one of the reasons Tesla solar roof installations have been slow through the last half of 2018. However, while the upfront costs are expensive for Tesla solar roof customers, Tesla claims that the solar roof tiles will last a lifetime whereas conventional roofing materials might only last 10-20 years.
What is the Tesla solar panel roof?
Tesla roof panels are unlike traditional solar panels in that every tile contains one solar cell. They not only look like, and function as, conventional roofing materials, such as terracotta, slate, or asphalt, they also produce electricity!
The Solar Roof line of products is unique among other solar options because it doesn’t resemble a typical solar installation. Every solar cell is embedded invisibly within every glass tile. The tiles are then installed like traditional roofing shingles or tiles. If you didn’t know the roof was a Tesla product, you’d probably never realize it.
Unlike other solar products, Tesla systems are designed to collect up to 98 percent of the solar energy that traditional arrays collect. The unique type of louvered glass tile works in much the same way as window blinds by reflecting sunlight to appear opaque while still absorbing the rays of the sun.
The electricity generated by the solar roof tiles is then used to power your house – and possibly also to charge the Powerwall battery if you choose to store your solar energy for later use. Tesla tiles can be installed on new construction, as part of a re-roofing project. For the pros and cons of installing energy storage with your solar panels check out our blog.
There’s a 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit that homeowners can qualify for that applies not only to the cost of the tiles but also to any associated equipment and the cost of one or more Powerwall batteries for your system.
To qualify for the full tax credit, it’s a must to have federal income tax liability equal to the value of the amount of the tax credit. Luckily, this can be carried over to subsequent tax years. Additional utility, local, or state tax and solar incentives may apply. Early estimates say the average return for a 1,800 square foot home in California is nearly $88,000 in saved energy costs over 25 years. However, this is an average, and the actual result will vary a lot from house to house.
To find out the potential solar savings at your house based on your location, power use, utility rates for power and roof you can use our solar savings calculator.
What are the advantages of Tesla solar roof tiles?
Although the upfront investment seems high, there are several advantages to installing Tesla solar tiles on your roof:
- Aesthetically, Tesla solar tiles put traditional solar arrays to shame. There are no bulky frames or visible wiring and junction boxes. The tiles look like regular roofing tiles – which could significantly increase the value of your home.
- While the initial purchase and installation costs for Tesla tiles are impressive, like other solar options, this product will pay for itself.
- Because the design of these tiles makes them nearly indestructible, Tesla offers to replace their tiles as long as you own your home – without time limits.
Can it be argued that the Tesla solar roof has an attractive investment return?
One of the reasons investing in Tesla roofing tiles is attractive is because it’s not necessary to reshingle your entire roof to take advantage of the solar benefits. If your roof does need replacing, Tesla recommends only investing in replacing between 35 to 50 percent of your roof with solar tiles.
While the initial price of Tesla’s Solar Roof may look intimidating, estimates indicate that the owner of an average 3,000 square foot home would pay around $60,000 for a Tesla solar roof, compared to a traditional installation of approximately $26,000.
In the United States, until 2019, homeowners who choose to install a partial replacement or full roof may qualify to deduct 30 percent of the costs from their taxes. Unless Congress extends the deadlines, after 2019, the credit drops to 26 percent. Starting in 2020, it drops to 22 percent, and after 2021, residential solar investors will receive no credits.
Who installs Tesla roof tiles?
Tesla will be offering certification training to installers who will be able to properly install the right type of tile in the correct area(s) of your roof. Tesla is already taking solar roof pre-orders.
It is hard to know when all of the styles of the Tesla solar roof will be available and, given the federal solar tax credit steps down at the end of 2019, we would recommend that if you own a house that has a roof in reasonable condition that you get solar quotes on conventional solar panels. Traditional solar panels will work out cheaper.
However, if you are building a new house and so need to wait anyway, a Tesla solar roof would be an excellent addition to ensure your new home has a roof that will last and solar energy to meet your needs now and into the future.
Amea Power, 50 mw solar power plant project in togo temperature energy project
Officially named Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, after His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the PV plant has been delivered in record time, with just 18 months between the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and commencement of commercial operations.
Built by AMEA Togo Solar, a subsidiary of AMEA Power, the plant, located 267km from Togo’s capital, Lomé, has a planned production of nearly 90,255 MWh of power per year. This will supply power to approximately 158,333 Togolese households per year, with 9% of energy generation feeding into the local Blitta distribution network, enough to meet demand in the area.
The power plant will be operated for 25 years by AMEA Togo Solar, saving more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the course of its life. The plant is instrumental in supporting Togo’s ambitious US$8 billion 2018 – 2022 National Development Plan (NDP), which aims to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030 and to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 50%.
Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, commented: “We are delighted to launch the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant and extend our congratulations to all those involved. Togo was an obvious choice for AMEA Power’s first operational power plant in Africa, with it being an important trade hub in West Africa, along with the government’s progressive regulatory framework for renewable energy projects, which was key in ensuring the completion of the project in a fast, efficient, and responsible manner. This is an incredibly exciting time for AMEA Power, and we are on track to becoming one of the fastest-growing renewable energy IPPs, with several additional projects set to achieve financial close in 2021.”
His Excellency Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo, and AMEA Power’s Chairman, Hussain Al Nowais, attended an inauguration ceremony today [22nd June 2021] at the power plant site. Other high-profile attendees included the Prime Minister of Togo, Victoire Tomegah Dogbé; Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic, in charge of Energy and Mines in Togo, Mila Aziable; Director of Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET), Laré Santiégou; Senior Advisor to the President of Togo, Shegun Adjadi Bakari; President of the West African Development Bank, Serge Ekué; and the Deputy Director General of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Khalifa Al Qubaisi.
Mila Aziable, Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic, in charge of Energy and Mines in Togo, commented:“The development of the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant is an excellent example of a successful Public-Private Partnership in Africa, with AMEA Power utilising Togo’s committed implementation unit and favourable investment climate to pre-fund a large-scale renewable energy project on balance sheet. We are delighted to have worked with a team of such highly-skilled professionals with demonstrated know-how in the energy sector.”
The project was supported with concessional loans from the West African Development Bank (BOAD) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD). It was pre-funded on balance sheet, and then refinanced, a unique model for a large-scale IPP project in Africa. This is indicative of the level of project certainty created by the NDP’s regulatory framework, which provided AMEA Power with the necessary level of assurance and comfort to embark on the project’s execution well in advance of the financing being arranged.
The construction of the power plant helped to create local employment opportunities, with 80% of plant workers hailing directly from Togo.
AMEA Power also invested directly in community initiatives in Blitta, which positively impacted more than 100,000 people, by constructing (and providing equipment for) one new clinic and three new school buildings; renovating four schools; providing school supplies for 1,400 students; and installing a water pump at a local primary school. AMEA Power will provide electrification via solar power to the schools and clinic.
Moreover, AMEA Power’s internship programme brought 36 engineering students from various technical institutions in Togo to the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed PV plant, preparing them for employment by giving them the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and develop their practical skills in renewable energies.
In response to COVID-19, AMEA Power distributed essential food and hygiene products to 8,500 families in nine countries across Africa, including 1,100 families in Togo. AMEA Power also distributed food and hygiene products to a further 8,000 families during Ramadan this year, which reached 1,100 families in Togo.
Truck trailers with solar panels can save fuel
In a research partnership, Scania will develop a solar cell clad trailer to power a plug-in hybrid truck. Initial tests indicate possible fuel savings of 5–10 percent in Sweden and twice that amount in sun-rich southern Spain.
“Solar cells have previously been employed on boats and caravans but then only to power auxiliaries such as refrigerators and cookers and not the actual powertrain,” says Eric Falkgrim, Technology Leader in Vehicle Design at Scania R&D.
An 18-metre long solar cell clad trailer
The truck will be operated in daily transport assignments by the Swedish haulier Ernst Express, which also collaborated with Scania in trials of the world’s first electric road with overhead catenary lines. Ernst Express will operate an 18-metre long solar cell clad trailer with a total area along the sides and roof of 140 square metres. In total, the solar panels are expected in Sweden to annually generate 14,000 kWh.
The research project will also examine whether the trailer can feed electricity into the grid when the batteries are fully charged and the truck is parked, for example, over weekends.
Fuel savings up to 10 percent in Sweden
In a pre-study, operations in mid-Sweden were simulated reaching a potential fuel saving of 5–10 percent. In Sweden, there is enough sunlight from spring to autumn to generate energy and although the sun is weak except during summer, there are more hours of sunlight. During the rest of the year , there is insufficient sun in Sweden. By contrast, southern Spain has 80 percent more hours of sunlight.
The project is publicly funded the Swedish government’s innovation agency Vinnova and aside from Scania and Ernst Express also engages Midsummer that manufactures the solar panels, Uppsala University, which conducts advanced research on more efficient solar cells, and the Dalakraft energy company.
FRV secures Green Finance for Sebastopol Solar Farm, NSW, Australia
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and a leading global developer of renewable energy projects, closed the financing agreement for the 90 MWac Sebastopol Solar Farm – its third major project in New South Wales.
The funding is entirely provided by ING in the form of a Green Finance compliant with the Loan Market Association (LMA) Green Loan Principles and the Green Projects requirements.
FRV signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the project with Snowy Hydro in March 2020. In August FRV successfully completed the construction of the 69.75 MWac New South Wales Goonumbla Solar Farm, which also has a PPA awarded to FRV as part of the Snowy Hydro Renewable Energy Procurement Program in 2018.
Located 16 km south of Temora, approximately 440 km south-west of Sydney, New South Wales, the plant will connect to the national grid and generate enough power to supply over 40,000 Australian households and avoid the emission of approximately 77,600 tons of CO2 annually. This is the equivalent of removing some 27,700 cars from the roads each year.
Sebastopol Solar Farm will contribute to the economic development of the local area. FRV anticipate the creation of up to 150 jobs during the construction phase, and 2-3 operational staff for the life of the project. Site maintenance contracts will also be required and will be met by local businesses.
FRV has developed and secured PPA for a total of seven solar projects in Australia, operating and committed with an accumulated investment of over US$ 700 million since 2012: Royalla (20 MWac) in the Australian Capital Territory, Clare (100 MWac) and Lilyvale (100 MWac) in Queensland, Moree (56 MWac), Goonumbla (69.75 MWac) and Sebastopol (90 MWac) in New South Wales and Winton (85 MWac) in Victoria.
Carlo Frigerio, Managing Director of FRV in Australia, said: “This is our second financial close this year following Winton solar Farm in Victoria and I am delighted to see another FRV project starting construction in New South Wales after our successful delivery of the Goonumbla Solar Farm few months ago”. Mr Frigerio also added “We are also very glad to receive funding for the Project from ING in the form of a Green Finance confirming FRV’s commitment to support environmentally sustainable economic activity in the regions where we operate”.
Fady Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “Through FRV, our flagship renewables business, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy furthers its commitment to delivering clean energy solutions in key global markets. We are grateful for our partnership with ING, securing a groundbreaking Green Finance for the Sebastopol Solar Farm. Together, we are encouraging responsible and sustainable infrastructure development in Australia’s renewable energy sector.”
Gordon Wymer, Chief Commercial Officer of Snowy Hydro, said “We are extremely pleased that FRV has progressed this project through the financial close milestone”. Mr. Wymer also added “Snowy Hydro continues to build its renewable energy portfolio, enabling new wind and solar projects to be built. This is providing much needed competition in the C&I market as well as a great outcome for our environment”.
Gido van Graas, Managing Director & Head of Energy of ING Australia, said: “Following the recent financing for the Winton and Goonumbla Solar Farms this is our third transaction with FRV in Australia and marks another milestone for our Energy team in Sydney who also acted as Green Structuring Advisor. By using a green loan to fund the construction of the Sebastopol Solar Farm is a clear testament of FRVs commitment to a sustainable future and contributes towards ING’s ambition to align our lending portfolio with the Paris Agreement goals”.
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