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.
Invenergy Completes Financing for Its Largest Solar Project to Date
Invenergy, a leading privately-held developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions, announced that it completed construction financing on Dec. 19, 2018 for its largest solar project to date, the 160-megawatt Southern Oak Solar project, located in Mitchell County, Georgia.
CoBank acted as sole lender, issuing bank, collateral agent and administrative agent for the deal.
In May of 2018, Invenergy and Georgia Power announced a power purchase agreement for Georgia Power to buy all the energy, environmental attributes and electrical products from Southern Oak Solar through 2049. This agreement is part of the utility’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI), which is designed to advance the growth of renewable energy goals across the state of Georgia.
“The completion of construction financing for Southern Oak Solar represents far more than a financial milestone,” said Invenergy’s President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Murphy. “Southern Oak Solar is a significant transaction with leading utility Georgia Power, and it is also our largest solar project to date, firmly establishing Invenergy as a leading developer of utility scale solar projects.”
Construction on Southern Oak Solar began in September 2018, and solar panels for the project are being provided by LONGi Solar Technology (U.S.) Inc. Other major partners on the project include RES (Renewable Energy Systems), who will construct the project, and NEXTracker Inc. for supply of the single axis trackers and its state-of-the-art TrueCapture™ control system.
The facility is scheduled to begin commercial operation by year-end 2019 and will create more than 400 jobs during construction. It will provide enough renewable energy to power more than 30,000 homes. The project will generate more than $12 million in local economic development in its first 10 years of operation through tax payments, lease payments to participating landowners, and wages and benefits for employees.
SolarEdge to Enter E-Mobility Market with Acquisition of S.M.R.E. Spa
SolarEdge is a global leader in smart energy. It announced today the entry into a definitive agreement to acquire S.M.R.E Spa (“SMRE”). Headquarter in Italy, SMRE provides innovative integrated powertrain technology and electronics for electric vehicles.
Foundation in 1999, SMRE has three business units. These are e-mobility, automation production machines and telematics software. The company has more than fifteen years of experience. It has developed end-to-end solutions for electric and hybrid vehicles used in motorcycles, commercial vehicles and trucks. So, these solutions include innovative high performance powertrains with e-motor, motor drive, gearbox, battery, BMS, chargers, Vehicle Control Unit and software for electric vehicles.
Governments and automotive manufacturers commit to the electrification of transportation. The global market for electric vehicles forecast by industry experts increases. Now, prediction is from about one million EVs in 2018 to approximately 20 million annually in 2030.
“SMRE is another step in executing our strategy of sustainable growth. It is addressing an additional fast growing and technologically efficient market. While, at the same time, it diversifies into new fields outside the solar arena,” stated Guy Sella, CEO, Chairman and Founder of SolarEdge. “SMRE’s innovative technology and experienceful, successful team provides SolarEdge with fast access to the high growing e-mobility market. We believe that combining SMRE’s experience and full powertrain technology with SolarEdge’s innovative power and battery technology, operational excellence and global reach, positions us to become a market leader in this important market.”
ABB to construct solar power expansion in Dubai
ABB wins order worth over $90 million from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), a leading power utility in United Arab Emirates (UAE), to build the substation to strengthen Dubai’s power grid and reduce carbon footprint. This will be ABB’s second substation for the park, exemplifying the company’s commitment to deliver reliable power to consumers and serve the building and infrastructure sector alongside utility and industry customers.
After years of rapid growth and urbanisation, Dubai continues to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. The booming growth in population and economic sectors such as tourism, have increased the demand for energy. To boost power supply and meet the goals for increased use of renewables, the UAE launched its ambitious Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, located inland 50 km south of Dubai, has been a central part of Dubai’s renewable strategy. When completed in 2030, the park will occupy 214 square km, generate 5,000 MW and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 6.5 million tonnes.
ABB is in charge of the design, supply, and installation and commissioning of the Shams 400/ 132 kV substation, which once completed, will have an overall capacity of more than 2,000 megavolt amperes (MVA). When Phase-3 of the project is finished in 2020, which is the same year that Dubai will host Expo 2020, the total solar power generated through Solar Photovoltaic will exceed 1,000 MW, and significantly lower carbon emissions.
“We are proud to work with DEWA and continue to contribute to this landmark project with our state-of-the-art technologies that will boost capacity and bring cleaner solar power to the people,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids Division. “Integrating renewables is a key element of our Next Level strategy and our proven track record reinforces our position as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”
“In Dubai, we have a comprehensive approach to the energy sector. We are committed to achieve the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide 75 percent of the Emirate’s total power output from clean energy by 2050. Meeting the clean energy objectives requires a capacity of 42,000 MW of clean and renewable energy by 2050. The most prominent project to achieve these objectives, is the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will have a generation capacity of 5,000 MW by 2030, with investments totaling AED50 billion. The solar park will contribute to reducing over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year when completed”, said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.
The ABB substation includes supply of 400 and 132 kV gas-insulated switchgear, power transformers, protection, automation and control systems as well as surveillance and communication systems. The substation will also be IEC 61850 enabled, to support open and seamless communication with all intelligent devices. In 2017, ABB delivered its first substation connecting the second phase of the MBR Solar Park and integrating 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the transmission grid.
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