Buyer Beware – With Tesla’s New Solar Roofing Tiles, The Devil is in the Details

Buyer Beware – With Tesla’s New Solar Roofing Tiles, The Devil is in the Details

Tesla, one of the leading innovators in the solar power marketplace, recently announced pricing details for its revolutionary solar roof tiles – a system that, until now, seemed like a pipe dream. For many would-be solar customers, it still is.

“We paid our $500 down and were to get an assessment from an installer within a week.  Installation was to have been completed by the end of April.  Never happened.  Never even were contacted…We have tried to get some of the solar electric installers locally to become certified Tesla installers, but they are leery of the Tesla track record of promising but not coming up with the product.” – Susan Q, former Tesla customer. She converted to Wholesale Solar and purchased a 4.43 kW Grid-Tied Solar System from us shortly thereafter.

If you are dead-set on a solar power system, Tesla’s solar roof tiles may seem like a dream come true  – offering a similar aesthetic to shingle or Spanish tile roofing, but with the added benefit of photovoltaic cells rather than normal solar panel arrays. Much of this technology is untested, however, without the proven history of reliability and durability that current solar panels are known for. Rather than mounting on a racking system, solar roof tiles replace the entire roof – which is fine if you’re building a home from the ground up, but may seem unnecessary to many homeowners, when their home has a perfectly good roof already. These concerns are just the beginning, however, there are a few factors to consider which may influence your decision:

Price

While their pricing is noted as being competitive with other roofing styles such as shingle or tile, coming in a $21.85 per square foot, the cost of installing a complete Tesla solar roof tile system is still more than many homeowners can afford. An average roofing job will cost around $73,500 after solar tax incentives and rebates, according to consumer reports – comparable to a shingle or tile roof, and will save a family over $2000 a year on power costs.

While such an installation will pay for itself over time, the up front cost is still a huge investment compared to the $5000-30,000 you’ll spend on a DIY complete solar power system. Whether you go off-grid completely or grid-tied to zero out your utility bill, you get the same return on investment and guaranteed reliability with proven equipment and technology, all for a fraction of the price.

Tesla also promises an unlimited warranty on their solar roof tiles, a big bonus to be sure – but the promise of a warranty is only as good as the product it’s backing, and with potentially years of waiting before Tesla installs solar roof tiles on a customer’s home, those promises of a warranty might be just so much hot air. For comparison, our solar panels have a guaranteed 25-year power warranty, and are a product that’s ready right now, when you need it. Our pre-wired power centers also come with a 5 year warranty of their own, and other products from various manufacturers we carry are supported with warranties of anywhere from one to 30 years. At Wholesale Solar, we keep our promises, and back them up with tangible results.

Time

Depending on the size of your solar installation project, setting up your DIY system can take up to a few days to set up – hard work, but well worth it in the end! You should always take into account the planning, permitting, and other essential stages ahead of time to save yourself some trouble once that work begins.

Tesla’s solar roof tiles, however, take over a week to have installed by a professional roofer – often at an added expense, and is not something you can do on your own. This is a major downside for many people, and the inconvenience of having roofers in and around your home and property can dissuade many people from installation.

Complexity

Solar roof tiles are a complex system – with individual cells grouped together and multiple points tied to wiring, power control, and even “dummy” units – cells that look the same, but aren’t actually solar cells, to comply with fire code regulations. This creates a very difficult, specialized installation only a few contractors are capable of – in fact, Tesla has their own installation personnel who they use for the job. Maintenance costs can also run high, as this installation is so beyond the standard that it will require specialized experts to service or repair.

For comparison, a complete DIY solar kit from Wholesale Solar is custom-tuned to your individual needs, and prepared before shipment to be almost “plug and play” – no difficult rewiring, no specialized electricians or contractors required, and that’s part of what makes them special. It’s a solar power system that you can install on your own, and our technicians are on-call to help should you have questions.

“Turns out they can’t find anyone in our area who wants to be a certified installer.  They won’t sell to owners who want to install their own, even if overseen by an electrician…We have tried to get some of the solar electric installers locally to become certified Tesla installers, but they are leery of the Tesla track record of promising but not coming up with the product.”

– Susan Q continues to elaborate on her difficulties with the system in question. She intended to DIY with parts ordered from a number of sources, solar panels from a different manufacturer, and a Tesla PowerWall to accommodate her inverter and battery storage needs. Not only did Tesla never deliver the PowerWall, but the planned installation process was hampered by Tesla’s certification requirements and bureaucracy.

Solar is Ready Now

Tesla will begin installing solar roof tiles in the state of California starting this June. However, preorders and installation scheduling are often quite high, and it can take months or even years before the company’s production schedule ramps up enough to get to your project.

Solar power systems are available today, ready to ship to your door and install immediately. This means you can switch to clean, sustainable, renewable energy for your home without having to wait, just call and order, no hassle.

Solar Roof Tiles may be a major player in the future, but there are still more affordable, immediate ways to transition to solar power for your home or business, and we here at Wholesale Solar can help. Our reviews speak for themselves, and we have a long record of satisfied customers and successful DIY installations across the country. Check out our online solar calculator to determine the cost of your project, call for a quote, and start making a difference with solar power today!

 

2 Replies to “Buyer Beware – With Tesla’s New Solar Roofing Tiles, The Devil is in the Details”

  1. Also, while the Tesla solar tiles have an u looted warranty, they have a 30 year power warranty. So you can have pretty solar tiles up there that have lifetime warranty, but are only guaranteed to produce electricity for 30 years: which is reasonable for a solar cell, but the wording is misleading to the customer.

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