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Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles – Are They Worth The Large Price Tag?

By Kristy Hoare on in Solar Technology

Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles – Are They Worth The Large Price Tag?

In 2016 Elon Musk proclaimed to the world that Tesla would be manufacturing Solar Roof Tiles. Fast forward to 2021, and several versions later, momentum for installing Tesla roof tiles in the United States is slowly on the uptake.

Although the Tesla Solar Roof Tiles aren’t available in New Zealand just yet, they could be here soon with the recent announcement of Australia receiving its first Tesla Solar Roof this July (2021).

Now is a great time to consider whether it’s worth waiting out for the Tesla roof tiles, or sticking with conventional solar panels.

Telsa Solar Roof Tiles Pricing In New Zealand

The price of a Tesla solar roof could put a lot of people off, and likely unattainable for many; the average consumer would be looking at 3 times the price of a standard roof with conventional solar panels for a Tesla solar roof. 

We’ve come up with an estimated price from a US-based article (currently there are no recommended prices for New Zealand).  This price estimate also factors in Tesla’s recent price hike for the product (that came into effect at the start of April 2021).

The article from Electrek summarised that for a 367m2 roof, with a 12.3kW solar tile roof, the cost would be between $79,938 and $100,621 US dollars, so that’s $113,894 to $143,363 in New Zealand dollars.

Just to compare: A standard steel roof replacement in NZ is said to cost $56 per meter square (according to Refresh), so roughly $20,0000.  A 12kW system would cost roughly $25,000.  Going with Tesla's Solar Tiles will be a huge price leap from a standard roof and solar.

But for those who can afford the opportunity to have an amazing looking roof, while being an early adopter of solar roof tiles, it could be well worth the investment.

The Extra Cost Of A Tesla Solar Roof; Is It Worth It?

Using our predicted price for solar tiles in New Zealand, it’s more than likely that they won’t be paying for themselves anytime soon.  But what about solar roof tiles other attributes?

  • Beautiful? Yes!  Tesla has done an amazing job of integrating solar with roofing material, the examples of complete installs so far are seamless. Arguably better looking than most new roofs being installed in New Zealand.
  • 3x stronger than standard roofing tiles and built for all-weather protection
  • All components of the solar power system can be Tesla-branded, including the solar tiles, solar inverter, app and battery storage, leading to a seamless connection.

How Do The Solar Roof Specs Stack Up?

Solar Tile Warranty

The Solar Roof Tile has a 25-year warranty, which is good compared to typical roofing warranties of 15-30 years.

Power Warranty

A 25-year power warranty for the roof tiles is an exact match of the solar power industries standard for a conventional solar panel.

Inverter Warranty

The 12.5-year inverter warranty with the solar roof is fairly reasonable, as solar industry standards sit around 5 to 10 years.

Does The 3rd Version Of The Tesla Solar Tiles Finally Make Solar Tiles Worth While?

Version 3 of the Tesla Solar Roof was announced in October 2019, and came with some well-needed improvements:

  • Design modifications to speed up the time to install
  • Increased the energy density
  • Improved manufacturability
  • Reduced cost to manufacture
  • Reduced the customisation options
  • Reduced the need for special tools
  • Fittings are now more streamlined with the solar tiles

Normally these types of improvements would reduce the cost for the end-user, but the Tesla corporation has done the opposite, as seen in the April price update. 

2021 Tesla Solar Tiles Massive Price Increase

Tesla Solar Tiles price increase; there have been reports of a 114% increase in the price compared to a quoted price just a few months earlier.

Surprising? Perhaps, but the price increase is not out of character for the Tesla company, where Elon Musk tends to announce new cars and products at the same time declaring a ‘wow’ affordable price. 

For example, when the first Tesla Powerwall was announced, we converted the suggested retail price from USD into NZD and figured it should cost New Zealanders around $8,000 NZD.  The current model is a far cry from that figure, costing between $15,000 and $20,000.

How streamlined is the installation of the Tesla Solar Roof Tiles?

The time lapse of the Tesla Solar Roof installation is worth a watch to understand the complexity of installing Tesla Roof Tiles. 

The time lapse of the install period in the clip is over four days, a large crew can be seen working really hard to get the PV and glass tiles with flashings installed.  It perhaps demonstrates the complexities of the Tesla Roofs installation, making the cost seem reasonable and worthwhile.

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