What are the pros and cons of solar roof tiles?

Published on December 18, 2018 by Andrew Sendy

Last updated on April 08, 2019

5 minutes read

Categories: Solar 101, Solar efficiency, Solar energy, Solar panels, Solar power, Tesla


What are the pros and cons of solar roof tiles?

Image source: Solar roof tile images courtesy of Tesla

In recent years the combination of physical aesthetics and solar energy has created a unique market for solar roof shingles. Products by Tesla, CertainTeed, and SunTegra provide a nice looking roof that also powers your home.

How much do solar roof shingles cost?

The cost of your solar roof will depend on your electric usage, how much of your utility bill you wish to offset and the brand you decide to purchase from.

Brand

Cost per sq ft

Cost per Watt

Cost of 3,000 sq ft roof

Availability

Tesla Solar Roof

$22 - $26

$7.85 - $9.00

$66,000 - $78,000

USA

SunTegra solar shingle

$10.35 - $11.60

$3.80 - $4.25

$31,050 - $34,800

USA

SunTegra solar tile

$16.80 - $17.75

$6.16 - $6.51

$50,400 - $53,250

USA

CertainTeed Apollo II shingle

$11.45 - $13.10

$4.20 - $4.80

$31,487 - $36,025

USA

CertainTeed Apollo II tile

$17.40 - $18.25

$6.38 - $6.69

$47,850 - $50,187

USA

Tesla solar roof pros and cons

The Tesla solar roof is by far the most aesthetically pleasing option but also the most expensive. According to Tesla’s calculator, for a $200 per month electric bill and an average sized 3,000 sq. ft. roof, it would cost $60,900 for a roof with only 30% of the tiles producing electricity. This system would produce $105,600 worth of power over 30 years and take 15 years for you to break even on your investment.

If you opted for a system with 50% solar producing tiles it’d cost $79,500 and take 12.5 years to pay for itself even after the 30% federal solar tax credit. The truth is Tesla’s solar roof just isn’t financially viable for most people especially when in many parts of the country solar systems only take 5 years to pay for themselves. Regular solar systems, however, don’t also function as a roof.

Even if you added the cost of a roof and the cost of a standard 6kW solar system together, it’d still be at least $16,299 cheaper than the Tesla solar roof. The only real thing going in Tesla's favor with this product is that they look amazing and perform two functions.

SunTegra solar roof pros and cons

SunTegra provides much cheaper options than Tesla with their solar roof shingles and tiles. SunTegra’s solar shingles have an output of 100 watts and their tiles have an output of 67 watts. A drawback is that SunTegra’s products have to be installed on an existing roof, although they can function as a roof for the area that they cover.

The cheaper shingles only cost about $4 per watt meaning a conventional 6kW system would cost $24,000 and $19,200 after the federal ITC. Sadly the cheaper price tag means you don’t get the same great appearance as the Tesla solar roof.

CertainTeed Apollo II pros and cons

CertainTeed’s high efficiencies - 15.4% for shingles and 16% for tiles - match almost that of conventional solar panels. Like the SunTegra range, Apollo’s products require an existing roof to be installed on, and can also function as a roof. Their cost is almost identical to SunTegra and a 6kW system after the federal ITC should cost around $19,200 assuming their shingles were used. If you were to purchase the tiles instead, it would cost roughly $27,300.

 

How much would solar panels cost for your home?

 

 

 

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Author: Andrew Sendy Andrew Sendy LinkedIn

As chairman of Solar Investments Inc and chairman of the largest solar panel installation company in South Australia, Andy is passionate about solar power. With his unique working background he writes on the residential solar industry in America from a unique perspective.