The Truth About Tesla’s Solar Roof Math

Can you really install a solar roof on your home that would cost about as much, or even less, than a regular roof? That's a good question. Before we tell you the straight answer to the question, let's look at Tesla's cost comparison.

"When you include the benefits of the solar production, Solar Roof will cost less than a regular roof. In fact, it may earn you money – as an example, the out-of-pocket cost of a Solar Roof for a typical home in Maryland will be around $52,000, but after considering the tax credit and the value of energy it generates, the roof will actually pay for itself and earn you about $8,000 over 30 years."

Tesla’s online cost calculator uses your address to determine the ratio of solar to non-solar tiles your house would need to get 100 percent of your energy from solar. The calculator deducts the upfront cost of the roof and the Powerwall battery from the cost of what you’d otherwise spend on energy over 30 years. That estimate is based on the price of electricity where you live, assuming a 2 percent increase in your utility bill each year. Tesla uses a simplified interface to Google’s Project Sunroof, which can be found here.

Tesla’s calculator factors in a 30 percent Solar Investment Tax Credit, but not the incentives and credits that are available from various states and local utilities. It's a long stretch to say that Tesla's solar roofs are as cheap, or cheaper, than a "normal" roof. The math has never been correct and now here is the truth.

The very best and most expensive asphalt shingle installed will cost $5-$6 per square foot. Life span for this type of roof would be 30 plus years. The Tesla products are saying the cost of the roofing material at $21.00 per square foot. This does not include the labor or the hardware. Solar has its place but as a replacement for asphalt roofing, it's not a fair comparison and by no means cheaper.