Tesla Solar Roof Cost Versus Solar Panels and a New Roof (plus free calculator)


cost comparison Tesla solar roof versus solar panels

Solar quotes were received and my new Tesla Solar Roof has been installed, but who was cheaper? Here is a full cost breakdown of a Tesla solar roof versus a traditional asphalt shingle roof with solar panels.

In my example, a Tesla Solar Roof costs $1,688 more than a new asphalt shingle roof with solar panels installed. The traditional shingle roof was far less in cost than Tesla’s glass tiles but the photovoltaic solar tiles were $2/watt compared to $3/watt for traditional solar panels. 

Sure I paid more, but the Tesla Solar Roof was worth the money.

The Tesla Solar Roof price was competitive due to the 10 percent discount and free Powerwall+ battery that I received with my quoted price. Let me break down the numbers for you to decide what is best for you.

Cost Comparison Download: Tesla Solar Roof vs Traditional Roof and Solar Panel 

Comparing a quote from Tesla to a local solar panel installer and the local roofing company can get confusing. Quotes are not standardized, making an apples-to-apples comparison similar to finding a unicorn. 

I did my best to create a cost comparison template to help you compare your bids. As you are serious about making the right financial decision for your home, I hope this cost comparison spreadsheet helps. 

Download the Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panel Spreadsheet here:

You can watch my video on comparing the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof versus solar panels below to walk you through how to use the spreadsheet.

The white cells are where you input the numbers from the quotes. The red cells are formulas. You may have to modify the formulas to ensure the summations include the correct cells. My quotes were missing details so always double-check the formulas.

Cost Comparison of Tesla Solar Roof vs Traditional Asphalt Shingle Roof

Exploring a Tesla Solar Roof made sense for the house I purchased. My roof was in serious need of replacement. As the previous owner of 30-years did not know the age of the roof and they never replaced it, we assume the roof was original from 1978. The home is in a mild California climate so this assumption is reasonable. 

The shingles were curling up and some of the flashings were leaking. Therefore, we were in the market for a new roof. 

I contacted three local roofing companies and received two bids for a new roof. The bids, by chance, recommended the same brand and type of shingles. The quotes were $12,720 and $13,850, for my 2,674 square foot roof. No further cost breakdown was provided in my quotes, like labor or materials. 

Tesla breaks out labor and material for the tiles, the non-photo voltaic tiles. As you can see in the table below, Tesla’s roofing cost was far greater than the traditional roofing material.

tesla solar roof cost comparison table with asphalt composition shingle roof quotes
Table from the cost comparison calculator download comparing quotes from traditional roofers with Tesla Solar Roof.

On a cost per square foot basis, Tesla was $14 per square foot compared to around $5 a square foot for an asphalt composition roof. These are California roofing prices so check with your local roofing companies on cost. 

Now onto the most important comparison, or the most interesting, Tesla Solar Roof versus traditional solar panels. 

Cost Comparison of Tesla Solar Roof Versus Solar Panels

I went out to bid to two solar panel installers in my area. Only one ended up providing a cost estimate. 

The big difference between the Tesla Solar Roof bid and the local solar panel installer bid is that the two companies bid on different solar system sizes. Tesla provided a bid for the system size I needed, while the solar panel installer bid on the maximum solar array my roof could hold. 

Panels could always be deleted if I requested less solar, was their reason

Solar System Size Difference for Cost Comparison

Tesla Solar Roof system size was 6.607 kW. The solar panel installer system size was 11.385 kW. 

On a cost-per-wattage basis, Tesla was quoting $2 per watt compared to $3 per watt for the solar panel installer. 

As with the local roofers, the solar panel installer did not provide a line item quote. They provided one price for the installation. Materials, labor, and taxes were not included.

For an accurate comparison, I normalized the quotes to be on the same solar system size basis of 6.607 kW. 

When I reduce the size of the solar panel installer’s system to 6.607 kW at $3 per watt, the total cost comes out to be $19,578. 

When I add in the lowest bid from the roofing company, the total for a new asphalt composition roof with solar panels is $32,298. 

Therefore, before applying for the federal tax credit and promotions from Tesla the cost comparison between a Tesla Solar Roof is $52,164 versus $32,298 for composition roof and solar panels.

A difference of $19,865 for a Tesla Solar Roof versus solar panels and a roof. But that doesn’t include the federal tax credit or promotions I received from Tesla. 

Cost comparison table of Tesla Solar Roof quote to the traditional solar panel installer’s quote.

Cost Difference After Tesla Promotions and Federal Tax Credit

Let’s throw in some promotions from Tesla. These were promotions I received once I submitted my deposit. These may not be available for your Tesla Solar Roof but I have ways to save money on your roof below.

First, Tesla included a free Powerwall+ battery. That was a $10,500 savings at the time. All installation costs and equipment were included, such as the gateway and monitoring system. The Powerwall+ includes the inverter.

The Tesla Powerwall+ was installed at my home, for free from the Tesla promotion.

Another promotion at the time was they would maximize my solar system based on the size of my roof. While they were quoting me for a 6.607 kW system, the promotion would increase the number of photovoltaic tiles to the maximum amount that could fit on my roof. This was good for me as I had room to grow.

They then quantified the promotion by saying they would increase the number of solar tiles by 10 percent of my quote or give me $2,000 back.

The local solar panel installer was not providing any discounts or rebates. On the other hand, they were saying prices would increase during my quoting process due to inflation. And they did increase the price on me once. 

The biggest cost savings was the 26 percent federal tax credit. This applied to both Tesla Solar Roof and the solar panels. The full solar panel quote was reduced by 26 percent. As Tesla provides a roof and solar, their contract specified the amount that was eligible for the tax credit. 

Surprisingly, it was an amount greater than the cost of the solar tiles which made the tax credit $8,269 from Tesla.

The tax credit may be different based on the individual so the big asterisk is to speak to your tax professional. You will receive the tax credit when you file your tax returns. 

Tesla also submitted the paperwork to my local electric company for a rebate. I received a $400 rebate on my Tesla Solar Roof thanks to my local electric company. Check your electric company for rebates for going solar.

With the promotions and tax credit, the final cost for the Tesla Solar Roof was $28,896. That made the Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwall cost $1,688 more than an asphalt composite roof and solar panels. 

That extra $1,688 was worth it for me to have a more aesthetically pleasing design and a backup battery system.

Ways to Save Money on a Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla offers promotions for their Tesla Solar Roof. I received 10 percent off my roof or additional solar tiles free of charge and a free Powerwall. A referral code can also save you $500 on your solar roof or $300 off on solar panels. 

Did procrastinating help me get the promotions? Or was I lucky on the timing? 

I submitted my $100 deposit (the deposit is now $250) in January of 2021. But due to the remodel and plans to upgrade my electrical panel, I didn’t submit the initial design documents Tesla requested to move forward with the design. 

Tesla would send me emails monthly to entice me to complete the project. The emails also requested me to email them back if I was still interested in proceeding.

In early June I submitted the design documents. Over those 5-months, they had promotions for a free Powerwall and 10 percent off or more solar tiles. 

Tesla isn’t like those e-commerce stores that when you leave your shopping cart, they try to entice you back with coupons. I’m sure I got lucky with those promotions but I also didn’t see them advertised or make the news as most Tesla things do. 

Perhaps putting the deposit down and then waiting a few months will save you money on your Tesla Solar Roof.

Another way to save money is to check your local electrical company and state for solar installation tax credits or rebates. Tesla submitted the paperwork for mine, but do your own research to find potential savings. 

Save $500 on a Tesla Solar Roof

The easiest way to save $500 on a Tesla Solar Roof is to use my referral code. Click my referral code here to put down your $250 deposit, you will receive $500 off your Tesla Solar Roof.

Receive a free Tesla Solar Roof quote here and receive $500 off your Tesla Solar Roof.

How Accurate is Tesla’s Solar Roof Cost Estimator?

What makes the Tesla Solar Roof bidding process so convenient is the instant price estimate from their website. When you go to the Tesla Solar Roof website you can get an instant quote by inputting your address and average electricity bill amount. Out pops a detailed quote. 

For my project, the initial quote stayed the same throughout the project. 

Tesla uses satellite imaging to determine the complexity and size of your roof. They use the local electricity rates for your zip code to calculate the size of the solar system. 

A Tesla Site Inspector will visit your home to take accurate measurements when they are preparing for the install. 

I was impressed with this level of accurate quoting. Or, they lost money on my project. Either way, the quoting process was simple and transparent for my project.

Tesla does specify the solar roof cost may change if the roof is deemed to be more complex than they first recognize. Based on the satellite imaging, they apply a roof complexity factor to your quote. This complexity factor reflects a roof with more gables, valleys, and other roof shapes to work around.

See the print on their website, it is part of the quote and they don’t hide the reasons why the cost may change. 

Tips for Cost Comparison of Tesla Solar Roof to Solar Panels

My cost estimate comparing Tesla Solar Roof to traditional roof-mounted panels was overly complicated as I was changing my system size during the quoting process.

We had just purchased my home and were not living there as it was undergoing a large remodel. The previous owner lived there alone and hadn’t occupied the home for nine months prior to the sale. Plus, I was electrifying my house so the electrical load was going to increase.

Therefore, I couldn’t rely on past electricity usage to determine my system size. I had an energy audit completed estimating my peak load. We used this to design my solar roof. 

Before you start the process of getting accurate quotes, know the size of your solar system. This will make it easier to compare prices.

Cost is only one factor for deciding to go with a Tesla Solar Roof or traditional roof-mounted solar panels. Make sure you read the reviews, see how the customer service is during the bidding process, and study the warranties. 

See my video below on the 7 Reasons Why I Decided to Get a Tesla Solar Roof for the reasons I went with Tesla. 

7 Reasons Why I Decided to Get a Tesla Solar Roof

Overall, the bidding process with Tesla was smooth and transparent. When you submit your deposit, you will be assigned a Tesla Project Advisor. Your Project Advisor will share their email address and phone number. 

I found text messaging them was the fastest way to get an update. 

I have no regrets on purchasing my Tesla Solar Roof. I am looking forward to seeing how efficiently the roof performs and reduced electrical bills once I connect to the grid. 

Receive a free Tesla Solar Roof quote here and receive $500 off your Tesla Solar Roof.

Jordan Fromholz

I'm an electric car owner, enthusiast, and founder of the Plugin Report. As a Chemical Engineer with over 14-years in the energy industry, I've made my passions be renewable energy, batteries, and electric cars. My family lives on Maui where we drive our 2017 Nissan Leaf and share everything there is to know about electric cars.

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