More Tesla solar roof tile installations in the wild, a photo gallery update


More than three years after its introduction, and after having received deposits from interested homeowners, Tesla has connected just a handful of solar-integrated roofs to the grid.

pv magazine has been chasing down these installations, speaking to the homeowners, and taking photos. This is an update of an earlier photo gallery.

Maybe 2020 is the year

Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk dubbed 2019 “the year of the solar roof,” its long-promised building-integrated photovoltaic product.

It turned out that 2019 was not the year of the solar roof.

Late last year, Musk introduced version 3.0 of the solar roof tile and, with characteristic optimism, claimed that the company would ramp production to 1,000 roofs per week by December of 2019. In a conference call, Musk said:

  • The solar roof version 3.0 with larger tiles is ready for mass deployment.
  • The tiles now look the same from any angle — using new cell technology and new materials.
  • Musk said the goal is to install the roof in a single visit.
  • Tesla intends to open up the product to roofing contractors.
  • He said, “The solar roof does not make financial sense for someone with a relatively new roof.”

Musk said that the goal was to install the solar roof as quickly as traditional composition shingles — with a target of eight hours. This requires a streamlined process of getting parts to the field along with assembly equipment to allow customization for flashing, edges and trim in the field.

Early-stage solar roof tile installs

This installation in San Carlos, California is four days into the process. The old roof material has been removed, Firestone Clad-Gard SA-FR underlayment has been installed.

About half the tiles have been laid on this relatively simple roof. There was a crew of five to seven people, including a separate crew for the Power Wall battery install. Three trucks were on-site at times.

The owner lauded the professional nature of the crew and expected about seven more days of work until the job is complete. The homeowners are documenting the install, which includes battery storage, here.

This installation, also in San Carlos, California is two or three days in, and had a crew of six men when I was there. Again, it’s a relatively simple roof.

Completed installations in the wild

Twitter user Austin Flack provided a video of his solar roof tile installation that includes the economics of the roof tile along with a bonus drone crash.

He told pv magazine that the “install went fairly smoothly. Took 7 days, they originally estimated 5.” He said, “Everyone was very professional. Worked with me to get stuff right: like placing the inverter in a more appealing location. So far, we’re very satisfied, but obviously very much looking forward to turning the system on.”

Prepping for Austin Flack’s version 3 install.

Josh Pomilio, a Tesla solar glass crew lead, put up these version 3 installation photos on Instagram (since removed) taken of a home in San Jose. This installation included two Tesla battery units and three inverters, according to the home owners.

Same version 3 install from Josh Pomilio
The installation is more than 10 kw, according to the homeowners.
photo by author
Nikola’s Stache (@BSA19741), posted photos on Twitter of a version 3 install on a home in Claremont, California. Nikola’s Stache claims that the installation took a team of 11 installers 11 days in late November.

Here’s the version 3.0 roof in Cupertino, California. This installation included a Tesla battery.

photo by author

photo by Eric Wesoff

This home in Los Gatos, California had V2 tiles on the roof and was undergoing a complete remodel.

photo by author

There were several piles of unused or scrapped tiles on the side of the home.

photo by author

Here’s a version 2.0 installation in San Jose, California

photo by author

Here’s another San Jose home with a version 2.0 roof.

photo by author

Here’s a roof that’s seen better days on a home in San Jose, California. According to Nikola’s Stache, these homeowners have pulled a permit for the version 3.0 roof.

photo by author
Thanks to Nikola’s Stache for providing a spreadsheet of known solar roof installs. 

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