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.
Here’s the version 3.0 roof in Cupertino, California. This installation included a Tesla battery.
This home in Los Gatos, California had V2 tiles on the roof and was undergoing a complete remodel.
There were several piles of unused or scrapped tiles on the side of the home.
Here’s a version 2.0 installation in San Jose, California
Here’s another San Jose home with a version 2.0 roof.
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.
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The government should quickly build networks of hydrogen production factories, so that household solar rooftops can automatically sell electricity to networks of hydrogen production factories without batteries .(household solar plans are very cheap and lucrative if without battery purchases ). Or publicly announce tender for various corporations to build networks of regional hydrogen production factories. By that model, it is effective and quickly to collect capital of citizens as they build themself their household solar rooftops.
People are forced to buy ineffective and expensive lithium batteries for their household solar plans while network of hydrogen production factories still do not exist.
So, we need to use electric power to hydrolyzed water to make hydrogen to be used to produce power later because (pick one):
1 It’s enormous less efficient than storing power in batteries and eating power is good.
2 it would cost more than batteries and eating money is good.
The crews need more training.
I don’t think a single worker in those pictures was using a tether properly. I saw some in safety harnesses with no tether visible and some with tethers that were long enough to let them hit the ground. I didn’t see anyone with a tether short enough to stop someone’s fall before they hit the ground.
Professional? Not really. Abnormally unprofessional? Probably not. Using safety gear properly is a hassle
Gotta say… in practice it doesn’t look very good in these photos.
Is the roof slippery
No, but the marketing is!!
Very slippery but that make washing them off easy…From the Ground.
Wouldnt that be great if BIPV Roof Tile installs take off finally and Tesla with there billions got it there? We know better but they can always improve. All Tesla needs is that hang time and the money to eventually get a design that works. I dont like the design and see right through it….
What don’t you like about the design?
Oh I have a whole laundry list of things I find undesirable……Here are a few…
1. If you’re going to use glass to make your tiles, they should be sustainable and be made from recycled glass. There are mountains of it waiting for secondary use at the landfill. We actually made a traditional handmade barrel tile from recycled glass one year before Tesla made their first one and it tested to twice the break-strength of clay tile and at half the thickness. Tempered glass from Tesla cant come from recycled glass from the landfill and makes it difficult to fashion on the jobsite so you lose flexibility in the install. If the use of tempered glass was used to create a 30 year life cycle for the roof, this is a fail because 30 years is too short a life cycle for such a cost and would create a problem for sustainability via landfill issues. Glass waste is already a big problem at the landfill and PV embedded complicates this even further.
I would like to think that the vast majority of people that support Tesla do so because they wish to save our Earth. Low life-cycle roofing systems with or without PV made with non-recycled materials doesn’t get us there.
2. I don’t like the fact that the design cant be used with other manufactured tile. If you want to create scale, you should make designs that can be used by other manufacturers for scalability. That way, other manufacturers can use the technology to offer their own tile systems and we have variety. Right now, all the versions of Tesla look like they turned the whole roof into a solar panel. And I’m very concerned with the walk-ability on flat glass tile without texture on pitched roofs. This creates obvious fodder for Workmans Comp issues.
3. The many connections this system takes with all its components just to make a claimed 30 year roof does not add up just so you can not distinguish a solar tile from a non-solar one. There are many areas on a roof that are concealed from the observer on the ground that can be embedded with flexible thin film without all the expense and complexities of a Tesla Solar Roof. We do this now with Barrel Roof Tile and Flat Traditional Roof Tile. I’m not a big fan of traditional c-Si glass mounted panels using racks with roof penetrations.
4. The Tesla Tiles by themselves should be Class A without help from the underlayment system. Judging by the use of the Firestone, some BIPV guys actually use this underlayment to get past their fire testing. If you use another one afterwards, you know what comes next. Rember what happened to Suntech c-Si integrated roof modules? The Peel and Stick asphalt underlayment being used in the photo you provided appears to be applied direct deck. There are two problems here: Asphaltic underlayments are unsustainable and they have short life spans. Direct deck application doesn’t guarantee full adhesion and could compromise longevity. A better job would be with minimum two ply or multiple ply of synthetic felt. I understand they are now experimenting with Sharkskin Ultra Underlayments from Simi Valley , California. If this is true, they are on the right track. But your photos show otherwise. The underlayment is the best way to get longevity. SharkSkin Ultra has a 50 year limited manufacturer warranty and is perfect for hurricanes, earthquakes , blistering heat and freezing cold. It does not appear that Tesla takes too seriously what they use as an underlayment and has no testing including the underlayment in their system at this time.
5. Tesla appears much concerned with only integrating PV at the moment. The better value would be to lower overall costs by adding solar thermal for domestic hot water heating and for pool heating by the use of PexTubing over the underlayment and underneath the tiles. A 1kW area plus tubing to harvest heat energy equals approximately 3.5 kW in total solar output for the same area covered. This makes total sense for Tesla…With all that money, they should be integrating more than one technology to increase the sustainability of their unsustainable glass tile design. We at ArteZanos have been integrating solar thermal, pool heating and thin film PV all in the same envelope since 2010.
6. The use of foam adhesive tile installations actually eliminates penetrations and help create a hurricane resistant and seismic resistant roof. FEMA actually recommends this in coastal hurricane prone areas. The longevity of a system is lengthened by minimizing penetrations. The use of a one part Storm Bond foam by DAP is what everyone should be looking at. Its the best and has been tested with use for SharkSkin underlayments. Tesla seems to be using only mechanical fastened systems that create penetrations to the waterproofing underlayment.
Thanks for this response Dan. Appreciated.
What is the proper name of the DAP Storm Bond Foam? I can’t find it on their website. Thanks
36 Tamboura Avenue baulkhamhills
Tesla has a long way to go. As far as their underlayment system, if its asphalt based it will not last 75 years. Here in Miami Dade the “FireStone” product only has a 30 day exposure to UV. They use this product out of necessity because that’s how they maintain their Class A Fire Rating. Tesla cant arbitrarily change their underlayment to a far superior one unless they redo their UL Fire Testing with the entire assembly as it should be installed in the field. Your input is misleading because FireStone aslso makes products for flat industrial and commercial roofs. You lead one to think that its the same material and it is far from it. On the other hand, this road has been trodden before…… ArteZanos Inc has a Hybrid System that integrates any natural clay or concrete tile with solar PV, soar thermal for domestic hot water and pool heating as well as roof top vegetation. The system uses underlayments that have a lifetime warranty over 50 years and the system has been Miami Dade Approved and Class A Fire Rated since 2008. Its also easier to install than Tesla….
Does anyone have the electrical specifications of these roofing tiles?
I don’t think anybody does but if the words of the homeowner are to the believed, he said that it furnishes 10 kW+ as far as his roof is concerned, so you get the idea.
For residential systems, I still don’t believe that the solar roof/tile stuff is as cost effective as the regular framed solar modules. The picture makes it look like sort of amorphous technology, but it’s hard to tell (and if so, it would be considerably less efficient than mono or multi-crystalline technologies). I would still like to know the cost, or at least how much a square meter costs (and makes in terms of watt-hours).
Our grid-tied installation costs tend to run about $2.75 to $3.25/watt, depending on site and component specifics.
How do I contact Tesla Administration about becoming a supplier/installer of their solar roofs and of becoming a partner in the EV Charging Market?
John Rector where are your operations based out of?
I will be building a house in Lane County Oregon, How do I go about getting a Tesla solar roof , and someone who has the know how to install it ? Blessings..
Lori, see Daniel Arguelles six points above. I can see NO way to monitor these panels once installed. Say a 20 tile panel was snapped together with the panels installed above it and so on. If one tile in a panel string goes bad, how do you isolate it, troubleshoot it and finally replace the bad tile section? Right now the ‘typical’ solar PV installation is panels mounted on racking attached to the roof. The most common panel systems today have either a converter for each panel or a micro-inverter for each panel. The importance of this is each converter or micro-inverter has an address. One can map their entire solar PV array and with a gateway, monitor from the internet which panel or converter, micro-inverter is failing to produce power. Easy to isolate, troubleshoot for repair. A solar PV system is an (energy generation) appliance one can install to use in their homes. Just like washers/dryers, hot water heaters, air conditioning units, ovens, microwaves, they all will need repair, replacement sooner or later. Also nailing down the solar PV tiles does not allow the air flow rack mounted solar PV panels underneath that helps in the solar cell PTC rating. On solar tiles you might not be getting the generation output you were told you’d get, just due to the PTC.
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is installing solar PV on an old roof that is ready for replacement. They cheap out, don’t replace the roof and then find leaks later on that requires the (removal) of the solar PV panels, replacement of the roof and re-installation of the solar PV panels.
Safety 30%. I can only see reflecter and safety boat
Working experience 98%
Small peace of advice
Safety is a priority to every engineer at site
So please be mindful to wear protective cloths eg helmet, googles,groves etc.
I really appreciate your work.
By the way am electrician also work in a solar company in Ghana a field technician
I really like to aquire more knowledge
any vacancy for me would be appreciated.
San Ramon, CA – Our roof just finished yesterday.
Eric Neumann — looks beautiful.
I like the look. Can you tell us more about cost per square (10 x 10) etc. Did you get PowerWalls and if so , what was teh cost of each one for product and installation (labor).
No chance of working in
Australia. Too expensive and not licenced solar installers can install. It’s hard enough getting roof tilers to do this hard work let alone Electrician’s
Sorry I meant only solar electricians can install
The design is very pedestrian. Tesla needs to hire some creative steam punk people to liven the panels up so they look special, yet appealing.
thank you for sharing this video. we are building a new house and we are considering a complete Tesla roof. its a rather large house and my contractor is not that familair with them and he said that he thinks it may be too shiny and may not look too appealing die to its shininess Do you have any comments regarding that? we are in alos Angeles, do you have a referral for consultation with them
My brother’s Tesla roof install was a complete nightmare and the worst problem was no one answered phones or emails. He just couldn’t get a live person! In addition, what was supposed to take just a few weeks took several months. Each crew was different, supplies didn’t show up, and there was no one who was ultimately responsible so people only cared about their portion, not the success of the entire install. These are the notes he sent me, his house is in San Ramon, CA. We are thinking about getting one because PG&E burned down our house in Paradise and I want to vomit every time I see their ridiculous bills, but I do fear the hassle of having to yell at people for months because the roof is installed but no one connected it! And what if it leaks and still no one answers the phone!! I hope this helps people, I also saw an article about a similar experience to my brother’s on what was to be Tesla’s largest residential install in FL.
I offered to cover driveway with plywood that I had on hand on initial call from demo crew. Was told it was not necessary and the they would cover.
2 small strips of particle board were placed under dumpster wheels only. Subsequently the color stamped driveway was gouged on delivery and haul away.
All work and staging of tools and spilled drinks etc stained and scratched driveway.
Throwing asphalt shingles off the roof and hitting the color mixed stucco stained the body of the house and did not come off with cleaning/pressure washing.
My neighbor’s pool plaster was stained permanently by rusty staples that made it into his pool during demo
2. Install of panels
Crew staged pallets of panels on driveway and Once again scratched the finish off.
Excess 7 pallets of panels were left in my driveway for 2 weeks until I finally got them picked up. Employee was one guy with a pallet jack who didn’t bother to clean up any of the garbage and screws and plastic banding that was under pallets.
3. Gutter install
Installers showed up at 3pm to install (dark by 5). After being told while measuring not to stand on top of my batting cage my neighbor sent me a picture of installer unsafely standing on top of my batting cage (thank god he didn’t fall). I had to repair the bent cage supports.
Gutter in the front of the house had a large dent in it
Downspouts had 2 straps on a 2 story run and did not use existing holes leaving wall anchors and holes exposed and downspouts unsecured.
4. Electric hook up.
Initial site visit for location of equipment was agreed upon prior to install
When electricians showed up for install initial location wasn’t able to fit Equipment and emergency shutoff had to be in front of house. Appointment was cancelled and a new agreed upon location for shutoff was relayed to homeowners.
Electricians showed up again for install. I was informed that the shutoff HAD TO BE right in to front of my house facing the street by code.
3 separate visits 3 different answers…I would NOT have installed solar if I knew shutoff had to be on the front of house.
Every step had a significant issue, all the damage could have been easily avoided and a qualified electrician on initial visit would have solved issue with expectations.
Fortunatly, you do not have to pay the second 50% instalment if the Tesla Solar roof does not pass the City inspection. They will keep comming back to get that inspection” PASS” to get paid. The Tesla Solar Glass Roof is both metal and tempered glass panels. The Solar energy generating panels are laminated tempered glass so they do not fly apart when broken like the tempered glass non solar tiles. Tesla is re-inventing roofing and it will take some time and re-designs to get there. Training on this new roofing system takes time and every crew has trainees that also take special classes on their new system. I know Tesla is losing money on the Solar Glass Roofs it is installing today because of training, upgrades and modifications. The goal is to get a final, quick installing system that will beat every other roof with solar system and are they are getting things better.
My Tesla Glass Roof is just now finishing up and it looks great. The roof itself could last 75 years or more with it’s upgraded material over “asphault with tar pape”r and the solar portion is guarenteed for 25 years period. Not just 5 years warrenty and 25 years 80% power garrenatee and the tiles are designed to be individually replaced and the electronic moduals under the tiles can be replaced by just lifting the tile from it’s pop in bracket. The underlayment is rubber based 1/8 inch thick fabric topped self adhisive and is like a tubless tire self sealing material is also guarenteed not to leak and it alone is the roofing material used on commercial flat roof buildings. Also, it is no longer Firestone Branded, but says Tesla on it and is not as slippery as Firestone underlayment. so it is like getting two roofs plus solar for $10,000.00 less than asphault and traditional solar panels. All the other posts here have shown the earlyer problems and many of them have been address as of 10-17-2020 and next in the works is colors other than black. Being in construction myself, I see the amount of work going into these new roofs and it is more than the low price reflects or what could be maintained at the current low prices it is being offered to Tesla’s starting customers. Over time, other companies will build and install true solar roofs but I got the original.
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