Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels: Which is Worth It?

Undecided with Matt Ferrell
19 Mar 202416:46

Summary

TLDRIn this video, Matt Ferrell explores the reasons behind the limited adoption of Tesla Solar Roofs despite their potential, comparing his own solar panel system with Paul Braren's Solar Roof setup. Factors such as cost, aesthetics, product lifespan concerns, and installation availability are discussed. Paul's Solar Roof and Powerwalls cost $153,000, while Matt's system will total around $88,000 including his roof. Both setups aim to achieve net zero energy consumption, tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

Takeaways

  • 🌞 Matt Ferrell and Paul Braren both installed solar energy systems in their homes, but chose different approaches: Matt with standard solar panels and Paul with a Tesla Solar Roof.
  • 🏠 Paul's Tesla Solar Roof, including 4 Powerwalls, 3 Inverters, and a Backup Gateway, cost $153,000 before incentives, while Matt's system will cost $88,000 including his metal roof.
  • 💡 Paul's home has a complicated roofline that made the Tesla Solar Roof a more aesthetically pleasing and efficient choice, covering 83% of the roof compared to 60% with standard panels.
  • 🚀 Tesla's solar shingles have an estimated efficiency of 14-18%, lower than typical solar panels which range from 22-23%.
  • 🔄 Paul's system has a 27.6kW capacity, significantly larger than Matt's 17.2kW, and includes more battery storage, affecting the overall cost.
  • 🛠️ Both Matt and Paul faced challenges with permitting and installation, highlighting the importance of patience when dealing with solar projects.
  • 💼 Matt's concern about the product lifespan of solar shingles and Tesla's commitment to supporting older versions influenced his decision against the Solar Roof.
  • 🏡 Matt preferred a modular solar approach and a durable metal roof that can be easily maintained and replaced over time.
  • 🔄 The high cost and limited availability of Tesla Solar Roof installers are factors contributing to its slower adoption rate.
  • 🔄 The decision to install solar is a personal one and should be based on individual goals, needs, and preferences.

Q & A

  • Why did Paul choose a Tesla Solar Roof over traditional solar panels?

    -Paul chose a Tesla Solar Roof because his house has a complex roofline with many angles, which would have resulted in only about 60% coverage with traditional solar panels. The Solar Roof allowed for 83% coverage and better aesthetics, especially since his house faces the sun for much of the summer and is visible from the road.

  • What is the estimated solar efficiency of Tesla's solar tiles compared to traditional solar panels?

    -The estimated solar efficiency of Tesla's solar tiles is between 14-18%, compared to a typical solar panel efficiency of around 22-23%.

  • What were Matt's concerns about the Tesla Solar Roof in terms of product lifespan?

    -Matt was concerned about how quickly Tesla would iterate the product and how long they would continue to manufacture and support older versions of the solar shingles for early customers needing replacements in the future.

  • What type of solar panel system does Matt have installed on his home?

    -Matt has a 17.2 kW solar panel array made up of 43 REC400 solar panels, using Enphase microinverters, 2 Span Panels, and plans to add 4 Enphase IQ 5P batteries.

  • How much did Paul's Tesla Solar Roof and additional solar equipment cost?

    -Paul's Tesla Solar Roof and four Powerwalls cost $153,000, not including incentives. The Solar Roof itself was $110,000, the Powerwalls were $32,000, and there was an additional $11,000 for re-roofing.

  • What was the total cost for Matt's solar panel system and roof?

    -Matt's entire solar system, including the solar panels and batteries, will cost $88,000. His roof cost between $40,000 to $50,000, making the total system cost, including the roof, approximately $15,000 to $20,000 less than Paul's system.

  • How does the cost per watt compare between Paul's and Matt's solar systems?

    -Paul's system cost about $4.00 per watt, while Matt's cost about $3.22 per watt, considering the metal roof as a premium product comparable to the Solar Roof.

  • What factors might be limiting the widespread adoption of Tesla Solar Roofs?

    -Two main factors are limiting the adoption of Tesla Solar Roofs: cost, as they are premium products that are not cheap, and availability, as Tesla is still working to meet demand with experienced installers.

  • What was the issue with the production numbers on the Tesla app that Paul and Marques Brownlee experienced?

    -There was a software bug that doubled the solar production numbers in the Tesla app. Paul reported this issue to Tesla, and it was fixed shortly after.

  • What advice does Matt give to those considering solar for their home?

    -Matt advises that the decision to get solar is a very personal one and that understanding one's goals upfront can help in making the right choice. He created the 'Achieve Energy Security with Solar Guide' to assist people through the process.

  • How has Matt's solar panel system performed in terms of energy production during the winter months in New England?

    -During the winter months in New England, Matt's solar panel system has still been able to produce about half of the energy he uses.

  • What are the main differences between Paul's and Matt's solar setups?

    -Paul's setup is larger, with a 27.6kW solar array and more battery storage, fitting his needs for aesthetics, an all-in-one solution, and covering his electricity needs for two electric vehicles and an air source HVAC heat pump. Matt's setup is more modular, designed for future evolution, and includes a metal roof for durability and longevity, suitable for his current needs and more efficient HVAC and hot water setup.

Outlines

00:00

🌞 Introduction to Solar Roofs and Personal Choices

The speaker begins by referencing Marques Brownlee's video about his Tesla Solar Roof and ponders why there aren't more Solar Roofs in use. The speaker then shares personal experiences, noting the lack of Solar Roofs in their neighborhood compared to traditional solar panels. The decision not to install a Solar Roof on the speaker's new house is discussed, and the speaker introduces a comparison with a friend's house that does have a Tesla Solar Roof. The video aims to explore the reasons behind the choices made, the costs involved, and initial thoughts on the two different solar setups.

05:05

🏠 Reasons Behind Choosing Solar Options

The speaker delves into the reasons behind choosing different solar options. Paul, the friend with a Tesla Solar Roof, explains that his complex roof design would only allow for 60% coverage with traditional solar panels, leading him to opt for the Solar Roof for better coverage and aesthetics. The speaker, on the other hand, was concerned about the product lifespan and the迭代 of the solar shingles by Tesla. The speaker preferred a lifelong metal roof and standard solar panels that are easily replaceable. The speaker also mentions concerns about Tesla's customer service and the timing of roof installation, opting for a standard roofing product with solar added later.

10:06

💰 Cost Comparison and Installation Experiences

The speaker discusses the costs of the two solar setups, comparing the premium price of the Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwalls with the speaker's own system. Paul's Solar Roof and Powerwalls cost $153,000, while the speaker's system will cost $88,000, not including the cost of the roof. The speaker's roof cost between $40,000 to $50,000, making the total system cost about $15,000 to $20,000 less than Paul's. The speaker also shares Paul's installation experience, which had some issues but was overall positive. The speaker's own solar panel system faced coordination challenges and slow permitting, which is a common issue in solar installations.

15:06

🔌 Factors Affecting Solar Adoption and Personal Considerations

The speaker explores factors affecting the adoption of solar roofs, citing cost and availability as the main barriers. Despite the high cost of the Tesla Solar Roof, it offers a premium look and durability. The speaker emphasizes that the decision to go solar is a personal one and should align with individual goals. The speaker also addresses a software bug that doubled solar production numbers on Tesla's tracking system, which was resolved after being reported by Paul and later by Marques Brownlee.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Tesla Solar Roof

The Tesla Solar Roof is a premium roofing product that integrates solar cells into shingles, allowing a home's roof to generate electricity. It is designed to be aesthetically pleasing and durable, similar to a metal or slate roof. In the video, the host compares the Tesla Solar Roof to traditional solar panels, discussing their efficiency, cost, and installation process. Paul, a homeowner featured in the video, chose the Tesla Solar Roof for its appearance and integration with his home's design.

💡Solar Panels

Solar panels are devices that convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. They are a common method for residential and commercial solar power generation. In the video, the host discusses the use of solar panels on his own home, contrasting them with the Tesla Solar Roof. While solar panels may be less aesthetically pleasing, they offer a more modular and potentially cost-effective approach to solar energy.

💡Efficiency

Efficiency in the context of solar energy refers to the effectiveness with which solar products convert sunlight into electricity. The video discusses the estimated efficiency of Tesla's solar tiles, which is lower (14-18%) compared to traditional solar panels (22-23%). However, Paul prioritizes the aesthetic benefits and the broader roof coverage offered by the Solar Roof over its efficiency.

💡Cost

The cost of solar installations can vary greatly depending on the type of system, its size, and additional components like batteries. In the video, the host compares the high cost of the Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwalls to his own more modestly priced solar panel system, highlighting the significant price difference. The discussion also touches on the value of the Solar Roof as both a power generator and a premium roofing material.

💡Installation

Installation refers to the process of setting up and integrating solar systems into a home's infrastructure. The video discusses the installation experiences of both homeowners, noting the challenges and delays associated with the Tesla Solar Roof, as well as the coordination required for the host's solar panel system.

💡Permitting

Permitting involves obtaining approval from local authorities to install and operate a solar energy system. The video mentions the slow and sometimes frustrating process of obtaining permits for interconnecting solar systems to the grid, which can cause delays in installation and activation.

💡Net Metering

Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows solar energy system owners to send excess electricity generated by their system back to the grid, offsetting their electricity consumption. The video touches on the complexity of net metering and how it can vary by location, affecting the overall value proposition of solar installations.

💡Battery Storage

Battery storage refers to the use of batteries to store excess solar-generated electricity for later use, particularly during times when the solar system is not producing electricity, such as at night or during cloudy weather. The video compares the battery storage capacity of the two homeowners' systems, with Paul having twice the storage capacity.

💡Product Lifespan

Product lifespan refers to the expected duration that a product will function effectively before needing replacement or significant maintenance. In the context of the video, the host expresses concern about the product lifespan of the Tesla Solar Roof, specifically questioning how long Tesla will support and manufacture replacement shingles for early adopters.

💡Aesthetics

Aesthetics in this context refers to the visual appeal or appearance of a solar energy system. The video discusses how the appearance of solar installations can be a significant factor for homeowners, with Paul prioritizing the sleek look of the Tesla Solar Roof over traditional solar panels.

💡Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Electric vehicles, or EVs, are cars that run on electricity rather than gasoline. In the video, the discussion of solar energy systems includes considerations for charging EVs, with Paul mentioning that his solar setup is designed to accommodate his family's two electric vehicles.

Highlights

Marques Brownlee’s video on not paying for electricity due to Tesla Solar Roof sparks curiosity about the technology.

The speaker has only seen one Tesla Solar Roof in his neighborhood despite the technology being available.

A comparison between the speaker's house with standard solar panels and a friend's house with a Tesla Solar Roof is presented.

Paul Braren's 27.6kW Tesla Solar Roof was installed in June 2023, along with Powerwalls and other Tesla products.

The speaker's home has a 17.2kW solar panel array with REC400 panels and Enphase microinverters.

Paul chose the Tesla Solar Roof due to the complex roofline of his house, which would not allow for efficient coverage with standard solar panels.

Tesla Solar Roof's estimated solar efficiency is between 14-18%, compared to typical panels at around 22-23%.

Paul was willing to accept lower efficiency for better aesthetics and higher roof coverage with the Solar Roof.

The speaker did not choose the Tesla Solar Roof due to concerns about cost, product lifespan, and the迭代 of the solar shingle product.

The speaker prefers the modularity and potential for future evolution with standard solar panels and a metal roof.

Paul's Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwalls cost $153,000, not including incentives.

The speaker's entire solar system, including the roof, will cost less than Paul's Solar Roof setup by $15,000 to $20,000.

Paul's solar array is larger than the speaker's (27.6kW vs. 17.2kW) and includes more battery storage.

Both setups were designed to meet specific needs and are considered dream forever homes for their owners.

The speaker questions the prevalence of Tesla Solar Roofs and attributes the slow adoption to cost and availability.

Recommendations for those considering solar involve understanding personal goals and the importance of patience with the installation process.

The decision to install solar is a personal one and should be based on individual needs and preferences.

A software bug doubled the solar production numbers on Tesla's tracking system, which was quickly fixed after being reported.

Transcripts

00:00

Some of you may have seen Marques Brownlee’s video  from a few months back about how he hasn’t paid  

00:04

for electricity in a year because of his Tesla  Solar Roof. But…this got me wondering why I’m  

00:09

still not seeing a lot of Tesla Solar Roofs  around. I first hit on this issue in a video,  

00:14

and since then I’ve only seen one  Solar Roof in my old neighborhood  

00:18

in Massachusetts … compared to dozens and  dozens of homes with solar panels. I’ve  

00:23

also been asked a lot as to why I didn’t  get a Solar Roof on my brand new house.

00:28

Well, I thought it might be interesting  to compare my house to another house from  

00:30

here in New England that does have a Solar  Roof. A friend of the channel, Paul Braren,  

00:34

invited me into his house to check out  his setup. Both his system and my system  

00:38

were installed last year, so I thought it’d  be really interesting to compare the two,  

00:42

the reasons why we did what we did, the costs, and  our initial thoughts. By the end, maybe we’ll be  

00:47

able to figure out an answer to my question…why  aren’t we seeing more solar shingle roofs?

00:52

I’m Matt Ferrell … welcome to Undecided. 

01:01

This video is brought to you by  Incogni, but more on that later.

01:04

In this corner we have Matt “the solar  fanatic” Ferrell with his brand new net  

01:08

zero energy home (at least he hopes  it achieves net zero energy). In the  

01:12

other corner we have Paul “TinkerTry” Braren  tinkering his way to solar dominance with a  

01:16

renovated net zero energy home (at least  he hopes it achieves net zero energy).

01:22

Woah. Sorry, I’m not sure what just happened  there. Anyway, I’d like to introduce you to Paul  

01:26

Braren from TinkerTry.com. He had his 27.6kW  Tesla Solar Roof installed in June of 2023,  

01:33

along with 4 Tesla Powerwalls, 3 Tesla  Inverters, 1 Tesla Backup Gateway, and 1  

01:39

SPAN Panel. On my home, I have a 17.2 kW solar  panel array made up of 43 REC400 solar panels,  

01:47

which are using Enphase microinverters, 2  Span Panels, and eventually, 4 Enphase IQ  

01:52

5P batteries. I say “eventually” because they’re  still not installed yet. I’m still caught up in  

01:58

permitting hell, but I’ll get to that later. So one of the big questions for me is why we did  

02:03

what we did. Why did Paul go with the Tesla  Solar Roof? And why did I … well, not do it?

02:08

“Our house faces west, southwest.  If I went with this roof, our roof,  

02:15

which has a lot of rectangular surfaces and a lot  of triangular surfaces. It’s the way the pitch is,  

02:19

and kind of a complicated roof line.  Putting a bunch of rectangles on there  

02:22

was only going to get us about 60 percent  coverage when we looked at other quotes.”

02:26

This is a big one. Paul’s roofline is a  little tricky because of all the angles,  

02:30

which would make it harder to get the standard  large rectangles to fit well in the areas he’d  

02:34

need to install them. He might end up with two or  three panels in one triangular area, four in the  

02:39

next, and so on. With a Tesla Solar Roof, Paul was  able to squirrel away 384 solar shingles in more  

02:45

areas of his roof. However, there is something  important to call out about that. Tesla hasn’t  

02:50

revealed the exact solar efficiency of their  tiles, but it’s estimated that it might be between  

02:55

14-18% compared to a typical panel at around  22-23%. On that point, Paul wasn’t too concerned.

03:03

“I know they're a little less efficient, right?  So I'm aware that 60 percent coverage from a  

03:06

rectangle would be roughly equivalent to like 80%.  Well, I think I was able to go to 83% of the roof  

03:11

coverage, but also cosmetically looking better,  right? For me personally, not everyone cares about  

03:16

that stuff, but when your road, when your house is  facing the way the sun is going to be much of the  

03:20

time of the summer, and it's a large roof facing  the road, yeah, the cosmetics go down a bit,  

03:25

whereas lots of houses in my neighborhood  have solar just in the back, especially if  

03:28

the back of their house is facing south … so it  really depends on which way your house aims.”

03:32

Another reason Paul went with  Tesla over something like I got?

03:35

“So, you put all that together,  large roof in a one story house,  

03:40

integration with EV charging. Those were  all appealing. Where going with Tesla,  

03:44

specifically the solar roof. That  tipped the balance towards that,  

03:47

because the house also needed a new  roof, so it needed new roofing anyway.”

03:51

So why _not_ go with a Tesla Solar  Roof? Why didn’t I go that direction?

03:55

Before talking about that, there’s another issue  we need to talk about, and that's protecting your  

03:58

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04:07

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04:12

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04:16

some pretty shady people. Or they can fall victim  to data breaches that leak your data to scammers.  

04:22

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04:27

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04:32

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04:36

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04:40

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04:44

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04:48

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04:53

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04:59

to Incogni and to all of you for supporting the  channel. So why _not_ go with a Tesla Solar Roof?

05:04

Well, I almost did. I love the concept of  solar shingle products like the Tesla Solar  

05:09

Roof or the GAF Timberline Solar shingle, but  for me it came down to cost and questions I  

05:14

had about the product lifespan…and im not  talking about the way you might think.

05:18

The Solar Roof is like a premium roofing  product, comparable to a metal roof,  

05:22

slate, or clay. Something like a  metal roof costs more than asphalt,  

05:26

but will last you a lifetime. Tesla  Solar Roof shingles are in the same  

05:29

ballpark with these other premium options  for looks and durability. That high premium  

05:34

price is doing double duty for Tesla: it’s a  great-looking, high-end roof, and it’s solar.

05:40

However, my big concern was the _product_ lifespan  … and I’m not talking about the tiles themselves  

05:45

not lasting. I’m talking about how quickly Tesla  will iterate this version of the product. How long  

05:50

will they keep manufacturing and supporting older  versions of the solar shingle into the future for  

05:55

early customers who need replacement shingles down  the road? These solar shingle products (including  

06:01

Tesla’s competitors in this space) are so new, I  wasn’t willing to be an early adopter on this. I’m  

06:07

an early adopter in most technology, but not this  time. I liked the idea of a lifelong metal roof,  

06:12

which is easily fixable at any point down  the line from a variety of manufacturers.  

06:16

Pair that with standard solar panels,  which again are just that … standard. If  

06:21

my specific solar panel is no longer made  and I need to replace one, no big deal.

06:25

Metal roofs and solar panels are like  peanut butter and chocolate. The way  

06:29

the solar panels are installed on the  standing seam with clamps makes them  

06:32

easy to attach … and remove… all without  drilling through the roof itself. Yes,  

06:37

it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as Paul’s  roof (and his is beautiful), but my wife and  

06:42

I don’t mind the look of the solar panels at  all. In fact, I kind of like the look of them.

06:46

The other issue I wasn’t willing to gamble with  was timing and coordination issues. Tesla isn’t  

06:51

known for its stellar customer service  experience. It can be very hit or miss.  

06:56

Add that to the fact that I was worried about  getting the roof installed in a timely manner  

07:00

when the house was ready for it. I’ve heard  countless stories about long delays in getting  

07:04

Solar Roofs installed. If you’re replacing an  existing roof that’s still technically working,  

07:09

that’s frustrating, but not a deal  breaker. But if you have a house  

07:13

with no roof … like I did … it’s a bit  more urgent to get the roof on quickly.

07:17

I avoided that potential issue using  a standard roofing product and adding  

07:21

solar on later. In Paul’s case, he  put down an initial deposit for a  

07:24

Solar Roof in June of 2022, he closed  on his new house in September of 2022,  

07:30

and then it was installed in June of 2023.  Even if you take out the initial deposit date,  

07:35

you’re still talking about nine months  between moving in and final installation.

07:40

Speaking of installation experience,  what was Paul’s like? Overall,  

07:43

it sounded pretty good. It seems Tesla  was pretty responsive during the process,  

07:46

but there were still some hiccups along the way.

07:49

“There were some handoffs that were maybe less  than smooth, and we ended up with like five  

07:52

different electricians in that last week or so.  Made it a little tricky for them to communicate  

07:56

with each other, and there were some mistakes  actually in cabling. But they own their mistakes,  

08:00

cabling was too thin, two people came back a month  or two later when I was having charge and solar  

08:04

issues and communication errors on the app. They  looked at it. They're like, yeah, we need to put  

08:08

a thicker gauge in for the communication wires  because the distance in your house from your  

08:11

garage to the other side. We should have gone a  little thicker. I appreciated that. I said thank  

08:15

you for admitting what's wrong and offering how  quickly you're going to fix it within two days.”

08:20

Another issue that came up was that one of the  two Gateways stopped working and wasn’t logging  

08:24

data. The solar panel system was working fine, but  you couldn’t see any data in the app. Annoying,  

08:30

yes. Dealbreaker, absolutely not. Tesla replaced  the Gateway and everything is working great again.

08:35

In my case, I’ve actually detailed some of  the issues I had in my previous video on my  

08:38

solar panel system. The short story is that  I had difficulty coordinating with my solar  

08:43

installer in a timely fashion to make sure  that my house’s general contractor could  

08:47

pre-run conduits and cabling for the solar  team. I wanted to try and limit the amount  

08:51

of conduit runs on the surface of the roof as  I could and reduce intrusion points into the  

08:56

house. In the end, it all worked out, but it  was a little frustrating during the process.

09:01

The other big thing is permitting. Getting  approvals from your town and utility to  

09:05

interconnect your solar to the grid can be …  slow … to say the least. Prime example is that  

09:11

I’m still waiting for my battery system  to get installed because of some very,  

09:15

very slow permitting approvals. And I know Paul  has had the pleasure of enjoying these issues,  

09:19

too. In both our cases, I think our recommendation  to everyone would be to have patience.

09:25

I know the big question that most of  you are probably asking right now,  

09:29

“But how much did it cost?” This is where  it gets a little tricky … and interesting.  

09:33

Paul’s Tesla Solar Roof and four Powerwalls  cost $153,000 (not including incentives).  

09:40

I’ll give you a second to pick yourself  up off the floor. Yeah, it’s pricey,  

09:44

but let’s break that down. The Solar Roof  by itself cost $110,000. The four Powerwalls  

09:49

cost $32,000. And there was another  $11,000 necessary for some re-roofing.

09:55

Let’s compare that to what I paid … or will  have paid by the time the batteries are  

09:59

installed. My entire system will have cost  $88,000. Of that, $55,000 is for the solar  

10:05

and $33,000 for the batteries. However,  that doesn’t include the cost of my roof.

10:11

What I can tell you is that my roof did not  cost $65,000, which is the price difference  

10:16

between our two systems. My roof was  somewhere between $40,000 to 50,000,  

10:20

which means my total system cost with the roof is  probably about $15,000 to 20,000 less. To try and  

10:26

equalize that, you could say he paid about  $4.00/watt, while I paid about $3.22/watt.

10:33

As I mentioned before, it’s a metal roof. An  asphalt roof would have cost half as much,  

10:38

but wouldn’t last nearly as long. If I had  an asphalt roof installed, there would be  

10:42

no contest between our total costs. My entire  setup would have come out way ahead. However,  

10:47

this is what I liked about comparing our  two houses. It’s a premium roof compared  

10:51

to a premium roof, so it’s an  apples to apples comparison.

10:54

Granted, Paul’s solar array is much larger than  mine (27.6kW vs. 17.2kW) and he’s also got more  

11:03

battery storage (twice the storage capacity  of my system), which means that accounts for  

11:08

some of the additional cost … but not all of it.  If you double the size of a solar panel system  

11:12

you’re considering, it doesn’t double the price.  The cost per watt often diminishes a bit as you  

11:18

scale up. Tossing a few extra solar panels onto  your array doesn’t dramatically jack up the cost.

11:23

Another factor to consider is the Federal solar  tax credit of 30%. Paul is essentially getting  

11:28

30% off his roof, which I’m not. After the tax  credit, it works out to a cost of $107,000 for  

11:35

Paul for solar, batteries, and a roof. If  you lump the cost of my roof into my setup,  

11:39

it works out to about $107,000. So it's  looking pretty good for Paul. However,  

11:45

even if I didn’t get solar, I still would  have wanted the metal roof for durability  

11:49

and longevity, so for me … I don’t look at  the costs of my roof as part of the equation.

11:54

None of this is taking into account the energy  savings we’ll see over time, or the net metering  

11:59

benefits. That could be a video on it's own,  because it's very complicated. And on that note,  

12:04

net metering rates are highly variable  based on where you live. Local governments  

12:08

are changing these rules as we speak, like  they did in California not too long ago. On  

12:13

a recent episode of my Still TBD podcast,  I spoke to Spencer Fields from EnergySage  

12:17

about how net metering and these changes are  impacting solar adoption. If you want to get  

12:22

grandfathered into existing net metering rates  in your area before they possibly change, you  

12:26

might not want to wait. I’ll have links to that  interview and to my EnergySage portal down below.

12:31

At the end of the day, both of our setups  were costly, but were designed to fit our  

12:35

specific needs. Paul wanted aesthetics, the dual  layered system with a tight membrane on his roof  

12:40

for water tightness, and an all-in-one solution  for electricity, storage, and charging his car.  

12:46

They have 2 electric vehicles and an air source  HVAC heat pump to cover, which meant a bigger  

12:50

solar array to cover his electricity needs.  He and his wife are becoming empty-nesters,  

12:55

so they were also downsizing to their new  home. They took some of the proceeds from  

12:58

that sale to cover part of the cost of  this. For me, I liked the more modular  

13:03

approach that can evolve over time if it needs  to, and a roof that would last well beyond my  

13:07

lifetime. I only have one EV right now and a more  efficient geothermal HVAC and hot water setup,  

13:13

so my electricity needs are slightly lower.  Again, both of us built out our systems to fit  

13:17

our needs … and they’re our dream forever homes.  There’s a lot of long term thinking at play here.

13:24

It’s still a little too early to tell how  we’re both doing on a goal of hitting all  

13:27

of our yearly energy needs from our roofs. New  England in December and January is the worst  

13:32

time of year for energy production, but I’m still  producing half of what I’m using. I’m more than  

13:37

happy with that. It’s going to be interesting  to see how this looks in the middle of summer.

13:41

But that raises the biggest question for me: where  are all the Tesla Solar Roofs? This product was  

13:46

originally announced in August of 2016. We’re  8 years into its existence and we’re still not  

13:52

seeing it take the solar world by storm. Well, I  think there’s two things at play here: 1) cost,  

13:58

and 2) availability. As you already saw, the Solar  Roof isn’t cheap … at all. It’s a premium product,  

14:05

but when it comes to standard solar panels  you can get some great bargains out there.  

14:09

Especially with second hand panels. While my setup  isn’t cheap either, it would be possible to get  

14:14

that cost down … _way_ down if you wanted.  For instance, I could have saved money with  

14:18

an asphalt roof. I could have gone with a 10kW  system vs. a 17.2kW system. I could have chosen  

14:24

a cheaper panel versus the more expensive  ones I opted for … or even gone with used panels.

14:29

As for availability, Tesla  is still struggling to get  

14:32

enough experienced installers out there to  meet demand. Paul said it best with this:

14:37

“Would you recommend a solar roof to  somebody who has interest in one?”

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“Yes. The only hesitation there is about  the install crews that Tesla's is kind of  

14:46

monkeying with the install model. So here in  New England, there's not a lot of installers,  

14:50

so I don't know how long your wait time  will be. So if you're trying to, like,  

14:54

add an addition to your house and add solar  and it has to happen in a certain month,  

14:57

I would say no. But if you're building new,  and you have some time to work with Tesla,  

15:01

maybe even a multi month wait, and you can handle  some flexibility in the schedule, then, yeah.”

15:06

I feel like a broken record when I say this, but  the decision to get solar on your home is a very  

15:10

personal one. Nobody knows if it's the right  fit for you other than you. Knowing what your  

15:15

goals are up front can really help in figuring  that out. That’s why I created my Achieve Energy  

15:19

Security with Solar Guide to help people through  the process. Even though Paul and I went in  

15:24

very different directions with our solar setups,  we’re both really happy with the results so far.

15:29

And before I sign off, I need to circle  back to Marques for a second. In his video  

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he showed some production numbers  that looked wildly high … so high  

15:36

that many people were commenting on that  on the video. Well, turns out that was a  

15:40

software bug with how Tesla was tracking  the numbers … it was doubling the solar  

15:44

production numbers. Paul actually encountered  that bug before Marques shared his experiences.

15:50

“I reported it to Tesla and I did a little  tweet about it showing a video. Here's the  

15:54

problem. It's doubling the values, and it's  showing as if I produced twice as much solar  

15:58

as I actually did. What was my source  of truth? It was the SPAN smart panel,  

16:02

which is also monitoring. So, how did I know?  Well, I could record a nice 40 second concise  

16:06

clip for some developer to look at, like,  Okay, this guy has a source of truth.”

16:09

“He knows it doubled. All the data is wrong  for the last week or two. He reached out to me  

16:13

on Twitter DM and fixed it within days. A month  later, Marques Brownlee's video comes out. Same  

16:18

problem. I make the comment under his video.  I report it, like, you might want to look at  

16:21

this video. Millions of people already  have seen it in the first 12 hours.”

16:24

“He's got the data doubling. He has a similar  size roof. Yeah, they fixed his too, and you  

16:29

put a little comment under his YouTube  video. I like that. That's what you want,  

16:32

is some engineer that's working at a company.  Put a lot of money into that really cares.”

16:37

I love that too. But what do you think? Would  you go with the Tesla Solar Roof like Paul did,  

16:41

or go my path with standard solar  panels? Jump into the comments and  

16:44

let me know. I’ll see you in the next one.