Solar Roof, or Shingle Roof Replacement?

Solar Roof, or Shingle Roof Replacement?


First i will apologize for putting this here, but the Tesla energy forum is horrible and you cant know if there are new replies or when a topic is created.

I have to get a new roof next year and i have already been quoted around $16,000 for a new roof. I am wondering if a solar roof would be the way to go here, even though its probably 3x more expensive than a regular roof or more. I am currently thinking about this in terms of cash i will be paying, not accounting for electricity generated by the solar roof, and initially not planning on any powerwalls.

Currently, these are the numbers i am using which are based off the current solar roof calculator on their website.

Roof Total Cost: $60,800
Loan payment: $237/mo
Federal Tax Credit: $15,808
NY Tax Credit: $5000

Effectively $1000 deposit is what would be required as a down payment. The federal tax credit i would use over 3 years, and the NY tax credit i would use over 2 years due to my current liability. This is what im thinking right now. I would only have to pay the monthly payment for the first year until i get my tax credit rebates, and then the federal + state tax credits would amount to a total of $20,808 over 3 years, which is enough money to pay the monthly finance for the roof for 87 months. I would only pay a maximum of $3844 over 12 months which includes the deposit, and then the tax rebates would cover the cost of the roof and i would not have to pull any money out of pocket for the next 7 years.

My thoughts are that this would be an alternative to draining my savings next year to replace my roof with a new shingled roof, as i would only be forking over $1000 up front, and then up to $2844 extra over the next 12 months for however long it takes for the tax credits to be issued to me after filing in 2021. This would set me up perfectly to install powerwalls in the future if i wanted them, and to have a source of electricity generation for when i get an electric car. Yes, praying i can get a Tesla by 2021. I am going to pay off my current car by the spring time ($8000 left) so the money i would be paying for my car for the next 3 years would effectively just be transferred to paying the solar roof. Which i've laid out the plan for, and would only be paying that for about a year before the rebates can cover the finance cost for a long time.

I've talked to family members about this and everyone seems to think its a terrible idea. I am told that the solar roof will NOT raise the value of my home by the value of the roof, that my house value would not go up $60k if i buy the solar roof. Everyone recommends to me that i sort of go the replacement route and wait until i get a more permenant home that i would otherwise be sure im going to stay there for more than 5 years. Possibly if i were to settle down with a wife and want to establish a family. Its also been recommended to do a solar roof on a new house and not an old house.

What do you all think about my plan? I'm still not completely sure what i am going to do, but i want to see what other people think about this. I am going to put the reservation deposit down no matter what, because i can always get that money back. I did the same thing reserving the Model 3 back in 2017 when i foolishly led myself to believe that i could afford it at the time, which i absolutely was incorrect about, and i got that deposit money back no problem.

So ya, what are your thoughts if any?

andy.connor.e | October 13, 2019

For some reason there was a paragraph in there that Teslas website didnt like, and i gave up and removed it after trying to modify it about 15 times.

It would be a difference of about $4800 less out of pocket to get the solar roof once the tax credits are issued to me.

Tesla2018 | October 13, 2019

The new roof would be about 40 k after taxes vs 16k if you gor a new one so it comes to 24K more. The life of a solar panel is about 20 to 25 years so its about 1K a year more. Will. you be saving that much each year on your current bill.

I am in the same boat 60k vs 30 for a new tile roof. So it isnt worth it since my electric bill is under 1000 a year and I dont expect to live here for 30 yrars since I would be dead by then.

If you are young and its a new house and your electric bill is high since you have electric heat and hot water and cooking and a big family it might be worth it.

jrweiss98020 | October 14, 2019

A standard solar panel array would likely be half the cost of solar shingles. If you have to worry about cash flow, the solar shingles don't make sense.

andy.connor.e | October 14, 2019

I thought about that too. But if i got a standard solar panel array, i would be out of pocket for the new shingle roof, and then i would have the finance payment every month from the solar array. I think the more significant part that i calculated, was that the tax credits would pay for the roof for 7 years before i actually have to spend any of my own money.

Tesla2018 | October 14, 2019

I live in Florida and would be aftaid of solar panels being ripped off along with my roof in a hurricane. Would rather have solar tiles since they are less likely to fly off.

blue adept | October 22, 2019


It's is really quite simple...

A "solar roof" roof will both pay for itself and pay you in the process in the form of decreased utility bill costs, a "shingle roof" will not.

See? Simple!

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

I havent found it to be as simple as that. How much would it increase the value of my home if i decided to move before paying it off? Its a 30 year loan. It would probably take 30 years for it to pay for itself since thats when a regular roof would need to be replaced again. The tax credit and electricity generation would cover alot, but its not a quick payback. The Tesla estimator is saying around $60k for the roof, pretty much 4-5 times more expensive than a shingle roof.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

And how much would you save in utility costs having all of your electricity needs provided for free by the Sun? You could probably mange to redirect some of those savings towards paying off the installation just that much sooner!

As for property value, people have never liked paying utility costs so I see them inclined to purchase a property already engineered to eliminate that expense from their overall budget as it would be a great selling point.

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

It was slightly over $100 this summer running the AC. That includes gas and electric, where both of those services have a flat fee for being hooked up. I would not see a massive cost reduction for utilities until i get an electric car.

I am trying to look at this without factoring in electricity savings initially, since they are subject to my usage and not always guaranteed depending on the weather.

I also live by myself so there isnt a whole lot of energy for just me to use right now.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

Why are you still using 'gas'?

They make appliances that run on electricity alone these days, some of which are pretty damn efficient when area cooling/heating is factored in like with Mitsubishi's compact, ductless HVAC units.

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

Because i bought my house 6 months ago and thats what it had. Believe me, if cash wasnt an obstacle, i'd be 100% off the grid.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

Then the best that you can do at this point is ensure that it is up to code regarding proper insulation and draft protection as it's often the "leakiness" of a home that kills the utility bills.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

BTW, it's a personal preference as I don't like "gas"...Just too sketchy of a service for me.

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

This is starting get off topic. I am not worried about my utility bill. I indicated that in my OP and in the 4th comment prior to this one.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

So you're just concerned about the roof? Might I suggest a standing seam metal one?

They cost more but last two to even five times as long as an asphalt one and could be a better value in this way.

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

No i dont believe i will be living in this house long enough to justify a higher price out of pocket. I may potentially try to rent the house out if i ever decide to leave, but the whole point of looking at the solar roof as an option is that it will only cost me around $3500 out of pocket for 7 years. If i hang on to the house the benefits will only compound.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

Then it sounds to me like you've already decided on a course of action and were, what? Only looking for confirmation of the rationality behind your decision?

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

Somewhat. Maybe something i havent thought of yet. Perhaps make sure what im saying makes sense. I havent yet decided because Tesla is still not at a place where they can give specific details about the solar roof. Its limited to whatever is on their site, which is outdated.

blue adept | October 23, 2019

You could always contact them about having a rep come out to perform an assessment to gauge the practicality of an install on your home that would provide you with an estimate and calculation of how much it would benefit you which, I think, is a free service (can't remember).

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

Ya i had a rep come out for an assessment for solar panels since they said they werent really at a state to be doing the solar roof portion. Didnt take it any further than that because the assessment was only good for some 30-90 days. Im looking to do any roof work next spring/summer, and i was told the quickest way to get the solar roof is to put a reservation down. | October 23, 2019

I'm right on the edge myself. I already have solar for about 5 years, but it's not a huge system. Some numbers from multiple quotes in the last three months on my house:

Comp roof: $18-25K depending on the quality of the composition tiles
High-grade fireproof shingle-style: $50-87K (looks great, but yikes the cost)
V3 Solar Roof $61K, less $13 IRS = $48K (I'm not including Powerwalls in these numbers)

Now the solar roof looks as good as the high-grade shingles and is 3 times the power of my current solar panels. The low-ball shingle-style roof is a question mark (not a formal quote, and much lower than others). I'm in the Bay area, so our install costs are much higher than in other parts of the country.

Anyway, I'm not a fan of composite shingles. They are ok, but nothing special. It will not look as good as my current tile roof.

As for resale value, I expect any choice I make will recover most of the retail value. The Bay area has crazy high housing costs, so the roof cost is less a factor. In the last week, I think the Wall Street Journal had an article that a new roof returns 107% of the value on resale, but that was for a $7500 roof. Other than a tarp, no roof will be close to $7500 in this area.

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019


As far as im aware, replacing the shingle roof with a new shingle roof adds zero value to the house.

jimglas | October 23, 2019

@BlueAdept: when Tesla did my solar site evaluation it required a $500 non refundable deposit | October 23, 2019

Well, replacing a failing roof with a new roof does add value. If the roof is old and in need of replacement, a new roof will add value. How much is an unknown and will vary a lot in different areas. It might also make the difference between a sale and no sale. Right now, I have no plans to sell, so that's not much of a consideration in my thoughts.

What makes it more complex for me, is the idea of replacing my tile roof that looks great, with composite seems like a huge downgrade. Then there are the costs - a huge difference depending on the choice. No easy choices for me.

blue adept | October 23, 2019


That was only because you were going forward with the install when the opportunity arose/they could get to it and so, put a "reservation" down (as @andy.connor.e mentioned), right?

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019


My solar assessment was free.


Possibly that you could imagine the house has a certain value, and if the roof needs to be replaced the value decreases slightly. When you replace the roof, the house value rebounds back up to its true value. The question is whether the solar roof will increase the value of the property, given that the roof will generate electricity, and as far as Tesla has indicated, it doesnt need to be replaced like a regular roof. I did a calculation over the weekend that if the solar roof sells for what its estimated now ($60k), it would only need to increase the value of the house by 30% of the cost of the roof to be equivalent to spending the cash on a shingle roof replacement. That calculation included tax incentives but did not account for potential electricity generation.

jrweiss98020 | October 23, 2019

Andy, from your descriptions of your communications with [potential] installers, your solar roof is more of a pipe dream than a realistic option. If you need a 30-year loan to cover it, it simply is not worth the cost when there are other, MUCH cheaper options. You look at 7-year cash flow, then ignore the reality of paying off that loan if you sell the house or have to replace the roof yet again. Without a 30-year, full unlimited warranty, the risk is significant that you will be paying even more for maintenance. That does not even consider the fact you have NO IDEA when they will actually be able to install the roof; and when they do, you will essentially be one of their guinea pigs.

andy.connor.e | October 23, 2019

"Without a 30-year, full unlimited warranty, the risk is significant that you will be paying even more for maintenance. That does not even consider the fact you have NO IDEA when they will actually be able to install the roof; and when they do, you will essentially be one of their guinea pigs."

Hence why i havent decided yet. Thanks, i know basically everything regarding the actual implementation of the roof needs to be discussed with tesla still. Gotta read the comments, i covered the idea of selling the house before paying off the loan completely. | October 23, 2019

Note also the warranty is 25 years, not 30 (the website is out of date). The 25-year warranty also covers labor and parts for the 25 years and that the roof will not leak. I think the original warranty didn't offer the same amount of coverage.

I expect the value of the house has a huge factor in the value. A $60K roof on a $10 million house is a huge difference than a $60K roof on a $100K house. Now all I need is someone to give me that $10M house :)

I'm a bit uncomfortable going more into debt for an "optional" product unless the payback is fairly quick. I wouldn't consider it if it requires more than 10 years to pay it back if going in debt to pay for it. Your timeline is likely different, but your debt comfort level should be a consideration in making an expensive decision.

jimglas | October 23, 2019

my solar panes should pay for thmselves in 7 years
115% offset

FISHEV | October 23, 2019

For best savings and solar power, go with a metal roof. I replaced my roof and put on 8.4kWh of solar panels.

Some people don't like the metal due to the noise of rain but covered by solar panels, it's a non factor.

Metal roofs are perfect for solar panels as the roof has ridges and the solar panels don't require any roof penetrations, just claps to ridges.

Using regular solar panels is also more cost effective vs. low profile or Tesla's shingles which are more expensive.

1. Metal roof is cheaper and lasts forever
2. Solar panels for metal roof make for less costly panels and less costly install.

My 8.5kWh system was $33k in 2015. Neighbors was $22 for identical setup, price drop over 4 years, about 25 panels.

On value, bank did an appraisal recently and no added value for the PV roof which was surprising especially in tree hugger PDX. I'd ask a bank property appraiser if it adds value in your real estate market.

Federal tax credit is 30% of cost plus any local state and city credits.

I also changed to electric HVAC vs. gas and there were some credits for that also. Idea to put the solar to use and stop using fossil.

blue adept | October 24, 2019

I think that it is a huge oversight to not factor the savings in electricity costs into anyone's assessment of the value of an electric roof system as that aspect mitigates the 'optionality' factor alluded to by given that any aspect of a home that pays for itself or pays the owner for it's usage adds to the overall value and warranty's can always be extended and even transferred.

And this doesn't even take into account the robust federal and state tax credit incentives which should also be factored into your consideration.

Basically, anything that pays you for its ownership adds lasting value to your purchase whether it "adds value in your real estate market" or not, it adds value to you, as @FISHEV implies.

Anything that you can do to put more money into your pocket should be a part of ANY consideration when it comes to home improvements.

+1 @FISHEV for living the life! | October 24, 2019

@blue - I agree. I didn't mean to ignore the cost savings from power, which can be significant. Our rates are also going to go up, perhaps a lot.

A new factor for us Californians in PG&E's service area are the planned blackouts, which may last for days. Solar/Powerwall may offer additional savings from lost food by keeping the kitchen working and maintaining general home comfort.

andy.connor.e | October 24, 2019

Its about $0.25/kWh in NY after charges for supply and delivery.

blue adept | October 24, 2019

I heard about that, too, and was wondering 'why?' inasmuch as the more people who transition to sustainable forms of renewable energy from that of fossil fuel based ones the less of a strain there will be on the grid and the less of an impact on our environment its usage would cause, so it really doesn't make much sense to raise rates for what isn't actually being used and/or to be made to pay for something you're not even using...It's almost retaliatory in nature.

I can see litigation, likely in the form of a "class action", cropping up over what I can only view as what amounts to an overreach of authority, exploitation really.

As for the "blackouts", I think they show just how inept PG&E is at maintaining their equipment to provide everyone the service they're being paid to furnish...They're already in bankruptcy, perhaps they should be taken over by someone who actually knows what they're doing?

blue adept | October 24, 2019

In fact, it reminds me of that so-called "road usage tax" I've heard some states have been proposing to compensate for the decrease in fuel tax they'd typically collect at the pump as more people transition to EV's from that of ICE's, essentially targeting a select group of people.

Hmm, it all sounds like "discrimination" to me...These energy companies and states might want to think twice about charging people for services they're no longer using.

blue adept | October 24, 2019


And how much is it with the charges for "supply and delivery"?

blue adept | October 25, 2019


BTW, for future reference should you (or anyone else for that matter) ever have a need to redo your current or future roof...

If you suspend the metal roofing panels on a grid of roofing battens not only will you create an air gap between the roof's surface and the metal roofing, extending the life of the roofing materials by protecting them from temperature changes, you'll also enjoy the additional benefit of having a "cool roof" because the air space will heat up, rise to the ridge and escape out before it can even enter/penetrate into the attic area, effectively adding an additional protective layer of insulation.

Oh, and an additional bonus would be muffing the pitter-patter of the raindrops during a downpour, should that be an issue for you.

andy.connor.e | October 25, 2019


Supply and delivery together totals to about $0.25/kWh. Did you want to know the charges for each individually? | October 25, 2019

@blue - US business will charge w | October 25, 2019

US business will charge whatever they can get away with. The plant based Burger King impossible burger costs $2.00 MORE than a whopper. Dominion Energy charges 20% more for renewable based energy in Virginia.

andy.connor.e | October 25, 2019

"Dominion Energy charges 20% more for renewable based energy in Virginia."

Dont bother paying a utility company. Pay 20% more to own your own panels so one day you dont need Dominion energy anymore. | October 25, 2019

That’s why I reserved a solar roof in August 2017. So far, no joy.

andy.connor.e | October 25, 2019

I must have done a lazy calculation a very long time ago. Just pulled up my bill. Total electricity (supply + delivery) is $0.1158/kWh. Quite a lot less than i thought. But thats because i have a $37.50 flat service charge every month for being hooked up to gas and electric services. So back in the late spring when my bill was $60, i was barely using anything compared to what i was being charged.

I take that into consideration. I have a permanent $37.50/mo bill no matter what i use. | October 25, 2019

@blue - While it's far from clear, I expect PG&E will need to raise rates to improve transmission lines so they don't have to have blackouts. This is expected to cost tens of billions and take as much as 10 years to complete.

Then there are the costs from billions in damages from fires that poorly maintained equipment caused. PG&E's nuclear plant is shutting down as it's beyond it's "end-of-life", and it's going to cost billions do to that while getting no electricity generation. Lastly, I expect more lawsuits and costs from the actual blackouts we now encounter.

I feel a tiny bit sorry for PG&E as there isn't any good way out of the mess they are in, although mostly self-created. There are a lot of good people at PG&E, but it's a highly regulated industry with many stakeholders attempting different things - not all are compatible with each other.

andy.connor.e | October 25, 2019

New solar roof version released!!!!

Estimated Total: $48,523

1,859 ft^2

$73,123 with 3 powerwalls.


-$4,943 - Install Solar Roof + Powerwall together
-$5,000 - State Tax Credit
-$18,033 - Federal Tax Credit

Total Incentives -$27,976 (with powerwall)

Tax credits are actually more than the previous estimate.

This roof can generate 32,240kWh of energy per year in Albany, NY with estimated 2406 hours of sunlight per year. Equivalent to $3,733 per year at $0.1158/kWh, or $311/mo. If we were paid that rate for overproduction, it would offset its finance cost. Reservation costs $100, just put the reservation down. Getting excited! Will let you know if i find out any more info.

Tesla2018 | October 25, 2019
blue adept | October 25, 2019

Then don't let them.

Run the numbers and see for yourself whether or not they can justify a rate increase given their yearly net income after what they term as "expenses".

For example, Dominion Energy's net worth as of October 25, 2019 is $66.46B...that's BILLION!

So can they really justify the 20% increase for supplying you renewable-based energy that isn't costing them anything to make (minus the initial upfront cost), or is it retaliatory because you're choosing not to use coal-based energy?

Similar is the case with Burger King and their veggie-based Whopper...Is it really more expensive to produce veggie burgers than it is to breed, house, feed and process beef-based burgers?

blue adept | October 25, 2019

You should take a pointer from @andy.connor.e, they know what's going on!

blue adept | October 25, 2019


Congratulations and welcome to the Resistance!