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Cross Shopping Roof vs Panel

Euphony010

Member
Feb 27, 2020
19
1
Washington, DC
So I spoke with Roof ordering customer service rep on the phone today - I have an existing Solar Panel estimate and layout design that I've been delaying because I intend to replace my asphault roof shingles soon.

I'd like to have a detailed understanding of what the Roof would cost and produce before I move forward with the panels - they have my $100 (refundable back in February, but no longer today I see) for the Panel quote. They want $100 NON-refundable order to even look at the Roof option.

From a consumer perspective - this makes no sense to me - I want to choose the best product and they have my money, but they won't help me shop the right solution.

Anyone have any luck getting a Roof estimate based on a Panel order?

Thanks,
Thomas
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
It sucks that they make it difficult, but my guess is you will need to put down another $100 to get the roof quote - or spend a lot of time trying to argue your extremely logical position before either getting the right person or having somebody decide to drop you as a customer.

Even though they say it is non-refundable, it does seem like others have had some luck getting a refund if it does not move forward. In your case, if you did make two deposits and chose to move forward with one, I would be pretty shocked if Tesla did not credit you for the other.

One other trick to try - since you have a panel order, do you have a referral link and can you refer yourself for solar roof? If so, you might even come out ahead. (If not, you could get a referral credit from somebody else, which would get you $100 off, so still even if Tesla wouldn't refund the other deposit.)

Roof or panels, it seems like solar is a great option in DC with the SREC credits.
 

Euphony010

Member
Feb 27, 2020
19
1
Washington, DC
Roof or panels, it seems like solar is a great option in DC with the SREC credits.

Ahh - I'm in Northern Virginia actually - Panels are essentially break even for me here. I'd probably take the Tesla Loan package and pay it off when it's comfortable, but there are better things I could probably put the money towards from an ROI perspective.
 

bayareaever

Member
Jun 17, 2013
424
288
East Bay Area
So I spoke with Roof ordering customer service rep on the phone today - I have an existing Solar Panel estimate and layout design that I've been delaying because I intend to replace my asphault roof shingles soon.

I'd like to have a detailed understanding of what the Roof would cost and produce before I move forward with the panels - they have my $100 (refundable back in February, but no longer today I see) for the Panel quote. They want $100 NON-refundable order to even look at the Roof option.

From a consumer perspective - this makes no sense to me - I want to choose the best product and they have my money, but they won't help me shop the right solution.

Anyone have any luck getting a Roof estimate based on a Panel order?

Thanks,
Thomas

The $100 is refundable even though it says it's not, in my personal experience.

Also in my experience, they will not design for Solar Roof until they have another deposit. I agree it doesn't make sense except that it might be a different design team for different products so then it kind of makes sense. But again, the deposits are actually refundable so it doesn't ultimately matter much.
 

GHTech

Member
Jun 28, 2020
95
33
Granada Hills, CA
Hi,

I am in So. Cal. I put a deposit on both options, and decided to go with the solar panels (getting installed tomorrow). I went into the portal and cancelled the solar roof order. In a few days, I saw the refund back to the card, without having to speak to someone.

Regards,

GHTech
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: willow_hiller

SaveOurPlanet

Member
Jan 6, 2018
263
187
San Francisco
How soon you want your solar project done? I think the solar roof has a much longer wait time depending on your location. A new shingle roof and panels will be quite a bit cheaper with much faster completion time. The solar roof costs more and you need to upsize the capacity because the tiles are not that efficient. In my case, I would break even on panels in under 5 years if I pay cash, I've decided not to even think about break even with the solar roof, like everything else in life, I like the look and just have to pay for it. The only pain is the wait.

Check on your utility for the last 3 years, or as far back as you can to see how many kWh you use annually and get the highest one as target system size, forget about power in kW because that is almost meaningless depending on panels or solar shingles. Go to the Tesla order Solar Roof and size your system size, it would give you estimated kWh annually, take that number and multiply it by 0.755, that would be the size the design team will mostly come back with. eg. The order page will tell you a 6 kW size would yield 9289 kWh annually, but once you submit the order and the design will come back with 7017 kWh, that is about 0.755 of the estimate. So working it that way to get a system size that will meet your energy need. Utility company will always tell you to get 95% or less for solar and most would not let you get more than 110% of solar based on your past consumption. If you have NEM then I would size 100-110% of past consumption.

Google project sunroof and PVWatts are useful for a rough estimate on a system size you need, but I found PVWatts more useful because you can tune where your solar cells or panels are. In my case, Tesla put all solar cells facing east instead of west, it kind of make sense because the roof will get sunlight from 8:00am to 2:00pm while on the west there are lots of shade and actually will get less sun. When I set the east facing direction and some other parameters, it is quite close to the Tesla design.

As for the deposit refund, if you really want to go with the solar roof, call the solar panels number and tell them you want to go with the solar roof and ask them to help you cancel the panels order and process the refund for you. They refunded my panels deposit but it will take at least 2 to 3 weeks. Tesla has a lot more business than they can handle, especially with the recent panels discount they are cheaper than anyone else. I guess the deposit is just a way to screen out tire kickers with no serious interest. My suggestion to you is to get a new shingle roof and install panels, you will get it done much quicker and a lot cheaper. They just told me the solar roof backlog here is at least 5 months.
 

trautmane2

Member
Jul 13, 2019
253
174
Leesburg, VA
I'd like to have a detailed understanding of what the Roof would cost and produce

I started to suggest that you just use the web site estimator (pre-deposit) for a comparison. That's what I did but in the opposite direction (I had a solar glass quote and wanted to compare to panels). I then realized maybe the web site estimator is not specific enough for your purposes. Anyway, a couple things to keep in mind are (1) only the "active" solar portion of a solar glass roof is eligible for the federal tax credit and (2) if you choose Dominion net metering (in NOVA), they will cap the size of your system based upon your last year's electricity usage. Finally, like others have mentioned, I was told by multiple service reps that my $100 would be refundable if I asked for it back (in spite of what the web site says).

For my roof, the cost of solar glass vs. re-roof with asphalt and add panels was almost the same.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: pilotSteve

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,331
1,051
Silver Spring, MD
How soon you want your solar project done? I think the solar roof has a much longer wait time depending on your location. A new shingle roof and panels will be quite a bit cheaper with much faster completion time. The solar roof costs more and you need to upsize the capacity because the tiles are not that efficient. In my case, I would break even on panels in under 5 years if I pay cash, I've decided not to even think about break even with the solar roof, like everything else in life, I like the look and just have to pay for it. The only pain is the wait.
I would agree with the possibility of wait time being an issue. However, I disagree with the blanket statement that shingle roof + panels will be quite a bit cheaper. It will depend on the circumstances, and in ours the differences were much less than what it seems you found, as even a new asphalt roof was going to be fairly expensive.

Regarding the tiles themselves, the PV modules seem to be similar in efficiency to panels - the issue is their efficiency per unit area is significantly lower. What this means is that to achieve a given amount of solar requires more roof area. The further implication is that it is more likely to need to place solar on less ideal roof planes which will generate less energy annually because they receive less sunlight overall. The only positive for tiles is their smaller size sometimes allows more to be placed where panels won't fit. So I do agree that in most cases a solar panel and solar roof system with the same DC size will have a higher annual output for the panels. But it does depend on the roof layout and energy needs.

In any case, it makes sense for OP to get roof-specific answers since there are a lot of factors involved.
 

Euphony010

Member
Feb 27, 2020
19
1
Washington, DC
I went ahead and gave them another deposit knowing that many of you successfully got a refund. I have a very plain colonial style roof, but it does have Smart Vents along 1 gutter as well has on the back for additional attic intake ventilation. Curious if they can accomodate that in the new tiles.

If the power and cost is net even with new asphault and panel, I'm not in a big hurry, so wait time isn't hurting me.. my roof faces east, with trees and shade on the rear west-facing side (not to mention sky lights).

I'll see what they come up with!
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,471
3,468
Northern California
I would agree with the possibility of wait time being an issue. However, I disagree with the blanket statement that shingle roof + panels will be quite a bit cheaper. It will depend on the circumstances, and in ours the differences were much less than what it seems you found, as even a new asphalt roof was going to be fairly expensive.
.
We had a similar experience. When we compared basic flat asphalt shingles they were cheaper. But by the time you went up to architectural asphalt shingles or a cement/ceramic tile, the costs for the SolarRoof (12.75kW) was cheaper than a shingle/tile roof plus solar panels (9.75 kW).
 

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