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Getting a Solar roof quote, what to look out for

Nocturnal

Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2018
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I'd appreciate any input. I need a new roof so I'm getting a quote on a Tesla solar roof. I could probably save some cash by going asphalt and panels but I like shiny new tech and don't mind paying a premium. Anything particular to ask or watch out for? I'm thinking I'll be doing 2-3 power walls as well. My home is a colonial so the roof architecture is very simple. I do have some large trees that shade my roof a bit so will likely need to have them trimmed down to optimize power.

It's becoming pretty apparent that we are having more adverse weather events and clearly we can't assume that our various governments and utilities can keep us well supplied.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,237
740
East Bay NorCal
Lol I bet Tesla Energy (and other solar companies) are getting lit up by thousands of anxious homeowners right now. Same thing happened in California when the safety shutdowns and fires were going nutso.

IMO if you have any large trees anywhere near your roof, you may want to reconsider the solar roof. They use string inverters, so any bit of shading on the roof will negatively affect the whole string. I'm just thinking about myself and the homeowners I'm familiar with... but I wouldn't expect trees to be well trimmed for years since there's always something else that comes up to take your money and time.
 
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Ntu1

Member
Feb 7, 2021
22
19
Florida
We have the Tesla solar roof and love it here in Florida. Of course we get a lot of sun so it generates a lot of energy. You do want to make sure trees are clear of the roof. We ordered in June and the project was completed in November. Local power switch in December so it is definitely a project. You may want to ask find out the timeline, especially if your current roof has issues. Having the 26% tax incentive is another advantage we are looking forward to claiming this year.
 

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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,079
322
auburn, ca
I'd appreciate any input. I need a new roof so I'm getting a quote on a Tesla solar roof. I could probably save some cash by going asphalt and panels but I like shiny new tech and don't mind paying a premium. Anything particular to ask or watch out for? I'm thinking I'll be doing 2-3 power walls as well. My home is a colonial so the roof architecture is very simple. I do have some large trees that shade my roof a bit so will likely need to have them trimmed down to optimize power.

It's becoming pretty apparent that we are having more adverse weather events and clearly we can't assume that our various governments and utilities can keep us well supplied.
Sometimes low tech, KISS stuff, is still the best
 

Nocturnal

Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2018
6,323
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In the middle
We have the Tesla solar roof and love it here in Florida. Of course we get a lot of sun so it generates a lot of energy. You do want to make sure trees are clear of the roof. We ordered in June and the project was completed in November. Local power switch in December so it is definitely a project. You may want to ask find out the timeline, especially if your current roof has issues. Having the 26% tax incentive is another advantage we are looking forward to claiming this year.
Power switch meaning when the Utility says it's ok to flip on the flow back to the grid? My roof is ok for now.

Lol I bet Tesla Energy (and other solar companies) are getting lit up by thousands of anxious homeowners right now. Same thing happened in California when the safety shutdowns and fires were going nutso.

IMO if you have any large trees anywhere near your roof, you may want to reconsider the solar roof. They use string inverters, so any bit of shading on the roof will negatively affect the whole string. I'm just thinking about myself and the homeowners I'm familiar with... but I wouldn't expect trees to be well trimmed for years since there's always something else that comes up to take your money and time.
I'm sure. I started this process a few weeks back. My local installer has lots of availability.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
4,926
3,017
Northern California
...

I'm sure. I started this process a few weeks back. My local installer has lots of availability.
Does this installer have experience installing SolarRoof's? It is not a simple install and there are considerable custom fitting and some on-site fabrication of metal trim pieces. This is one install where experience really counts.

If you are interested, we were one of the "first 100 V3 installs" and documented the process here.

After almost a year it was a great decision to get a solarroof and so far it has worked as expected.
 
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wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,162
898
Silver Spring, MD
Lol I bet Tesla Energy (and other solar companies) are getting lit up by thousands of anxious homeowners right now. Same thing happened in California when the safety shutdowns and fires were going nutso.

IMO if you have any large trees anywhere near your roof, you may want to reconsider the solar roof. They use string inverters, so any bit of shading on the roof will negatively affect the whole string. I'm just thinking about myself and the homeowners I'm familiar with... but I wouldn't expect trees to be well trimmed for years since there's always something else that comes up to take your money and time.
While heavy shading could be an issue in general, I don't think some trees/shading should necessarily be a major issue. And with Tesla moving to its own inverters for solar panels as well, it would likely become a choice between Tesla and another installer. But properly installed and taking advantage of the MPPT channels should mitigate shade issues (as well as issues with multiple roof planes.)

For OP, I think one of the big things to note with the solar roof is that as installed they will likely have a lower density of PV modules than solar panels, so it is more likely that you will need to some or more production on less ideal roof faces (as we, for example, placed production on our north roof in addition to the south.) So, if comparing panels to roof or otherwise calculating costs, make sure to look at the estimated annual output (in kWh) and not just the system size (in kW.) Whether or not it is more expensive, and by how much, does depend on a lot of factors, and this can be a big one.

Also be aware that there can be be a big difference between having 2 and 3 PWs. While it is certainly possible to have whole-home backup with 2 PWs (as we have), for many it is not possible without at least 3. Factors like the size of the house, gas vs. electric appliances, size of A/C, need for EV charging, and any other required loads all are involved.
 
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Nocturnal

Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2018
6,323
32,363
In the middle
Also be aware that there can be be a big difference between having 2 and 3 PWs. While it is certainly possible to have whole-home backup with 2 PWs (as we have), for many it is not possible without at least 3. Factors like the size of the house, gas vs. electric appliances, size of A/C, need for EV charging, and any other required loads all are involved.
Regardless of what I do, traditional solar, solar roof, or nothing, I want some power walls regardless. I'll err on the heavier side because I want to ensure they can act as a proper home backup. For one thing I have a reef aquarium with thousands of dollars of fish and corals in it (and that value will keep growing) so backup is critical. Our power grid here is among the most stable in the nation but things happen. Right now I have a mini generator in case of emergency but that has it's own problems and wouldn't be of use for more than a few hours in this type of frigid weather.

Does this installer have experience installing SolarRoof's? It is not a simple install and there are considerable custom fitting and some on-site fabrication of metal trim pieces. This is one install where experience really counts.

If you are interested, we were one of the "first 100 V3 installs" and documented the process here.

After almost a year it was a great decision to get a solarroof and so far it has worked as expected.
They do. They actually released a video not too long ago where they basically met Elon's goal of a single day install. I probably wouldn't even consider this if I didn't have a local installer with some experience.

We Installed A Tesla Solar Roof In One Day: Weddle & Sons Roofing - YouTube
 

Puma2020

Member
Jun 16, 2020
381
374
New Hampshire, USA
First, hopefully you have figured how how much power your house uses (in kWh) on a daily basis.
Also determine the orientation of your roof. South, SE, SW are the best.
While you can get some power from a north facing roof, I'm not sure it would ever cover the cost of the solar roof in that area.
Also any dormers or other "features" will impact the power production.
Also determine your latitude and your roof pitch angle. While the sun's angle does change, if your roof pitch is close to the sun's angle at least some or most of the time, that will help your overall production.
Figure on 2 or 3x of the system capacity in the winter (shorter days) to 5x in the summer.
Does your utility pay you for excess capacity that you put on the grid? The best plan is a 1:1 (for every kWh you put on the grid, they credit you 1 kWh). That is going away in a lot of places. Mostly replaced with they pay you $X for each kWh you produce, while you pay $Y for every kWh you use. X < Y.
Are you getting a Powerwall or 2 or 3? Having a battery backup system might be handy. I, sadly, do not have one.

also realize there will be good days and bad days (my 8.1kWh panel setup (not solar roof) shown below).
I also had my first ZERO kWh day a little while ago. Started snowing at night, never warmed up, snowed all day, the panels didn't avalanche until the following day.

Not sure about solar roof, but look at where the snow/ice (if any) will slide down and whack what is below.

Array_good_solar_day.png

Array_bad_solar_day.png
 

Ntu1

Member
Feb 7, 2021
22
19
Florida
The local utility took around a month to change the meter so we could sell power back to the grid. 2;power walls were part of our install too. You may want to check and see where you are how much solar you can have on a residential roof. In Florida anything over 10K is considered commercial and there are additional costs involved.
 
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SaveOurPlanet

Member
Jan 6, 2018
205
122
San Francisco
It is my own experience and impression that panels will always be more efficient - in my case, but solar roof is more flexible because you have more options of where to place solar tiles, thus may be able to mitigate shading issues better. It most likely a wash if you do the cheapest shingle roof + panels vs glass roof, but keep in mind that you will very likely incur extra cost in roof decking as needed. They added another 7,500.00 on roof decking to upgrade my roof decking to 1/2" decking, but after I showed them I already have 1/2" roof decking they removed the charge, too bad for the sub-contractor. The sub-contractors that remove the old roof and prep the glass roof (putting in underlayment and flashings) are so so, they are not Tesla people. But the PW install people are really good, they are Tesla people. Hopefully the glass roof install next week will be good. Tesla advised me about getting new gutters but the sub-contractor removing the old roof asked if I want to keep the old gutters or not, I asked them to remove them because I want new ones. So you need to tell them what you want to do, I think Tesla may be able to install the solar roof with old gutters in place, you need to ask though.

1 day (5 hours) for roof tear down, 4 days for roof prep, 1/2 day for Tesla team to follow up on roof prep, 4 hours for sub-contractor to fix mistakes pointed out by the Tesla team, yet to be done is 5 days of glass roof install next week.

We do not have much power outage in my area and I know I need at least one PW to be self-powered when the sun goes down (bad NEM) but I opted for 2 PWs since I know that would give me at least 48 hours if there is no grid power and no sun at all. If I were you, I would use PVWatts to estimate the system you need, you may need to do separate areas then add them up to see if it will meet your annual consumption, assuming you know how many kWh you use from your utility bills.
 
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nomis_nehc

Member
Jul 9, 2018
190
134
Rancho Cucamonga
Regardless of what I do, traditional solar, solar roof, or nothing, I want some power walls regardless. I'll err on the heavier side because I want to ensure they can act as a proper home backup. For one thing I have a reef aquarium with thousands of dollars of fish and corals in it (and that value will keep growing) so backup is critical. Our power grid here is among the most stable in the nation but things happen. Right now I have a mini generator in case of emergency but that has it's own problems and wouldn't be of use for more than a few hours in this type of frigid weather.


They do. They actually released a video not too long ago where they basically met Elon's goal of a single day install. I probably wouldn't even consider this if I didn't have a local installer with some experience.

We Installed A Tesla Solar Roof In One Day: Weddle & Sons Roofing - YouTube

To be fair, I wouldn't consider that to be an one day install. Prior roof work is necessary, so that should be regarded as part of the process of the install.
 

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