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Looking to get Tesla Solar Panels or Roof installed

KHYE

Member
Jan 7, 2021
13
2
Los Angeles, CA
Hi All,

I'm in los angeles area and looking to get a tesla solar system installed. I have started doing some research and would like to get some input from the group.

1) Our roof is about 20 yrs old according to the previous owner. The architecure shingles still looked ok to me. My guess is it will last another 5-10 years. I'm struggling with whether to replace the roof now before installing the solar panels or solar roof.

2) Our monthly electricity bill from SCE averaged to about $135. Acording to a tesla's quote, a 8.16 kw system without power wall will cost us about $12,200 after the tax incentive.A 5.2 kw tesla solar roof will cost $25,800 after tax incentive. To get a shorter pay back period, I think it's better not to install power wall yet. I'm assuming power wall can be added without too much additional costs down the road.

3) I think I might need to replace the original roof ac unit, it's been about 25+ yrs old. I would think it's better to move it to ground level or it doesn't matter?

4) I know our electrical panel will probably have to be upgraded. This is additional $3-4000. I believe this is additional cost. But I'm surprised Tesla did the electrical panel upgrade for one guy on youtube.

Thanks for your time.
 

MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.15
Mar 8, 2015
9,584
8,796
Colorado
Hi All,

I'm in los angeles area and looking to get a tesla solar system installed. I have started doing some research and would like to get some input from the group.

1) Our roof is about 20 yrs old according to the previous owner. The architecure shingles still looked ok to me. My guess is it will last another 5-10 years. I'm struggling with whether to replace the roof now before installing the solar panels or solar roof.

2) Our monthly electricity bill from SCE averaged to about $135. Acording to a tesla's quote, a 8.16 kw system without power wall will cost us about $12,200 after the tax incentive.A 5.2 kw tesla solar roof will cost $25,800 after tax incentive. To get a shorter pay back period, I think it's better not to install power wall yet. I'm assuming power wall can be added without too much additional costs down the road.

3) I think I might need to replace the original roof ac unit, it's been about 25+ yrs old. I would think it's better to move it to ground level or it doesn't matter?

4) I know our electrical panel will probably have to be upgraded. This is additional $3-4000. I believe this is additional cost. But I'm surprised Tesla did the electrical panel upgrade for one guy on youtube.

Thanks for your time.
1. If you have to replace the roof as part of getting solar, you might be able to deduct part of the cost. Even if it can't be deducted, I don't think you'd want to have to pay to have the panels removed in a few years and reinstalled. When we first got solar, we were quoted a very reasonable fixed price ($500?) for this service. With more recent installs, it sounds like they've really jacked the price up so that it could cost several thousand dollars.
2. Powerwalls can easily be added later. If might be easier/cheaper to plan ahead for them though so you might mention you are considering adding them eventually. Last year, we had one added to our existing system in a few hours.
4. Tesla did upgrade our electrical panel. Maybe I was that guy? ;) We had a very large 16.5 kW system installed along with 3 Powerwalls and 3 HPWCs so it was a major project and cost a lot more back in 2018 than what it runs today. Back then, systems were more custom sized and they didn't have fixed prices listed online like they do today.
 
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wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,174
917
Silver Spring, MD
1) I would probably check with a roofer to get a better sense of the state of the roof and what is needed. That said, especially if the roof is in really closer to 5 years from a replacement, it might make sense to replace before installing panels, as there will likely be an increased cost to replace the roof once panels are on. In the specific case of Tesla, I believe it can be in the thousands of dollars now to remove and re-install the panels (and scheduling this can be an issue.) (As a side note, it is highly unlikely replacing the roof will be deductible, except in very rare cases.)

2) From a financial standpoint, if it is time to replace the roof, that is definitely where the solar roof might make sense (and what made it an option for us.) Once you place an order with a deposit (whether for panels or the roof) you will have an opportunity to work with Tesla to re-size the systems. It will obviously increase the cost, but if you are looking for a larger solar roof system, it is possible that they might find that is possible once. Powerwalls can definitely be added later. Do note that Tesla offers a discount for installing PWs at the same time, and at some point (currently the end of 2022) the 26% federal credit will begin to decline. I know CA has incentives related to PWs, but I don't really know the details or whether you might qualify.

3) I do not know its exact location. Especially if going with the roof, it might make sense to move it out of the way of the roof.

4) In the past, Tesla was pretty good about taking care of these kinds of things, especially where they missed the need. However, it seems like they have gotten more aggressive about changing the contract for these kinds of things. So, I definitely would expect to pay and understand that even if Tesla doesn't note it in early site inspections (and you don't ask) they may surprise you at install time.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
8,237
9,096
Riverside Co. CA
Powerwalls can absolutely be added later but the statement " i am assuming powerwalls can be added without too much additional costs later" depends on how you define "additional costs". Its going to cost you 11-12k to install one powerwall (average) and 18-22k to install 2 (average).

It wont be less expensive to do it later, and it may not be much less expensive to do it now, but tesla sometimes offers bundle deals to reduce the installation costs a bit (1-2k).

So, powerwalls are a significant cost, and will be so either now or later (unless those numbers above dont represent "significant costs" to you.

You shouldnt plan on putting solar panels on a roof that will not last the life of the solar panels, so your roof likely should be replaced.

Your stated cost of electricity, at $135 a month, tells me you dont use that much power, and you likely need to be looking at this for something other than a financial reason. Your electrical spend is not "that high" for california electrical costs.

Unless you are going to be in your current home for the forseeable future, or want to reduce your carbon footprint for non financial reasons, I am not sure all the upgrades you would have to do (roof, panel) make sense to get solar from anyone. Of course, if you are going to be there for 10-15 years or more, or simply "want to", or plan to drastically increase your electrical usage by putting in a pool, or getting an EV or 2, or something, thats different.
 
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KHYE

Member
Jan 7, 2021
13
2
Los Angeles, CA
Hi MorrisonHiker,

Thanks for your feedback.

From what i have read, i won't be able to deduct the roof replacement cost for tax. For the electrical panel upgrade, I meant to say Tesla was doing a free electrical upgrade for one guy. They usually charge additional costs.


Hi All,

I'm in los angeles area and looking to get a tesla solar system installed. I have started doing some research and would like to get some input from the group.

1) Our roof is about 20 yrs old according to the previous owner. The architecure shingles still looked ok to me. My guess is it will last another 5-10 years. I'm struggling with whether to replace the roof now before installing the solar panels or solar roof.

2) Our monthly electricity bill from SCE averaged to about $135. Acording to a tesla's quote, a 8.16 kw system without power wall will cost us about $12,200 after the tax incentive.A 5.2 kw tesla solar roof will cost $25,800 after tax incentive. To get a shorter pay back period, I think it's better not to install power wall yet. I'm assuming power wall can be added without too much additional costs down the road.

3) I think I might need to replace the original roof ac unit, it's been about 25+ yrs old. I would think it's better to move it to ground level or it doesn't matter?

4) I know our electrical panel will probably have to be upgraded. This is additional $3-4000. I believe this is additional cost. But I'm surprised Tesla did the electrical panel upgrade for one guy on youtube.

Thanks for your time.
1. If you have to replace the roof as part of getting solar, you might be able to deduct part of the cost. Even if it can't be deducted, I don't think you'd want to have to pay to have the panels removed in a few years and reinstalled. When we first got solar, we were quoted a very reasonable fixed price ($500?) for this service. With more recent installs, it sounds like they've really jacked the price up so that it could cost several thousand dollars.
2. Powerwalls can easily be added later. If might be easier/cheaper to plan ahead for them though so you might mention you are considering adding them eventually. Last year, we had one added to our existing system in a few hours.
4. Tesla did upgrade our electrical panel. Maybe I was that guy? ;) We had a very large 16.5 kW system installed along with 3 Powerwalls and 3 HPWCs so it was a major project and cost a lot more back in 2018 than what it runs today. Back then, systems were more custom sized and they didn't have fixed prices listed online like they do today.
 

KHYE

Member
Jan 7, 2021
13
2
Los Angeles, CA
Hi wjgjr,

Thanks for your feedback.

1) I have a roofer coming out today for an assessment, will see what he says.
2) Good point that Tesla provides discount doing PW together with solar installation. No incentive from state but utility company provides a few hundreds from what I've seen.
4) Yea, I'm surprised to see Tesla was doing free electrical panel upgrade for one guy on Youtube.

1) I would probably check with a roofer to get a better sense of the state of the roof and what is needed. That said, especially if the roof is in really closer to 5 years from a replacement, it might make sense to replace before installing panels, as there will likely be an increased cost to replace the roof once panels are on. In the specific case of Tesla, I believe it can be in the thousands of dollars now to remove and re-install the panels (and scheduling this can be an issue.) (As a side note, it is highly unlikely replacing the roof will be deductible, except in very rare cases.)

2) From a financial standpoint, if it is time to replace the roof, that is definitely where the solar roof might make sense (and what made it an option for us.) Once you place an order with a deposit (whether for panels or the roof) you will have an opportunity to work with Tesla to re-size the systems. It will obviously increase the cost, but if you are looking for a larger solar roof system, it is possible that they might find that is possible once. Powerwalls can definitely be added later. Do note that Tesla offers a discount for installing PWs at the same time, and at some point (currently the end of 2022) the 26% federal credit will begin to decline. I know CA has incentives related to PWs, but I don't really know the details or whether you might qualify.

3) I do not know its exact location. Especially if going with the roof, it might make sense to move it out of the way of the roof.

4) In the past, Tesla was pretty good about taking care of these kinds of things, especially where they missed the need. However, it seems like they have gotten more aggressive about changing the contract for these kinds of things. So, I definitely would expect to pay and understand that even if Tesla doesn't note it in early site inspections (and you don't ask) they may surprise you at install time.
 

KHYE

Member
Jan 7, 2021
13
2
Los Angeles, CA
Hi jjrandorin,

Thanks for your feedback.

The additional cost i meant was will it be more expensive if PW is installed down the road. I think the answer is it will be as bundle discount won't be offered.

Yes, roof's age is my first concern. I need to know roughly how long more the roof will last. Hopefully the roofer can give me a honest answer today.

You are definitely right about the justification for me to install solar. I'm doing it for purely financial gain/cost saving (if there's is). With our low power consumption, it's rather hard to justify the costs as the pay back period is quite long unless i go with a 4 kW system. I don't own an EV yet but might get one in the future, that's why I plan to get a 8 kW system. From what I've read, it seems like it's relatively cheaper to upsize the system from the beginning instead of doing it later down the road...


Powerwalls can absolutely be added later but the statement " i am assuming powerwalls can be added without too much additional costs later" depends on how you define "additional costs". Its going to cost you 11-12k to install one powerwall (average) and 18-22k to install 2 (average).

It wont be less expensive to do it later, and it may not be much less expensive to do it now, but tesla sometimes offers bundle deals to reduce the installation costs a bit (1-2k).

So, powerwalls are a significant cost, and will be so either now or later (unless those numbers above dont represent "significant costs" to you.

You shouldnt plan on putting solar panels on a roof that will not last the life of the solar panels, so your roof likely should be replaced.

Your stated cost of electricity, at $135 a month, tells me you dont use that much power, and you likely need to be looking at this for something other than a financial reason. Your electrical spend is not "that high" for california electrical costs.

Unless you are going to be in your current home for the forseeable future, or want to reduce your carbon footprint for non financial reasons, I am not sure all the upgrades you would have to do (roof, panel) make sense to get solar from anyone. Of course, if you are going to be there for 10-15 years or more, or simply "want to", or plan to drastically increase your electrical usage by putting in a pool, or getting an EV or 2, or something, thats different.
 

gpez

Member
Apr 25, 2019
659
536
USA
Hi jjrandorin,

Thanks for your feedback.

The additional cost i meant was will it be more expensive if PW is installed down the road. I think the answer is it will be as bundle discount won't be offered.

Yes, roof's age is my first concern. I need to know roughly how long more the roof will last. Hopefully the roofer can give me a honest answer today.

You are definitely right about the justification for me to install solar. I'm doing it for purely financial gain/cost saving (if there's is). With our low power consumption, it's rather hard to justify the costs as the pay back period is quite long unless i go with a 4 kW system. I don't own an EV yet but might get one in the future, that's why I plan to get a 8 kW system. From what I've read, it seems like it's relatively cheaper to upsize the system from the beginning instead of doing it later down the road...

If you go PV first with the intent of Powerwalls (or similar) later be sure to plan your layout accordingly. CA in particular has tough and changing rules for how much energy storage can be where and if you don't design ahead of time changes can be costly.
 
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h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,217
343
auburn, ca
If you go PV first with the intent of Powerwalls (or similar) later be sure to plan your layout accordingly. CA in particular has tough and changing rules for how much energy storage can be where and if you don't design ahead of time changes can be costly.
So true. This is why I put in lots of solar, since I had the justifications with usage at the time to get PGE approval.

And now the battery changes are the same way. So looking at how much I could get since the new rules, like only 5 in one area in July, imply things will not get easier, or cheaper in the future, so of which is now.
 
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MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.15
Mar 8, 2015
9,584
8,796
Colorado
Hi MorrisonHiker,

Thanks for your feedback.

From what i have read, i won't be able to deduct the roof replacement cost for tax. For the electrical panel upgrade, I meant to say Tesla was doing a free electrical upgrade for one guy. They usually charge additional costs.
What I meant to say is I might've been the guy on Youtube that you saw who got the free electrical upgrade. :) I've seen some got their roof fixed or replaced by Tesla early on too, when they didn't recognize an issue on the site visits and agreed on a contract. For both of our installs, they had to sister the beams in the garage roof and didn't charge any extra for that.

BTW, have you looked into community solar/solar farm? It's a way you can buy solar without installing it on your roof. We considered it but just went with regular solar so far. One benefit of solar + Powerwalls is that we can usually keep our solar system running if the grid is down. Without Powerwalls, your solar won't work. Similarly, if you only have community solar and no Powerwalls, your power will still go out if the grid goes down.

It might've been mentioned above, but you should consider the ITC tax credit of 26% that you could get on the Powerwalls. I know if you install them with solar, there's not a problem getting that tax credit.
 
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KHYE

Member
Jan 7, 2021
13
2
Los Angeles, CA
The youtube video i saw was from a guy in SOCAL:) My assumption is if i get the electrical panel upgraded separately by an electrician, i won't get the tax credit. But if I lump the upgrade with the solar installation project, I will get the tax credit on the electrical panel upgrade?

No, i know nothing about community solar. Not sure if it's available in CA. I have a propane/gas generator for blackout. The only reason I will install PW is to use it during peak hours instead of the grid.

What I meant to say is I might've been the guy on Youtube that you saw who got the free electrical upgrade. :) I've seen some got their roof fixed or replaced by Tesla early on too, when they didn't recognize an issue on the site visits and agreed on a contract. For both of our installs, they had to sister the beams in the garage roof and didn't charge any extra for that.

BTW, have you looked into community solar/solar farm? It's a way you can buy solar without installing it on your roof. We considered it but just went with regular solar so far. One benefit of solar + Powerwalls is that we can usually keep our solar system running if the grid is down. Without Powerwalls, your solar won't work. Similarly, if you only have community solar and no Powerwalls, your power will still go out if the grid goes down.

It might've been mentioned above, but you should consider the ITC tax credit of 26% that you could get on the Powerwalls. I know if you install them with solar, there's not a problem getting that tax credit.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,174
917
Silver Spring, MD
The youtube video i saw was from a guy in SOCAL:) My assumption is if i get the electrical panel upgraded separately by an electrician, i won't get the tax credit. But if I lump the upgrade with the solar installation project, I will get the tax credit on the electrical panel upgrade?
My fist suggestion would be to check with a tax expert to be sure in your case if there is any question. That said, my understanding is that if the electrical work is necessary for the solar, it would qualify for the credit. Technically, it would not matter if it is done by the same company, as long as the work was part of the necessary preparations for going to solar. It does probably makes it much easier in the event of an audit for all the work to be done under a single contract. If it is different people doing it, ideally the work would happen as close to the same time as possible since it would not be eligible if, for example, you went from 100A to 200A service a few years ago for other reasons, and now, discovering that the solar would have required that upgrade, you try to claim that old work. If all the work happens in relatively short order, it would avoid any other interpretation of why the electrical work was done.
 
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Ampster

Active Member
Oct 5, 2012
1,763
473
Sonoma, California
My assumption is if i get the electrical panel upgraded separately by an electrician, i won't get the tax credit. But if I lump the upgrade with the solar installation project, I will get the tax credit on the electrical panel upgrade?
I guess it depends on how you want to define "lump"? When I submit my expenses for renewable energy upgrades that qualify for the ITC I give them to my accountant as a lump sum. After 3 installations in the past 8 years sometimes the panel upgrade was included with the installation and in others it was not. I have treated the DIY hybrid inverter and batteries the same way. I keep all documents and some photos in case I am ever audited.
 
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