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New Construction Solar Roof?

Apr 22, 2017
40
11
Denver, Colorado
Does anyone know any new developments of this? Everything I’ve seen has been pre Nov 2020.

I am purchasing a new construction through a builder (not custom, just choosing a build plan). The home hasn’t been started yet but is slated to be completed in July.
I’d like to get the solar roof if possible. Does anyone know how this typically works? Can I work with the builder to not do conventional roofing and let them know I want to do Tesla Solar Roof and then work with Tesla and the builder to schedule when they could do the install?

has anyone done anything like this? The process seems very confusing and different from individual to individual but it looks like so far those who’ve done new construction with Solar Roof has been custom builds.

I don’t suppose the builder would take out the charges for the roofing but maybe they would contract with Tesla? & I wonder how this would work from a loan perspective I’m not sure that my lender would be able to work in that pricing given it’s not exact until Tesla is able to quote an actual cost.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,100
817
Silver Spring, MD
Hopefully you will get somebody with recent experience, but I think your best bet is going to be calling Tesla and hoping they can get you to the people that will answer your questions. Pudding a solar roof on new construction seems like such an obvious market that it surprises me how uninterested Tesla seems to be in trying to make those projects work.

My guess is they won't work as a subcontractor to your builder - having a contract directly with the homeowner seemed to be something they were adamant about with others trying to do what you are doing. And, it seems like they won't commit to specific timing. The best case (that I think - but am not certain - somebody else worked out) was to get good enough timing such that your builder could put on an underlayment layer that Tesla would replace within several weeks when they put on the solar roof.

If you are able to move forward, it is also worth trying to make sure any other roof-related issues are addressed.... There was just a discussion about skylights and solar roof, as an example, but things like whether gutters should be installed before the roof should also be discussed.
 
Apr 22, 2017
40
11
Denver, Colorado
Thanks guys.
I’m in Colorado and someone in the Tesla forums posted back in June 2020 about a new construction too.

Yea it’s crazy to me that they don’t support this market yet. & I’ve seen ppl ask since 2019.

I guess for my electricity usage I wouldn’t need the roof living by myself, but I figure it would just add a lot more value to the home itself, and I live in Colorado where we get 300 days of sun a year.
 

pdx_m3s

Active Member
May 18, 2019
1,247
1,069
Portland, OR
Will you own the property before the house is finished? Or is closing not until the house move-in ready? If the latter, I think it would be very ill-advised to go down this route for multiple reasons.

Your best bet is to probably work with Tesla’s new construction team for solar panels. This is what I did, and you can get everything lined up before closing so they can install them shortly after.
 

wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,100
817
Silver Spring, MD
The issue is that working on new construction is a different beast than a retrofit and it takes a lot of coordination to do right.

There will be multiple truck rolls to finish the project in stages, and Tesla has so much work they can pick and choose.
No doubt this is the answer, though it is unfortunate and possibly a bit short-sited for Tesla in that most of these customers likely won't consider a solar roof again for decades (though they might go for Tesla panels.) With replacement roof work, there is sometimes more room to delay if the old roof hasn't completely failed.
 

Vines

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,854
2,139
Silicon Valley, CA
Also, things like sun-tunnels and vents are typically just thrown in when needed. The other trades probably weren't prepared with their bids for the extras to make the plumbing and glazing solar roof friendly. Then there's the gutters, architects and painters that all may have needs.

Tesla has one speed with Solar roofs, and I agree its not ideal. From their perspective, just put down cheap rolled composite roofing and wait until everything is done and they will come then as basically a retrofit. This way all vents are what they are, painting wont get on the glass, skylights wont need to be relocated. Maybe they would use a provided internal raceway, depending on what they need.

The AHJ rules for solar glass are changing too. Some AHJ require a waiver that says that the homeowner acknowledging firefighters will not perform any rooftop operations if your house is on fire.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
4,857
2,983
Northern California
If you were a custom build I think the probability would be a lot better. With a tract home, the builder has probably factored in the bulk roof discount from their subs into the price. So going with a solar roof could be a substantial price increase. Ours was $60K before Powerwalls. That did include removing the old roof, which was 2 days of labor, and new gutters. For comparison, a simple "asphalt" type shingle replacement roof started around $17,000, and architectural shingles (3D-look) were about $26,000.
 

Markm287

Member
Feb 27, 2021
12
10
Mechanicsburg, PA
My wife and I are in the process of having a custom home built in Mechanicsburg, PA right now. Our builder was very supportive with the painful process of dealing with Tesla. We made it known with the builder from day 1 that we planned on doing the Tesla solar roof and Powerwalls. The builders put a conduit from the attic to the basement next to the breaker panels where we are installing all the equipment and Powerwalls and a conduit from the panels to the outdoor electric meter for the outdoor disconnect. We started planning our home in October 2019 and started construction August 2020. We are scheduled for completion in May 2021. We contacted Tesla in February 2020, signed a contract in May 2020, and installation started February 23, 2021. Installation is supposed to take 2-3 weeks. I will gladly answer any questions. System is 14.85 KWh and 2 Powerwalls. Initially planned on 4 Powerwalls (2 Powerwalls per 200A panel) but Tesla submitted permitting as 4 Powerwalls on 1 of the 2 200A panels and it was going to cost about $5K more to make it whole home backup so we switched to just 2 Powerwalls for now and will add 2 more in about a year. I would be glad to answer any questions for anyone about this process. Spoiler alert: Tesla is a huge pain in the ass with this.
 
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wjgjr

Active Member
May 11, 2020
1,100
817
Silver Spring, MD
My wife and I are in the process of having a custom home built in Mechanicsburg, PA right now. Our builder was very supportive with the painful process of dealing with Tesla. We made it known with the builder from day 1 that we planned on doing the Tesla solar roof and Powerwalls. The builders put a conduit from the attic to the basement next to the breaker panels where we are installing all the equipment and Powerwalls and a conduit from the panels to the outdoor electric meter for the outdoor disconnect. We started planning our home in October 2019 and started construction August 2020. We are scheduled for completion in May 2021. We contacted Tesla in February 2020, signed a contract in May 2020, and installation started February 23, 2021. Installation is supposed to take 2-3 weeks. I will gladly answer any questions. System is 14.85 KWh and 2 Powerwalls. Initially planned on 4 Powerwalls (2 Powerwalls per 200A panel) but Tesla submitted permitting as 4 Powerwalls on 1 of the 2 200A panels and it was going to cost about $5K more to make it whole home backup so we switched to just 2 Powerwalls for now and will add 2 more in about a year. I would be glad to answer any questions for anyone about this process. Spoiler alert: Tesla is a huge pain in the ass with this.
Glad you were able to make it work, as I'm not surprised by the spoiler.... For others who might follow your path, how much, if any, direction did you get from Tesla regarding the conduit? There have been other stories of Tesla refusing to use conduit they did not install, potentially unless it exactly matched specifications they provided. It would suck to have a nice new home and immediately have to tear into it (or run external conduit as we did with an existing home) because the builder-installed conduit was not what Tesla wants.
 

Markm287

Member
Feb 27, 2021
12
10
Mechanicsburg, PA
Glad you were able to make it work, as I'm not surprised by the spoiler.... For others who might follow your path, how much, if any, direction did you get from Tesla regarding the conduit? There have been other stories of Tesla refusing to use conduit they did not install, potentially unless it exactly matched specifications they provided. It would suck to have a nice new home and immediately have to tear into it (or run external conduit as we did with an existing home) because the builder-installed conduit was not what Tesla wants.

We tried asking what they would want but of course we couldn’t get in touch with the project advisor for several months at a time so they just did 2 2” conduits. When we finally got in touch with the project advisor, they said that would be fine. The architect and on site project manager during the walk through said that would be fine and they probably need only 1 of them.
 

macbeth

Member
Nov 6, 2014
73
20
United States
I would love to see this system, we are starting our solar roof sometime later this year after a project completes at our home. I am 30 minutes south of you in Western MD. I would love to see pictures of the progress if you chose to post them.

Good luck .
 

Markm287

Member
Feb 27, 2021
12
10
Mechanicsburg, PA
8C346149-093C-4A27-AEA8-4710839F71AB.jpeg
I only have one picture that is far away from my builder. I live to far away from the house to see it often. Probably the next time I get to go, the roof will be entirely done. This picture is from day 3 of work. They removed the underpayment placed by the builder to protect the house through the winter and were almost done placing the Tesla underlayment.
 

damenBlue

New Member
Mar 22, 2021
3
0
Maryland
@Markm287 i am not sure how far you are in the process but from the picture, it looks like you solar roofing shingles were ready to be installed. Did you find yourself being held hostage by Tesla's timing/response in terms of the construction of your house? I have a new custom build and hope to break ground in a month. I signed a contract with Tesla in February 2021 and it's been hell trying to deal with my project coordinator. Did Tesla refer you to any 3rd party roofers in your dealings with them?
 

[email protected]

New Member
Apr 10, 2021
2
3
California
Got an over 50% price increase on my solar roof for my new construction project. This is after months of project delay(worth more than $10000) and $4000 on special water proofing requested by Tesla.
Selling my Tesla cars and Tesla shares. I'm done with them.
 
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EVRider-FL

Member
Aug 18, 2015
200
100
South Florida
Last summer I tried to engage Tesla to install a Solar Roof on a new home we’re building in south FL, but they only had a few advisors who could handle new construction and it was very difficult to get in touch with any of them. I don’t think they’ve scaled to the point where they could meet the requirements of a new construction schedule. Besides that, my builder didn’t want to deal with them.

I’m using a third party company (ProSolar) to install solar panels and Powerwalls.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,066
624
East Bay NorCal
Got an over 50% price increase on my solar roof for my new construction project. This is after months of project delay(worth more than $10000) and $4000 on special water proofing requested by Tesla.
Selling my Tesla cars and Tesla shares. I'm done with them.


Wow that sucks... IMO your situation actually has reasonably quantifiable damages that you suffered because you had investment specific to their shingle roof and the pricing of the previous contract terms. Plus your situation is new construction, so you have more reliance on their delivery than someone else who already has an existing roof.

California Small Claims has a limit of $10,000 and typically requires you to appear in person. This mechanism seems like a possibility for you.

Hopefully you have receipts, bills, or line-items from other contractor POs that clearly state their costs included items in expectation of a Tesla solar roof. For example, special architectural review, specific gutters that work with Tesla's product, load-bearing requirements unique to the solar roof, or you modified your roof slope. The key is to quantify the costs/damages that you really incurred. Trying to argue that the 50% price increase is in itself a damage is very difficult without a competing bid from another solar shingle roof vendor that you passed on because you chose Tesla's offer.

If you cannot get specific line items on your POs,, I've even seen situations where a licensed expert's sworn affidavit can be used where they quantify the costs. Although in this case the only existing "Solar Roof Experts" are probably related to Tesla Solar and could be barred by Tesla's from disclosing such trade secrets.

Naturally, the risk of dealing with this type of hassle is you still have to have an arbitrator actually determine Tesla has some responsibility/fault to cure your situation. Since you likely signed Tesla's boilerplate contract without any modifications... Tesla gave themselves many vaguely worded opportunities to modify pricing for just about any circumstance without breaching the terms of the agreement. But, an arbitrator may view their contract to be too one sided and award you damages anyway. The key is to quantify those damages...

Obviously you should consider talking to a lawyer about this situation instead of relying on my posting on TMC. Good luck.
 
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pdx_m3s

Active Member
May 18, 2019
1,247
1,069
Portland, OR
Got an over 50% price increase on my solar roof for my new construction project. This is after months of project delay(worth more than $10000) and $4000 on special water proofing requested by Tesla.
Selling my Tesla cars and Tesla shares. I'm done with them.

Sorry to hear. Can't blame you for your reaction. I would have considered the same. The arrogance of this company is on another level, they just happen to make killer products too.
 

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