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Solar Shingles - Where to start?

I am in the process of putting addition on my home and am interested in doing the roof with the tesla solar shingles. Other than the tesla website that just asks for your info + deposit I can't seem to find any installers that I could contact to get info/quote. Anybody have details on this?
 

Big Earl

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I am in the process of putting addition on my home and am interested in doing the roof with the tesla solar shingles. Other than the tesla website that just asks for your info + deposit I can't seem to find any installers that I could contact to get info/quote. Anybody have details on this?

As far as I know, Tesla's website is the only place where you can initiate an order for the Tesla Solar Roof.
 
Thanks. I had gone to their website and put request in, but no response. I am in NJ and just don't know if anyone installs these and what the turn-around time is to get it scheduled

If tesla let's you put down a deposit, they service your area. You won't know scheduling until they get back to you, which happens quickly after the deposit. Usually takes a few weeks for system design, then they have to get permits, then they can schedule the start date.
 
Thats the problem... I wanted solar shingles as well when I did a roof replacement and couldn't find an installer that would do it for less than half of the price of my house. The installers seem to be the bottleneck... They kept trying to get me to buy regular solar panels and tried talking me out of shingles. I'm just going to keep waiting until people remove heads from behinds and actually does the work, or Tesla coordinates everything for me.
 
If tesla let's you put down a deposit, they service your area. You won't know scheduling until they get back to you, which happens quickly after the deposit. Usually takes a few weeks for system design, then they have to get permits, then they can schedule the start date.
This just sounds backwards. Why would I put a deposit down before I knew the cost and turn-around time? If it doesnt fit within my budget and I'm looking at months before they could install, its a deal breaker for me.
 
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This just sounds backwards. Why would I put a deposit down before I knew the cost and turn-around time? If it doesnt fit within my budget and I'm looking at months before they could install, its a deal breaker for me.
It's not a good setup as a customer, for sure, but I think Tesla can get away with it because right now, demand far exceeds supply. The deposit is essentially Tesla's way of saying "serious inquiries only." I guess the good news is it is only $100, instead of $1,000 as it used to be. I believe it is officially non-refundable, though I think in most cases it is refunded on request. (But no guarantees.)

Longer-term, it does seem like there should be changes to how the initial ordering process works, especially for the solar roof. While the deposit seems to mirror what they have done on the vehicle side, there are fare more unknowns when starting a solar roof project than buying a car.
 

jboy210

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It's not a good setup as a customer, for sure, but I think Tesla can get away with it because right now, demand far exceeds supply. The deposit is essentially Tesla's way of saying "serious inquiries only." I guess the good news is it is only $100, instead of $1,000 as it used to be. I believe it is officially non-refundable, though I think in most cases it is refunded on request. (But no guarantees.)

Longer-term, it does seem like there should be changes to how the initial ordering process works, especially for the solar roof. While the deposit seems to mirror what they have done on the vehicle side, there are fare more unknowns when starting a solar roof project than buying a car.
I am curious how you would change the process. Ours went pretty smooth, at least smoother than most of our other remodels.

After we went forward with the proposed design they came out and did a 4-hour inspection. After the inspection, they sent us an email saying the roof and electrical were OK and did we want to move forward. After we committed, they pulled permits and put us on the installation schedule. Our start date ended up about 3 months out in March. We started on time and completed 2 weeks late in early April because of virus-related construction halt.
 
I am curious how you would change the process. Ours went pretty smooth, at least smoother than most of our other remodels.

After we went forward with the proposed design they came out and did a 4-hour inspection. After the inspection, they sent us an email saying the roof and electrical were OK and did we want to move forward. After we committed, they pulled permits and put us on the installation schedule. Our start date ended up about 3 months out in March. We started on time and completed 2 weeks late in early April because of virus-related construction halt.
That is probably 1 of my biggest reservations... giving a deposit and then waiting almost 4 months for the job to be completed. Anybody building a house or doing a renovations would need a much quicker turnaround time from when the framing/sheathing is done, to when the roof needs to go on.
 

jboy210

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That is probably 1 of my biggest reservations... giving a deposit and then waiting almost 4 months for the job to be completed. Anybody building a house or doing a renovations would need a much quicker turnaround time from when the framing/sheathing is done, to when the roof needs to go on.
That only matters if you are building a new house or adding an addition. We were doing our second roof replacement. No change in home structure. Also, we have had multiple month-long delays on remodels. Good contractors are always booked months in advance. Right now we are 1/2 way through a 4-month wait for our preferred fence contractor to replace the back fence
 
That only matters if you are building a new house or adding an addition. We were doing our second roof replacement. No change in home structure. Also, we have had multiple month-long delays on remodels. Good contractors are always booked months in advance. Right now we are 1/2 way through a 4-month wait for our preferred fence contractor to replace the back fence
Right, but that is what they are saying is their sweet spot from a cost/ROI point of view. Either on a new home or addition.
 

jeremymc7

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Also keep in mind that there is huge skilled labor shortage, at least throughout the US. Many of the current trades employees are aging out and those trades are having trouble getting new 20's (or 30's) something simply seem to have no interested in physical labor. This had further driven up hourly rates to try and incentive new hires. I know contractors / owners that have a dozen or in some cases two dozen open positions (in large metro areas) and can't get people hired at any rate. The few that come through the door arrive late, dressed shabby, and unclean. Not like a total mess but given even they seem only half interested and after you put the money into training them they quit.
 

jboy210

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Right, but that is what they are saying is their sweet spot from a cost/ROI point of view. Either on a new home or addition.
I think most of their SolarRoof business comes from the replacement of existing roofs. Most of the customers are like us that want solar, but not solar panels.

As far as costs, they have comparisons for various types of roofs at Design your Solar Roof | Tesla. Their numbers imply they are cost-competitive with either an architectural (3D) composite shingle roof or ceramic tile roof plus solar. FWIW, a SolarGlass roof turned out to be a little cheaper on our home than replacing the ceramic tiles and adding solar.
 

jboy210

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Also keep in mind that there is huge skilled labor shortage, at least throughout the US. Many of the current trades employees are aging out and those trades are having trouble getting new 20's (or 30's) something simply seem to have no interested in physical labor. This had further driven up hourly rates to try and incentive new hires. I know contractors / owners that have a dozen or in some cases two dozen open positions (in large metro areas) and can't get people hired at any rate. The few that come through the door arrive late, dressed shabby, and unclean. Not like a total mess but given even they seem only half interested and after you put the money into training them they quit.
Or cannot pass a drug test.
 
I am curious how you would change the process. Ours went pretty smooth, at least smoother than most of our other remodels.

After we went forward with the proposed design they came out and did a 4-hour inspection. After the inspection, they sent us an email saying the roof and electrical were OK and did we want to move forward. After we committed, they pulled permits and put us on the installation schedule. Our start date ended up about 3 months out in March. We started on time and completed 2 weeks late in early April because of virus-related construction halt.
My timeline is actually very similar to yours for the v3 roof (we were close to moving forward with v2 before Tesla decided to stop those) - 10/2019 contract, work started 2/28/2020, PTO in July.... The issues I am talking about with it not being "a good setup as a customer" is being asked to make a deposit before really getting some basic information. Some of this might be found in parts of the website, but overall it feels like the deposit is required: before you can confirm Tesla services your area (and while it may be accurate that they won't take a deposit any longer if they don't service the area, it is not obvious or historically always true); before you can get general information on when an install might occur; before you can discuss general concepts of what is practical/possible.

As a customer, I would expect to be able to get some of this general information for a large project before making a deposit. And, for other major home renovations, this is typically reasonable. (Though, as with everything at that stage, you have to be aware that the answers will tend towards sooner/easier/cheaper than reality.) Obviously, a contractor isn't going to spend a ton of time if/until they think you are serious, but answering general questions and providing a free estimate is pretty typical, and Tesla doesn't really do that. (The estimators they have give you some idea, but it is not going to be as accurate as somebody doing an on-site visit.)

Like I said before, I understand why Tesla can get away with it, and we put down a deposit expecting to wait years, so it certainly worked for them, but I don't think it is customer-friently.
 

jboy210

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My timeline is actually very similar to yours for the v3 roof (we were close to moving forward with v2 before Tesla decided to stop those) - 10/2019 contract, work started 2/28/2020, PTO in July.... The issues I am talking about with it not being "a good setup as a customer" is being asked to make a deposit before really getting some basic information. Some of this might be found in parts of the website, but overall it feels like the deposit is required: before you can confirm Tesla services your area (and while it may be accurate that they won't take a deposit any longer if they don't service the area, it is not obvious or historically always true); before you can get general information on when an install might occur; before you can discuss general concepts of what is practical/possible.

As a customer, I would expect to be able to get some of this general information for a large project before making a deposit. And, for other major home renovations, this is typically reasonable. (Though, as with everything at that stage, you have to be aware that the answers will tend towards sooner/easier/cheaper than reality.) Obviously, a contractor isn't going to spend a ton of time if/until they think you are serious, but answering general questions and providing a free estimate is pretty typical, and Tesla doesn't really do that. (The estimators they have give you some idea, but it is not going to be as accurate as somebody doing an on-site visit.)

Like I said before, I understand why Tesla can get away with it, and we put down a deposit expecting to wait years, so it certainly worked for them, but I don't think it is customer-friently.
I guess I was OK with pay $100 to get a quote. For that money, we got the layout and a couple of options with associated prices. And Tesla stuck to the quote to the penny. But, if they would have found something in the inspection I would have expected the price to change.

Maybe this because we have done a lot of remodeling over the past 6 years or so, or watched too many HGTV reno shows where something always goes wrong. But, I was expecting a 20-30% increase in budget mid-project like all our other projects as the scope crept up. Tesla did a lot of work for free such as removing rafter tails, replacing and repainting trim boards, fixing vents, and rerouting gutter drains for which I fully expected them to charge us extra.
 
I guess I was OK with pay $100 to get a quote. For that money, we got the layout and a couple of options with associated prices. And Tesla stuck to the quote to the penny. But, if they would have found something in the inspection I would have expected the price to change.

Maybe this because we have done a lot of remodeling over the past 6 years or so, or watched too many HGTV reno shows where something always goes wrong. But, I was expecting a 20-30% increase in budget mid-project like all our other projects as the scope crept up. Tesla did a lot of work for free such as removing rafter tails, replacing and repainting trim boards, fixing vents, and rerouting gutter drains for which I fully expected them to charge us extra.
In the end, I don't disagree with this - we also paid to the penny what was quoted, and they did some things beyond what was required. But, that doesn't change the issue, which is the point of entry for new customers. Even if it turns out those customers would have been very happy with the end result, it creates a barrier that might lose them customers. (Though, again, it probably doesn't matter much at least in the short-term if they are at capacity for install work.)
 

jboy210

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Dec 2, 2016
6,551
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Northern California
In the end, I don't disagree with this - we also paid to the penny what was quoted, and they did some things beyond what was required. But, that doesn't change the issue, which is the point of entry for new customers. Even if it turns out those customers would have been very happy with the end result, it creates a barrier that might lose them customers. (Though, again, it probably doesn't matter much at least in the short-term if they are at capacity for install work.)
I think it is part of Tesla's model to not play Q & A for very long with customers or potential customers on all products, solar, cars. etc. Also not deals, the price is the price. Q & A gets pushed to things like YouTube and other social channels so much. These are an unpaid Tesla sales force, and demand creators.

This also lets Tesla run a lean organization and sell solar for considerably less than the competition. And the lower price is one of the biggest deal closers for Tesla Solar. You see in these threads all the time that people complain about lack of contact, lack of service and end with "if the price was not $xx thousand less than anyone I would have gone elsewhere."
 
So here is my dilemma... The contractor just finished framing and sheathing the roof on my addition. I can certainly tarp the roof to protect it while I wait for Tesla... but I can't wait 3 moths here. Even if they were just able to put the shingles etc on and then come back later to hook up the electrical pieces would be acceptable. This is the type of info I would expect to get from a normal contractor, where with Tesla there is no communication it seems (just put your deposit down and wait/pray)
 

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