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Steel solar roof tiles?

slcasner

Active Member
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2011
1,532
1,066
Sunnyvale, CA
I received the following message in email today:
As we prepare for your Solar Roof installation, we wanted to let you know about an update to our equipment.​
Your Solar Roof will now feature steel tiles capable of fitting complex roof angles with no aesthetic compromise on non-solar portions of the roof. This design improvement can also help reduce installation timelines.​
Has anyone here seen these steel tiles yet? Have any been installed yet? Is it stainless steel to avoid rusting?
 
I received the following message in email today:
As we prepare for your Solar Roof installation, we wanted to let you know about an update to our equipment.​
Your Solar Roof will now feature steel tiles capable of fitting complex roof angles with no aesthetic compromise on non-solar portions of the roof. This design improvement can also help reduce installation timelines.​
Has anyone here seen these steel tiles yet? Have any been installed yet? Is it stainless steel to avoid rusting?
When is you installation scheduled for?

Mine isn’t officially scheduled yet but should be in 1 or 2 months. I’m curious to learn more about this change. It’s the first I’ve heard of it.
 
Very interesting - a disproportionately high amount of labor on our install was spent cutting and fitting pieces for all the various roof plane changes and edges, and it sounds like this is a solution to some of that by having pieces pre-made for more of these circumstances.

I haven't seen any mention of this before, so it might be a very new update, so probably worth getting some more info from Tesla. That said, I would certainly think they are using something that will hold up for 25 years, assuming the warranty is still the same.

Maybe the steel is to use all the scrap from cybertruck....
 
There was a thread on this today in the FB Tesla Energy group. It sounded like they are moving to use these new metal tiles in lieu of the non-active glass tiles they used to use. Supposedly part of the reason for these new tiles is that the metal can be formed to complex angles (where the glass tiles obviously cannot). I assume it is less expensive to manufacturer as well.
 
Interesting. I heard a rumor from my installers that they were planning on moving away from glass non-PV tiles, but from cost and reliability perspective.

I had a lot of broken glass tiles during my install, we're still finding pieces in our yard. Some of the guys mentioned that they may start doing metal tiles instead, which eliminates the risk of glass shattering. Seems like a win-win to me as long as it looks OK.
 
The borders were steel already so I am not sure what has changed other than maybe using the same material in a bigger form factor to the non active tiles?
That's right, they were talking about the non PV full tiles being metal instead of glass.

Anyone with little kids will be better off with metal. Broken glass in my back yard is not fun with the kids running around back there.
 

MorrisonHiker

Well-Known Member
Moderator
Mar 8, 2015
10,553
10,590
Colorado
Makes sense from a cost perspective. Anyone seen it to tell if it impacts the looks of the different roof portions? I would think the difference between glass and steel non-PV tiles would be a lot more obvious. On the positive side.... maybe solar roof price is about to drop a little!
I'm not familiar with recent prices but when we used the website to compare solar panels with solar roof a couple years back, the solar roof would've cost 80% more than solar panels. Now a solar roof would only be 13% more than what we paid for panels two years ago. Of course the price for panels has greatly decreased over the past two years as well. We're still glad we put in solar when we did but it will be hard to justify upgrading to a solar roof unless we have a really bad hail storm one of these years.
 

aesculus

Still Trying to Figure This All Out
May 31, 2015
4,769
2,747
Northern California
My installation should be happening soon. I too am concerned that the glass/metal contrast will look patchy. I can’t imagine Tesla would roll out that something that won’t look good.
As I stated above, the borders were already steel. It sounds like they are just using the same material for the filler tiles now. Here is a picture with each of the types. There is a bit of a difference and I am glad I have the glass ones but it's not huge IMHO.

IMG_1679.JPG
 
As I stated above, the borders were already steel. It sounds like they are just using the same material for the filler tiles now. Here is a picture with each of the types. There is a bit of a difference and I am glad I have the glass ones but it's not huge IMHO.

View attachment 647880
They already make metal tiles that are textured the same as the glass tiles, but they were not heavy duty enough to walk on. I used a few to cover up the stair step weather proofing on my chimney.

20210310_083756.jpg
 
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Reactions: FlatSix911

slcasner

Active Member
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2011
1,532
1,066
Sunnyvale, CA
If the steel tiles are not strong enough to walk on, that is a problem. With my existing roof and 20-year-old solar panels I go up on the roof to clean the panels periodically.

Also, regarding appearance, the comments above are that the difference is slight. But I wonder how that will change with age.
 
If the steel tiles are not strong enough to walk on, that is a problem. With my existing roof and 20-year-old solar panels I go up on the roof to clean the panels periodically.

Also, regarding appearance, the comments above are that the difference is slight. But I wonder how that will change with age.
I'm assuming the new metal tiles will be stronger and be set up to work with the roof attachment system.
 
My advisor confirmed today that the new non active tiles are metal. My install is happening soon and I’m concerned that they will age differently and eventually look different than the glass. There is no ‘aesthetics warranty’ after all. I assume almost nobody has seen these in the real world at this point, which wouldn’t matter anyway given the long term aesthetic concerns.

other details he shared:

they are ‘uv painted’ and look ‘exactly’ the same as glass- just hearing anything about paint has me concerned when it comes to weatherizing.

I think he said only entirely non active planes will be metal. Non active tiles adjacent to active tiles will still be glass. This indicates that it would indeed look patchy if metal/glass tiles were adjacent unless there is some physical incompatibility with the install.

they are stronger than glass- makes no sense because most of the roof is still glass so what’s the point?!

I will only have two entirely inactive planes, one of which is very visible from the street, so the aesthetics over time have me concerned.

if the point of this is cost savings, that’s not too reassuring. I’m not sure what else the point would be.

Can others in the design phase for solar roof inquire and see if you get similar answers??

thanks.
 
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Reactions: cobra
I got the same email last week. I'm also a block from salt water and wonder how well the finish will protect all that steel from rusting... I've got quotes from roofing companies for a standing seam metal roof and they are not for steel....they are for aluminum for corrosion purposes..
 

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