Tesla Installed The Solar Roof On Our New Home — CleanTechnica Exclusive

Our new home was one of the first new homes Tesla installed its solar roof on worldwide. All previous installations were retrofits where an existing roof of an existing house was replaced with a new Tesla solar roof. As an installation in a brand new home, we were able to see parts of the Tesla solar roof installation that had never been seen before. During the installation of the solar roof, we regularly visited our house construction and documented the process with photos in the house, on the roof and from the air with a drone.

Photo credit: Chuck Field

Our Tesla solar roof installation was completed last week when Tesla’s power engineers turned the system on for the first time to make sure everything was working as expected. The time for our reconstruction was not in our hands, as our house burned down in the Thomas fire on December 5th, 2017.

Because we were so early in the process, our Tesla solar roof uses version 2 of the Tesla solar roof tiles. The smaller version 2 tiles are much more similar to the roof tiles that are common on Spanish tile, slate, or concrete tile roofs. The newer version 3 of Tesla’s solar roof tiles is significantly larger, allowing Tesla customers to generate even more solar energy per tile. More importantly, the larger tiles for Tesla are easier to make and install.

Version 2 of Tesla solar roof tiles and cabling on the underlay of our roof. Photo credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

I’ve dealt with Clean Tech and Tesla on a daily basis and knew that Tesla is still working to optimize its solar roof product. Version 3 of the Tesla solar roof was announced even before our solar roof was fully installed. Version 3 of the solar roof takes all of the lessons Tesla learned from the first two iterations of the product and optimizes them for manufacturing, cost, installation time, solar generation, durability and more.

Use my reference code (https://ts.la/kyle623) to do the numbers yourself on a Tesla Solar Roof, Solar, or Powerwall in about two minutes and you can save $ 100. Tesla is just one of many solar providers, so don’t go with Tesla just because I did. Remember, before making what I believed to be the best decision for my family, I compared offers from Sunrun, Sun Power, sonnen, and Tesla, and recommend that you do the same.


Open a new market

By installing the solar roof in new homes, Tesla is getting a foot in the door to a completely new market segment. In California, Tesla is gaining access to the new California housing market, where solar power is becoming ubiquitous. As of 2020, a new California mandate requires all new homes to be solar powered from day one.

As one of the first building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products that can be installed as part of the house rather than as a screw-on product, Tesla has a market advantage. In most of the country and much of the world, the Tesla solar roof is cheaper than the cost of a new roof plus the cost of electricity over 25 years.

Photo credit: Chuck Field

With solar panels installed in all new homes from day one, aesthetics are increasingly becoming a key differentiator, not just for solar companies but also for home builders looking to stand out from the crowd. Many home buyers prefer the look of an integrated solar roof over a bolt-on solar panel system, which could make the Tesla solar roof a preferred option for home builders looking to attract more customers to their developments.

The clear, modern appearance of the Tesla solar roof stands out from the crowd and is a solution that doesn’t look like a retrofit. That fact alone turned out to be one of the deciding factors for my wife in choosing the Tesla solar roof for our home, and I’m sure we don’t want solar alone without panels having to be screwed to the otherwise beautiful lines of the house.

The process

On the engineering side, we worked directly with Tesla to determine the size of the system. We sent them the roof plan and some plans for the house. From there, they determined what size system they could install on the roof and asked us how much power we wanted from it. They were able to scale the system to a fixed maximum output based on the arrangement of the roof, or downsize it by replacing roof tiles with photovoltaic cells in them with non-producing glass tiles.

Photo credit: Chuck Field

Since we didn’t have gas to the house and everything will be powered by electricity, we wanted the maximum performance from the system that Tesla can provide. That meant installing solar tiles on the roofs facing north, south, east and west. Maximizing the solar production from each tile is not ideal, but maximizing the system’s performance made sense for our situation. We signed the contract and spent an additional $ 2,500 on a site survey.

At that point, Tesla’s project manager for our installation was in contact with our general contractor, Kenny Kuhnhofer of Kuhnhofer Builders in Ventura, California, to coordinate the timing of the installation and tell the builders on the electrical side what they need. This is our first time building a house so I can’t compare it to typical rooftop installations, but Kenny was great at working directly with Tesla’s team on the installation and schedule.

Photo credit: Chuck Field

Since our house is two stories, the upper roof was installed a few weeks before the lower roof, which had to wait for the stucco to be installed on the house. At that point, the Tesla team will return to complete the roof installation, wire the inverters, install the powerwalls, and fit in any other extras required for the completion.

Scroll down to see the components in the Tesla solar roof in a short video. Alternatively, check out one of my previous articles where I looked at the components that go with installing aTesla Solar Roof Version 2.

To save $ 100 on a new Tesla solar system, use my Tesla Referral Code on your purchase: http://ts.la/kyle623. In this way, we also receive free money from Tesla and can better cover all kinds of clean technology in the future.

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