November 18, 2016
Tesla Solar Roof Tiles Cheaper Than Regular Roofing Shingles Even Without Subsidies? Elon Musk Removes Last Financial Hurdle While Opting For Eco-Friendly Power Source

Tesla's new solar roof product will cost less than regular roofing shingles, proclaimed Elon Musk. The savings are applicable even before the solar roof starts powering the house.

"Electricity is just a bonus," he promised.

Tesla's recently unveiled solar roof will be cheaper than regular roofing tiles, thereby eliminating the primary concern of homeowners when opting for eco-friendly power generation. Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised that the company's solar tiles, which are available in a number of shades, would actually cost less than traditional rooftop shingles not just to manufacture, but also to get the roof up and running.

More than 85 percent of Tesla shareholders approved the acquisition of SolarCity today (November 18). Claiming to have returned from a meeting with the SolarCity engineering team about the solar roof, Musk said he feels confident that they could deliver the product at a lower cost than a regular roof, reported Bloomberg.

While the common assumption is that the high purchasing cost would be steadily offset by electricity produced by these roofing shingles, Musk clarified that the savings are applicable even before energy production. In other words, the solar roofing shingles that SolarCity will produce are cheaper than regular roofing tiles that do nothing except offer protection from the elements. If the claims hold true, homeowners wouldn't have any reason to pass on a solar roof when reroofing or installing a new one during construction.

After Elon Musk unveiled the new solar roofs a few weeks ago, those associated with the company have been careful in choosing their words regarding the financial aspect and savings. Tesla officials have referred to the solar roof's price as "less than the price of a regular roof when accounting for energy generation."
In other words, these tiles could be considered cheaper than a regular roof only after the homeowner accounts for the savings on the electricity bills. These statements made sense primarily because solar roofs have always been considered a more expensive proposition as an upfront investment. However, the electricity savings would gradually add up and make the energy generating tiles as competitive, if not cheaper, than regular roofing solutions.
Musk's claims that the SolarCity's products would cost even less than a regular roof upfront will certainly give homeowners a lot to think about regarding renewable energy.

During his meeting, Musk said, "It's looking quite promising that a solar roof actually cost less than normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account. So the basic proposition would be 'Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity' why would you get anything else?"

Astonishingly, the savings are applicable even after including the labor costs and excluding the substantial federal subsidies extended for going green and opting for renewable energy sources over conventional ones.

How can Tesla's solar roofing tiles be cheaper than a regular roof? Elon Musk's surprising answer to the perplexing question was the "roofing supply chain," which he claimed was "incredibly inefficient." Tesla CTO JB Straubel had observed earlier that the cost of the products was linked to their weight, but they were majorly produced in volume.
Musk claimed there were "huge gains" to be made just by "cleaning up" the supply chain, reported Electrek. However, it is quite apparent that Musk would have to factor in a substantial jump in demand and deployment of solar roofs to homes that need a new roof in the immediate future. Statistically, five million homes are constructed each year in the U.S. alone. If Musk can streamline the supply chain and ensure a large number of these homes opt for his solar roofs, the company could still make a handsome profit, despite offering a roof that produces electricity at a cheaper price against one that merely covers the house.

[Featured Image by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images]