With Tesla releasing its online cost calculator, homeowners now have a sense of what a new Tesla Solar Roof would cost. However, here are three things you should know about that calculation.
1. Tesla’s Calculator Does Not Overestimate Tax Incentives
Solar roof tax incentives are designed to be used for solar roofs and solar panels, yet Tesla’s roof is only partly solar. Made up of functional photovoltaic tiles and pure glass nonsolar tiles, not all of Tesla’s roof will qualify for tax credits. That’s because the tax credit applies only to solar-producing tiles and Tesla’s Powerwall battery, assuming it’s installed at the same time as the tiles.
So that means that if your roof has a 60/40 split between solar and nonsolar tiles, the tax break wouldn’t apply to the 40 percent of tiles that don’t produce electricity. However, Consumer Reports’ statisticians ran six hypothetical projects through Tesla’s Solar Roof calculator and found that the calculator does accurately apply the 30 percent tax credit only to solar-producing tiles plus any Powerwalls – meaning it doesn’t include the cost of nonsolar tiles.
However, you should also know that the tax credit is being phased out: The 30 percent is good through 2019, then it drops to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021 before expiring in 2022.
2. Energy Prices Affect Potential Long-Term Savings
It’s hard to know just what electricity will cost years from now because that number is based on many factors such as demand and government policy. In order to project energy savings, Tesla’s Solar Roof calculator assumes your electric bill will increase by 2 percent each year for the next 30 years, meaning that 30 years from now you’ll be paying about 78 percent more for electricity than you are today. That is all well and good, however, should energy costs stay low – as of right now, the U.S. is in the midst of an energy boom – it could dramatically alter the cost-benefit analysis of installing the Solar Roof.
3. Your Real Electricity Use Will Affect Your Potential Savings
While Tesla’s cost calculator pulls data from the Energy Information Administration to determine your local rate for electricity and to provide your potential savings over the life of the Solar Roof, this number can vary greatly depending on your energy-use habits. For example, if you typically leave the lights on, doesn’t replace old appliances with new Energy Star certified ones, or old lightbulbs with new LED ones, the amount you can save with the Solar Roof will be reduced.
However, you can also account for this by clicking “edit assumptions” on the calculator, and entering your own average monthly electric bill and using that figure to get a more accurate picture of how you’d fare.
This article is brought to you by ASAP Roofing, a national roofing company that specializes in hail damage, roofing restoration and weatherization. ASAP has offices in Dallas, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.