Tesla tells customers they’ll have to pay more for solar roof

Tesla has jacked up the value of its photo voltaic roof, which integrates photo voltaic panels straight into roof tiles, Electrek experiences. A 12.3 kW method that Electrek priced at $54,966 past summer season now expenses a lot more than $70,000, according to Tesla’s on the web calculator.

Customers report that Tesla is not only elevating price ranges for foreseeable future solar roof installations—it’s demanding extra funds from some existing shoppers whose panels haven’t been put in yet.

“Tesla has reneged on its solar roof contracts and has elevated the selling prices for folks (like me) who have by now signed agreement with them,” a single Ars reader informed us. “For instance, they are asking for an further $21,000 for my undertaking from about $66,000 to $87,000.”

A further shopper shared a equivalent tale with The Verge:

A single photo voltaic roof customer told The Verge he signed a agreement in February to install the solar roof for $35,000, with an more $30,000 for the batteries. Afterwards, he received a “terse email” from Tesla stating that in various times he would receive a new deal with greater rates. He was informed he now owed $75,000 for the solar roof—a 114 % increase—and $35,000 for the batteries.

Part of the selling price maximize may possibly mirror Tesla’s realization that not all roofs are equally quick to address with photo voltaic panels. Tesla’s on the web price estimator now asks customers about their “roof complexity,” which is “established by the pitch, number of joints, chimneys, and other functions on your roof.” Tesla warns that “complicated roofs choose extra time and content to set up than simple roofs.”

If Tesla’s online cost calculator for solar roof is exact, its new, better selling prices are nonetheless reasonably competitive with traditional photo voltaic panels—at least below in the District of Columbia. In 2019, I paid out $35,538 for an 8.5 kW program, paying $12,000 for a new roof at the exact time. Currently, Tesla estimates that a 8.5 kW technique would charge $36,783 for a “straightforward” roof. That compares favorably to the $47,538 I paid for photo voltaic panels and a new roof 18 months back. Of training course, photo voltaic panel rates have ongoing to fall in the past 18 months, so typical photo voltaic panels would likely expense considerably less if I requested them nowadays.

Tesla’s photo voltaic roof evidently are unable to reach the similar electricity density as standard photo voltaic panels. I put in 8.5 kW well worth of traditional solar panels on my roof, which is all-around 1,000 sq. feet. In contrast, Tesla’s calculator suggests that it will take much more than 1,400 square feet of roof to in shape 8.5 kW worth of photo voltaic roof tiles.

There is also no warranty that Tesla won’t improve its estimate as soon as it sends anyone to truly search at your residence. The price tag calculated by Tesla’s web-site is only an preliminary estimate.

Solar roof has a troubled historical past

Tesla’s photo voltaic roof dates back again to 2016, the 12 months Tesla bought SolarCity, a solar panel set up firm established by two of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s cousins. Prior to the merger, SolarCity mounted traditional photo voltaic panels that sit previously mentioned a customer’s roof (Tesla carries on to install standard solar panels today). But in 2016, weeks just before the SolarCity deal was owing to near, Tesla announced the solar roof venture, which functions roofing tiles that double as photo voltaic panels.

Tesla started out accepting preorders for solar roof in Could 2017. In August 2018, Musk explained to investors that Tesla experienced “various hundred photo voltaic roofs” put in. But the organization then quickly walked that assertion back again, clarifying that Musk was together with folks who had been scheduled for roof installations but hadn’t gotten them still. The exact thirty day period, Reuters described that Tesla was having difficulties to manufacture roof tiles at its solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York.

In 2019, Tesla introduced it was slashing rates for the solar roof in an exertion to strengthen sluggish need for the merchandise. In 2020, Tesla canceled the orders of some buyers since they were being out of Tesla’s assistance location. At the identical time, Tesla mentioned it experienced “about tripled” solar roof installations among the initial and second quarters of 2020.

Tesla’s Q3 2020 earnings report bragged that Tesla experienced lowered the time necessary to install a photo voltaic roof to as minor as 1.5 days. “We continue on to onboard hundreds of electricians and roofers to improve this organization,” Tesla wrote. Tesla’s Q4 2020 earnings report said that the firm “designed terrific development expanding our Solar Roof deployments,” but it failed to supply any challenging numbers.

All of which is to say that, following years of delays and setbacks, Tesla could be lastly advertising the solar roof at important scale. And the enterprise has evidently uncovered that the expenses of setting up a photo voltaic roof are bigger than beforehand expected for lots of prospects.

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