Solar City panels versus Tesla Solar roof tiles

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theishu

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#1
We recently got a quote and preliminary design for solar panels installation from SolarCity (interestingly, it's still called SolarCity, not sure why). We then went and checked the online price calculator for Tesla Solar roof tiles.

Obviously the panels are cheaper for now, plus there's a federal credit to take advantage of. But I'm hesitant to put down $20K into a technology that appears to be quickly changing, and we don't even know the full set of features/advantages of the solar roof tiles yet.

Can someone with enough experience and knowledge please advise? Mucho thanks in advance!
 

Rich Nuth

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#2
Tesla is not ready to deliver roof tiles to the entire country yet. And only 2 of the 4 tile styles are available today. If you are in no hurry, and need a new roof anyway, then waiting for the roof tiles might be a reasonable choice.

But if you have a relatively new roof, the panels are the way to go. Even Tesla recommends using the panels over a new roof since the cost of using the roof tiles is more than 2x the cost of the panels (about the same cost as a new roof and panels combined).

The technology will always be changing, even for the solar cells used in the tiles. So waiting for the ultimate solution will have you waiting forever. Gigantic leaps in cell efficiency will take a few years with small incremental improvements along the way. While you wait for that, you are giving up generation of electricity today that will continue for a few decades.

We installed panels from Solar City this past spring and are not the least bit disappointed. We are generating electricity to the grid during the day and pulling from the grid at night. We have a net metering system and have over 800kWh of credit already built up. We even charge our Model X 90D every night at home.

I would have waited for the new powerwalls but wanted the system this year. We can always add the batteries later.
 

AscendedSaiyan

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#3
I would have waited for the new powerwalls but wanted the system this year. We can always add the batteries later.
I have a Tesla system going in, now, with Powerwall 2 batteries. The main difference is the tax credit. If you get the solar with batteries, the tax credits extends to both products. If you get them separately, you get no tax credit for the batteries.
 
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#4
I have a Tesla system going in, now, with Powerwall 2 batteries. The main difference is the tax credit. If you get the solar with batteries, the tax credits extends to both products. If you get them separately, you get no tax credit for the batteries.
Right about the tax credits. Buy together if you are planning on both; bundle them as one thing.
 
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#5
I'm getting panels with two Powerwall 2s installed by SolarCity. I'm currently waiting on designs to be submitted for county and HOA approval, but should be up and running before the end of the year! We considered waiting for the tiles, but were told we may have quite a wait for them. Figure if we ever get a big enough hail storm to ruin the panels, we'll just upgrade to tile then ;)
 
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#6
@zanne4, probably 2 weeks ahead of you. I also went with Solar City and getting panels with 2 pw2.
Check with your TDU provider and see if they offer any incentive to go along with the federal tax credit.
My TDU provider is "Oncor" and they added money to the fund the program for a month or 2. Depending on size, orientation of system "Oncor" incentive package tops out at 6k.
But Solar City/Tesla Energy is not on the list of approved installers. They fell off the program after Tesla Energy took over and did not resubmit paperwork.

Good luck on finding electrical provider that offers fair buy back options on excess power generated. I'm switching over to Green Mountain from my current provider who offers no solar option. I was lucky enough to have a coworker that help me through the process. Solar City was not the cheapest but offered a battery backup system that the others did not. I had an offer with "Sonnen" battery but it was 2x as high. Also bid with LG battery. My decision was to go with Powerwall 2's and Solar City was the only company able to provide and install by years end.
I'm waiting on HOA approval. Panels and PW2's are in the warehouse and Solar City says permitting is ahead of schedule.

Hopefully my solar system can supply all my energy needs and fill up my Model S. Might need to visit a supercharger once a week to keep off the grid.

Looking at picking up Model 3 as a 2nd car in the near future. If I get a test ride and like it. I'll order a Model 3.
 
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#7
@zanne4, probably 2 weeks ahead of you. I also went with Solar City and getting panels with 2 pw2.
Check with your TDU provider and see if they offer any incentive to go along with the federal tax credit.
My TDU provider is "Oncor" and they added money to the fund to the program for a month or 2. Depending on size, orientation of system "Oncor" incentive package tops out at 6k.
But Solar City/Tesla Energy is not on the list of approved installers. They fell off the program after Tesla Energy took over and did not resubmit paperwork.

Good luck on finding electrical provider that offers buy fair buy back options on excess power generated. I'm switching over to Green Mountain from my current provider who offers no solar option. I was lucky enough to have a coworker that help me through the process. Solar City was not the cheapest but offered a battery backup system that the others did not. I had an offer with "Sonnen" battery but it was 2x as high. Also bid with LG battery. My decision was to go with Powerwall 2's and Solar City was the only company able to provide and install by years end.
I'm waiting on HOA approval. Panels and PW2's are in the warehouse and Solar City says permitting is ahead of schedule.

Hopefully my solar system can supply all my energy needs and fill up my Model S. Might need to visit a supercharger once a week to keep off the grid.

Looking at picking up Model 3 as a 2nd car in the near future. If I get a test ride and like it. I'll order a Model 3.

Good idea on checking with current provider for incentives - adding to my todo list now. Exciting to hear you're ahead of schedule and can't wait to hear about your system after it gets turned on! Where did you decide on placing the powerwalls? Inside or outside? That's really good insight on your experience with bidding out the project.

My system's designed to provide 100% of my current energy needs. After the 3, its harder to tell if it still will but am hoping to make home a little more efficient to offset. There's a local energy provider, MP2, that offers one for one (!!) buy back of solar and the credits roll for up to 12 months. I'm waiting for a call back from them to get all of the details but it looks promising.

So glad to find someone who's going through the same process!
 
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#8
Placing both PW2's inside my garage - side by side.

Also decided going with Solar City because in 5 years they will be around. Probably the largest
renewable energy installer in the country for residential systems. I wasn't so sure on a couple of companies that placed bids. I paid a little more for solar panels, inverters and design. But saved on the batteries.

My system is not large enough to meet all my energy needs, ran out of roof space. Will need to plan my car charging
and probably need a supercharger visit.

TXU, Green Mountain also offer solar packages. I have until Jan to make a decision on which
provider to use. I'll look into MP2.

Good luck with your install and thanks for your efforts on helping the planet.
 

tfederov

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#9
Placing both PW2's inside my garage - side by side.

Also decided going with Solar City because in 5 years they will be around. Probably the largest
renewable energy installer in the country for residential systems. I wasn't so sure on a couple of companies that placed bids. I paid a little more for solar panels, inverters and design. But saved on the batteries.

My system is not large enough to meet all my energy needs, ran out of roof space. Will need to plan my car charging
and probably need a supercharger visit.

TXU, Green Mountain also offer solar packages. I have until Jan to make a decision on which
provider to use. I'll look into MP2.

Good luck with your install and thanks for your efforts on helping the planet.
Hey fellow Metroplexian (is that a word?) before you pulled the trigger did you do any research into those awesome springs we have when hail the size of bowling balls (okay, grapefruit?) comes down? One of the things besides my odd roof which is holding me back is the brutal hail we can get here in DFW in the springtime.
 

garsh

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#10
Hey fellow Metroplexian (is that a word?) before you pulled the trigger did you do any research into those awesome springs we have when hail the size of bowling balls (okay, grapefruit?) comes down? One of the things besides my odd roof which is holding me back is the brutal hail we can get here in DFW in the springtime.
And also...
 
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#11
Hi fellow dfw resident,

Yes I thought of hail, Also increased my homeowners insurance just in case,

I remember the hail storm from Cinco da Mayo of 1995,

I'm on my final approach to install, Looks like this week or nest at the latest,
Would of prefer microinverters, but had to settle on string inverter with dc power
optimizers in order to recieve powerwall 2's before the end of the year,

Tesla Energy tight supply on PW2's and limiting outside contractors due to certified install
program,

Don't give up on solar If your worried about panels, solar tiles might be a better fit.