Tesla appears to have quietly increased the price of the solar roof, according to pricing data in the solar roof configurator and quote estimates. Previously, the pricing for a 3,947 square foot solar roof with a 12.3 kW tile system was $54,966. Now price estimates for the same sized roof range from $79,938 and $100,621.
Tesla had been bringing the cost of a solar roof down, citing a faster installation time and optimization of solar tiles. Consumers who were considering a solar roof noticed the increase in prices first and reported them to Electrek.
The new price quotes may also be part of Tesla’s efforts to make the quotes more accurate by adding a roof complexity factor as a variable. Tesla had this to say about it:
“Roof complexity is determined by the pitch, number of joints, chimneys, and other features on your roof. Complex roofs take more time and material to install than simple roofs, which increases the total system cost. Once you place an order, our design team will use remote imagery to confirm your roof complexity and system fit.”
However, this does not necessarily explain the increase in pricing for less complex installation jobs. Demand for Tesla’s solar roofs has increased over the past three years and the company may have simply decided to take advantage. There have also been significant differences between quoted prices on the website and the final price once Tesla’s solar roof techs have had time to analyze the requirements for each job, including using drones to study the rooftop.
Some commenters have blamed the increase in pricing on increasingly complex rooftops in new homes. Buyers who are in the market for a new home called it “maddening” trying to find a new home with a rooftop that could support more than a few solar panels.
“These cheesy McMansions all have absurd rooflines with superfluous undulations that make it hard to find space for more than 2 or three panels,” said Electrek commenter Dean C.
The changes also sparked some lively discussion about ROI on the solar rooftops and the cost comparisons of solar rooftops to installing a normal rooftop and adding solar panels. Many commenters expected that Tesla’s price increases would add several years of generating solar power to recoup costs, especially away from states closer to the equator like Florida and Texas.
“These cost models put me well over 30, approaching 35 years for theoretical investment recovery,” said a commenter who only went by the name of “Steve,” who lives along the 42nd parallel — far enough north to still rely on the grid for power in the winter months.
Tesla is hiring more roofers and also now sells the solar rooftop through more third party roofing companies. It also includes the option to add its Powerwall batteries to the solar rooftop order for an additional charge.
Considering how frequently the base price of Tesla’s products, including some of its cars, can change, it’s possible that the company will bring the price back down if it can get enough useful feedback from consumers who may be considering a solar roof and don’t have an overly complicated rooftop.