You might not have heard the name Elon Musk, but you're probably familiar with some of his products—PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors.
After amassing over $307 million in 1999 by selling his first company, Elon Musk's main objective is to make the world a greener place.
So it might not be any cause for alarm that his latest invention involves him getting on your roof. Musk officially put his new invention, the Solar Roof, on the market (May 10th).
For Musk, who doesn't mince words when he states, "Most roofs look terrible," the Solar Roof is part of his plan to give homeowners "...the best-looking roof in the neighborhood." ...and hopefully the most energy-efficient house, too!
This new Solar Roof product is more than just aesthetics—it is designed to produce enough energy from the sun to power your entire house and lower your electricity bill.
Every house needs a refrigerator, a stove, and preferably a washer and dryer...but does every house need a solar roof?
Elon Musk's new Solar Roof are made of photovoltaic shingles that are more durable than a typical roof, a third lighter, and cheaper when you add in electricity savings and the federal solar tax credit. The Solar Roof is said to lasts as long as the house lasts—demolishing a traditional roof's 20-year value.
The Solar Roof also fits into the architectural style of the home; no more outdated, huge solar panels on your roof.
And because Musk really focused on the design of these shingles, homeowners get the option of choosing between four styles: black glass smooth, textured, Tuscan, and French slate.
Too good to be true, right?...better read the next part.
Here's the catch: the price
Of course, you knew there would be a catch...or in this case a sticker shock. The Solar Roof is a bit (well, more than a bit) up there in price.
Since the average home in the US is roughly 2,500 square feet, the price of the Solar Roof is around $51,200 for a 70% solar roof.
And thankfully, Tesla unveiled a calculator to help you figure out the cost for your own home based on sun exposure . And for fun, we decided to try out the Tesla calculator on a famous house in America.
The Biltmore—Asheville, North Carolina — 178,926 square feet and 5 stories
Cost of Roof: - $1,338,100
Cost of (required) Powerwall Battery: - $7,000
Even after installed and the tax credit awarded, the owners of the Biltmore would have end up paying $134,000 for the roof—Tesla assumes you'll save $959,800 in energy and $251,300 tax credits to even out the cost of the roof installation.
However, if we increase the solar coverage to the highest amount, 70%, the Biltmore comes out ahead with some good savings—about $283,300!
But since the Biltmore won't be calling for a re-roofing job anytime soon, what would this new Solar Roof cost average homeowners?
Musk stated that the first two styles of the solar roof will be priced at $21.85 per square foot (not including the $7,000 Powerwall battery)
Can you really wait for the savings?
Although some financial analysts (and Elon, of course) say the solar roof with the value of energy puts homeowners in a net savings—can people really wait 30 years to recoup it?
Having to take on all the additional cost upfront, and wait for the savings to occur doesn't make economic sense.
So, where do we see this new Solar Roof becoming a competitive item in the roofing industry?
Our assumption would be high-cost, primarily dry and sunny states will be where you see the Solar Roof be very competitive. But we probably won't see anything significant until 2020.