The Tesla Solar Roof: A Game-Changer in Solar Energy

The Tesla Solar Roof: A Game-Changer in Solar Energy

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Solar energy is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly sources of energy available today. However, traditional solar panels can be unsightly and may not be suitable in all neighborhoods. Enter the Tesla Solar Roof. In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of solar roof installations with the Tesla Solar Roof and how it is revolutionizing the world of solar energy.

What is a Tesla Solar Roof?

A Tesla Solar Roof is a roofing system that integrates solar panels into the design of the roof glass solar tiles themselves. Recently, Matt Risinger interviewed one our builders, Truitt Jenkins, at a project where we are installing one of the first Tesla solar roofs in Austin. Unlike traditional solar panels that sit on top of your existing roof, the Tesla’s solar panels replace the roof material with composite glass panels over metal substrate. It eliminates the need for separate solar panels. Some of the panels are solar-producing and some are not. However, all of these panels are designed to look like traditional roofing materials, such as slate tile or metal. The solar producing panels produce electricity (AC power) from the sun but look identical to the non-producing panels.

Tesla solar roof featured on the build show

Features of Tesla’s Solar Roof System

The Tesla Solar panels are designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Here are some of the key features of a Tesla Solar Roof:

1. Solar Power: The Tesla Solar Roof generates energy from the sun, which can power your home and reduce your reliance on the grid.

2. Durability: Tesla Solar Roofs are made from tempered glass over metal, which is extremely durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, including softball-sized hail and high wind. It is also fire rated to the highest possible standard.

3. Easy Maintenance: The Tesla Solar Roof tiles clips together easily. This allows single tiles to be removed and replaced easily if it is ever needed.

4. Aesthetics: Tesla Solar Roofs have a timeless dark grey style which look very similar to a slate tile or metal roof. This allows you to choose a solar roof in neighborhoods that normally wouldn’t allow unsightly solar panels.

5. Longevity: Tesla Solar Roofs come with a warranty of up to 25 years but have been engineered to last much longer, which means you can enjoy the benefits of your solar roof for many years to come.

Tesla solar roof tiles

Benefits of a Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels

There are several benefits to installing a Tesla Solar Roof on your home. Here are some of the key benefits:

1. Lower Energy Bills: By generating your own electricity, you can significantly reduce or even eliminate your energy bills.

2. Increased Home Value: A Tesla Solar Roof can increase the value of your home, making it more attractive to potential buyers.

3. Reduced Carbon Footprint: By generating clean energy from the sun, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

4. Emergency Backup Power: Tesla Solar Roofs can be equipped with a Powerwall battery wall, which can provide backup power during an outage.


The Tesla Solar Roof is a game-changer in the world of solar energy. With its innovative design, durable materials, and energy-efficient features, it offers a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional solar panels. By installing a Tesla Solar Roof on your home, you can enjoy lower energy bills, increased home value, and a reduced carbon footprint. If you’d like to learn more about the Tesla solar roof, learn more about the cost of the Tesla solar roof and technical specifications, check out our episode on the Build Show:

Partial transcript of the Build Show Episode

featuring Matt Risinger, host, and Truitt Jenkins, Jenkins Design Build


Matt Risinger [00:00:05]:

Hey, Truitt. This looks like a metal roof from the street, but there’s something different. What is this roof?

Truitt Jenkins [00:00:11]:

Yes, sir.

Truitt Jenkins [00:00:12]:

This looks like a metal roof, but it’s actually the Tesla solar roof.

Matt Risinger [00:00:17]:

Oh, baby.

Today’s Build show, Tesla solar roof. Let’s get going. 

Interview with Truitt Jenkins, Jenkins Design Build

Matt Risinger [00:00:18]:

Alright guys, let me introduce you to Truitt Jenkins. Truitt is a second-generation builder. We’re with Jenkins Design Build here on a project outside of Austin, Texas. Is this your first time using this, Truitt?

Truitt Jenkins [00:00:47]:

Yes, sir, it is.

Matt Risinger [00:00:48]:

So give me the walkthrough on the system. These are the panels. These are the roofing that we’re seeing actually on this roof right here?

Truitt Jenkins [00:00:54]:

Yes, sir.

Truitt Jenkins [00:00:55]:

So here you’re looking at two different tiles. So we actually have a performing tile. So it’s actually taking advantage of the UV rays and converting it into energy.

Matt Risinger [00:01:05]:


Truitt Jenkins [00:01:06]:

And that you can see oh,…

Matt Risinger [00:01:08]:

You got fooled. That’s actually the non performing tile. Let’s leave that in. I like it. It is hard to tell, guys, this is the performing tile. And what Truitt just had is the non performing tile. And the only reason he could tell was we flipped it over and realized, oh, this doesn’t have the connection.

Truitt Jenkins [00:01:23]:

That’s funny.

Matt Risinger [00:01:24]:

Yeah. You know how these are made? From what I remember reading about it, this front face is some type of special glass.

Truitt Jenkins [00:01:32]:

Yes, sir.

Matt Risinger [00:01:33]:

And then probably there’s a laminate because it appears to be a metal substrate underneath. Is that right?

Truitt Jenkins [00:01:40]:

That’s correct. Yeah.

Truitt Jenkins [00:01:40]:

It’s similar to the windshield on your car. So if you have impact on the front side, the structure can stay intact from the back side because it has that metal backing.

Matt Risinger [00:01:52]:

Okay, that makes sense. So in theory, you have a big enough hailstorm, you might be able to crack these, but you’re not going to break through.

Truitt Jenkins [00:02:06]:


Matt Risinger [00:02:13]:

That’s pretty impressive.

Truitt Jenkins [00:02:15]:

Yes, sir.

Matt Risinger [00:02:15]:

Now, on this house in particular, were you worried about when you were designing it, which roofs are facing which direction? Did you design this tesla’s solar roof system with the solar roof in mind?

Truitt Jenkins [00:02:32]:

No, sir. We actually were planning to just do a metal standing seam roof.

Matt Risinger [00:02:38]:


Truitt Jenkins [00:02:38]:

And then the client wanted to change to the Tesla solar roof. And so on Tesla’s end, they engineer it where they determine exactly how many performing tiles they need based on the last twelve months of weather patterns, and there’s various other calculations involved with that.

Specifications and Solar Production

Matt Risinger [00:02:56]:

Pretty wild. And how much solar is this roof going to produce? Do you know how big the array is?

Truitt Jenkins [00:03:00]:

Yeah, this is about a 50 kw roof.

Matt Risinger [00:03:04]:

That’s a lot of solar! Now, this is not a small house either here, but 50 kw. That’s a lot of these panels, I suspect. And I was talking to your roofer before we started, K-post roofing. And it looks like this is pretty straightforward. When these panels go in, these actually connect to the adjoining panels. And then ultimately, you’re going to run this DC power. The panels are producing DC through some conduit into your garage where the inverters are going to live, correct?

Truitt Jenkins [00:03:33]:

Yes, sir.

And it’ll take that DC power invert it to AC, and then the batteries will actually receive AC power and send that to the house.

Matt Risinger [00:03:41]:

Okay, that’s pretty cool. Talk to me about install. How different is this, and where do you start on install with this roof? Compared to, say, a metal roof.

Truitt Jenkins [00:03:52]:

It’s really not too difficult to install. That’s one of the benefits of it. You start with your underlayment, which Tesla has its own underlayment that they specify, that just sticks on.

Matt Risinger [00:04:08]:

Now, the underlayment that I saw that you showed me, man, it feels pretty bomber. I don’t know the exact specs, but it looks to be like a really thick 40 or maybe more mil thick. Probably high temperature, asphaltic based ice and water shield we would use all over the place.

Matt Risinger [00:04:51]:

In effect, it’s a rain screen roof system, right. This panel is how they connect up. There’s a hook that catches it, snaps in. And I’m hearing that this could even potentially get pulled later. Is that true?

Truitt Jenkins [00:05:17]:

Yeah, it’s pretty easy.

Matt Risinger [00:05:24]:

How about that? True that you can actually pull a panel in the center. And with that inch and a half air gap, I suspect this actually would be a pretty energy efficient roof because you’ve got that space for any heat build up on this black roof to kind of dissipate out, right?

Truitt Jenkins [00:06:40]:

Correct. We spray our ceilings with foam, so having that extra air gap above the tiles gives plenty of room for ventilation and keeps the inside of the garage nice and cool.

Truitt Jenkins discusses the cost of the Tesla solar roof

Matt Risinger [00:07:15]:

I’m curious, can you give us any idea of cost on these? Truitt, I’ve seen you guys put clay tile on. I’ve seen you put metal on. You’re not typically doing asphalt shingles on your house, but give me some idea of range of cost for this.

Truitt Jenkins [00:07:21]:

Yes, sir.

Truitt Jenkins [00:07:21]:

Yeah, obviously it’s going to depend on the circumstance, the size, how many performing solar tiles versus non-performing tiles. But in general, at least in this application, it was about three to four times the cost for the Tesla solar roof compared to the metal.

Matt Risinger [00:07:37]:


Truitt Jenkins [00:07:37]:

However, once you factor in the 30% federal tax credit, you’re going to see that number reduced. And you also have to factor in the fact that you’re receiving less electricity costs because of the solar.

Matt Risinger [00:07:49]:

That’s pretty awesome. And this is a multi-decade roof, right? Impact resistant. This glass is not breaking down in the sun. This is a really impressive roof. You’ve got a really bomber roof system that’s going to last, I would suspect, at least 50 plus years. This is not going to get changed out when a Texas hailstorm comes through.

Truitt Jenkins [00:08:24]:

This system is very durable because it has a class 3 hail rating, which is if you drop an inch and three quarter steel ball 20ft above. It should not shatter.

Matt Risinger [00:08:35]:


Truitt Jenkins [00:08:36]:

So there’s your hail rating, and then also has a Class A fire rating, which is the best fire rating.

Conclusion with Truitt Jenkins, Builder

Matt Risinger [00:14:08]:

All right, let’s talk about controls. How will your clients kind of know what’s happening with the solar and this whole solar system here?

Truitt Jenkins [00:14:18]:

Yes, sir. So there’s actually two methods of control for the client. So first there’s the span panels, which are smart electrical panels.

Matt Risinger [00:14:28]:

You’re doing span panels?

Truitt Jenkins [00:14:29]:

Yes, sir.

Truitt Jenkins [00:14:30]:

And so we’re going to replace the two main 200 amp electrical panels with span panels.

Matt Risinger [00:14:37]:


Truitt Jenkins [00:14:37]:

And the client will have control through the span app, and they will actually be able to see, okay, what all are my loads at this moment? And then they can actually turn off and on breakers from the app.

Matt Risinger [00:14:52]:

How about that?

Truitt Jenkins [00:14:53]:

And another form of control is through the Tesla app itself. And that allows more customization with how the roof actually functions. So you can choose things like when do you want to pull from the batteries? Do you want to pull from the batteries during peak hours so that you use less grid power when it’s most expensive? That’s a common thing that people would do. So there’s various ways to customize through the app.

Matt Risinger [00:15:21]:

05:00 In July when power is most expensive. Everybody’s got their AC on the house, so that’d be a great time to pull from the batteries instead.

Truitt Jenkins [00:15:28]:

Yes, sir.

Matt Risinger [00:15:29]:

And I guess you could in theory. You may not have that here, but there are places where you can get time-based metering, too, so you can pay less money with this system. What about the power goes out in the neighborhood, though, for two weeks. And by the way, is there any other form of backup for this house?

Truitt Jenkins [00:15:47]:

Yes, sir, there is.

Actually, on this house, we have two backup generators. So you can pull from the grid, you can pull from solar, or you can pull from the batteries via the gateway.

Matt Risinger [00:16:17]:

That’s some serious resilience right there. Thanks for leading the way, brother. I really appreciate it. Thanks for having us.

Truitt Jenkins [00:17:47]:

Our pleasure. Thank you.

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