That being said, I love these things, so hoping it gets cheaper in the coming years.
Tesla's calculator estimates $40,500 for a roof that generates half our power needs, and should provide $20,400 worth of energy over 30-years.
Add in a PowerWall and federal tax credit, and I'm still losing $15,400 over 30-years.
If I put that same $40,000 in an index fund that got the stock market's historical 7% average, and waited 30 years, I'd have $308,000.
To put it in another perspective, the last estimates I got for a solar system that covered 100% of our average power needs came in at $32,000 installed, before the same $11K tax credit that Tesla includes in their calculations.
So, I could pay under $20,000 for a "traditional" solar system that covered 100% of our energy bills, or $40,000 for a Tesla solar roof that covered 50% of our energy bills.
That's quite literally half the value, at twice the price.
If I put in a traditional solar system tomorrow, it would pay for itself in year 9. If I put in a Tesla solar roof tomorrow, I'd still be out $15K at year 30.
Are you doing the math all in present dollars? Because the return is 7% after inflation but >10% before. So you'd have >500.000 in 2047 dollars. In this case it's important to do that adjustment because you're doing an investment upfront for payoffs over 30 years so the value of money adjustment is extremely important. It should only make your case stronger though if you haven't done that yet.
For example from "Market failures and barriers as a basis for clean energy policies by Marilyn A. Brown" we read:
"Meier and Whittier (1983) studied a case in which
consumers were given a choice in stores throughout the
United States of two refrigerators that were identical in
all respects except two: energy efficiency and price. The
energy-efficient model (which saved 410 kilowatt hours
per year, more than 25% of energy usage) cost $60 more
than the standard model. The energy-efficient model was
highly cost-effective in almost all locations of the
country. In most regions, it provided an annual return
on investment of about 50%. In spite of these favorable
economics, which were easily observed by the purchaser,
more than half of all purchasers chose the inefficient
model. The higher purchase price of the efficient model
was presumably the principal barrier to its purchase."
An annual ROI of 50% is left on the table because people have to pay something upfront for benefits later!
Tesla's pricing strategy here is quite blunt. They hope people don't care about the costs, only the looks and the sustainability.
Disclaimer: I don't know how sustainable the manufacturing process of this solution is.
I think if this is the case, they certainly don't want to hint at it incase they lose consumers who will sit back and wait for the cheaper option they ironically wouldn't arrive.
Current expert thinking is that there is a 4% equity risk premium over cash interest rates. Current cash rates are 1% nominal or -1% real. If you are an optimist like the Fed, cash rates will rise to 3% over the long term - which gets you to 7% nominal/5% real at best.
Solar is not going to have a similar impact on (say) Ireland in the next 30 years.
Probably the bigger impact is bad incentives for the people building the grid, who are often able to do what they like and get a guaranteed percentage return on top, which pushes them to spend more than they need to. This has been particularly pronounced in Australia I believe.
This might also be why utility companies have been furiously lobbying against rooftop solar subsidies and Barclays have downgraded US utility bonds.
This depends quite strongly on where you are. Your numbers are very close to the ones I get if I use my correct address, which is in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.
If I keep everything the same except the address, changing that to one in Merced, California, then it says I'd get $75000 worth of energy over 30 years.
PS: it looks like they try to use the address for more than just finding the location in order to estimate how much sun is available. I tried an address that I had lived at in Pasadena, California, and it did not ask me for the house size and number of floors. Instead, it did the calculation using about 6000 sq ft, which is about the size of the apartment building that is at that address. For my Seattle-area and Merced addresses, it did ask me for the house information.
GMail however is a 20% project. :)
He was only allowed to take his 20% project to 100% after his manager wrote up a justification XD
My turn to be pedantic, I guess, but 80 and 443 are only two of many available ports. The internet is much bigger than just the web, even if lots of people never bother to look beyond their browser.
It's kind of comforting to know that my academic and computing experiences thus far are shared both across the globe and across decades.
Isn't it amazing how big of a disconnect there is between "people who are capable of identifying/executing on big ideas" (aka Tim and his manager)....
and "the projects that businesses/agencies want their employees to do"
In Colorado it's against the laws for HOAs to ban solar systems, there are some tricks though because they can require certain roofs that you can't really put solar on. Certain tiles and 'presidential' grade roofing which typically cost more than normal shingles as it is. If you live in one of those types of places and want an energy system, then this is what you want. Honestly, I've not heard a lot of complaints about the aesthetics of a conventional solar system, in fact I think some people like it because it's really obvious looking; but if you have the funds and really value the look, then there is an option for you.
It's probably not that different from the market for a Model S vs a Honda Accord. The S is 3+x the cost of the Accord, has fewer fueling stations, can't be serviced nearly as easily, probably is less 'practical' in a handful of other ways but there are still people that buy and drive Model S Tesla cars.
...and the cost to remove your current perfectly good roof! I think I smell a bargain!
Which you probably sink into a second layer of asphalt shingles 15-20 years in (at least up here in upstate NY where there's plenty of rain/snow). Hopefully it's not a tear-off, as that'll cost more.
This is terrible. They've gotta be just trying to snipe rich early-adopter-for-the-status types.
Since Tesla's products are expensive, it would be a regressive tax even if we all bought enough solar panels for our needs.
Yes, solar roofs are a bad investment NOW, but they might be a good idea in 20 years, once all these businesses have done this research on them.
1) It should be in exchange for preferred stock/bonds in the company; and/or
2) the tax credit should favour lower prices, not higher
Tesla? The company that brought you the Roadster first, then the Model S and X, and only later the Model 3? I'm shocked. ;)
Please don't seriously suggest Tesla's solar roof will last the lifetime of a house to people.
The real warranty is 30 years for power and weatherization.
Its misleading marketing speak (at best).
> Weatherization means that there will be no water leaks or other weather intrusions during the 30 year warranty period that result from our installation.
It will almost certainly require replacing and/or serious repair long before the "lifetime of the house" is up.
stock market isn't a very safe investment (that is, risk is much higher than putting in a bank), you can't make a comparison against buying some equipment, which is zero risk. A closer comparison is putting the $40,000 in a bank that guarentees interest (or treasury bonds, which is also pretty much risk free like a bank) - you'd get $99,457, which is $59,457 over your initial investment.
Equipment isn't zero risk. It could fail and need replacement, or need dramatic repairs. Or the price of electricity could drop dramatically and your investment won't be saving you as much in electricity bills...
Maybe Tesla goes out of business or drops support for this product? Maybe they aren't as durable as planned? Also, a roof is part of a house which is a very illiquid investment, and there are a lot of other factors affecting the price of a house.
But, presumably people aren't buying this just as an investment. If you're going to put a lot of money into a house anyway, maybe a fancy roof isn't so bad.
Every thread about Tesla cars has a subthread about how irrelevant they are because they cost too much for some car buyers. Now we can look forward to every thread about Tesla roofs having a subthread about the initial product not being price-competitive for low-end roof buyers.
In either case, you can finance the costs. Given how Solar City usually operates, I imagine they'll roll the costs in a lease or power purchase agreement where you send them a check each month for an amount less than your current electricity bill.
I'm not saying it's the best deal around. You could come away with an even better net total by re-roofing and putting on traditional solar panels. But then you've got an uglier roof, if you care about that sort of thing -- and there are definitely people who do.
Unless they meant a "new roof" as in when you build a house from scratch and you don't have rafters or anything. If you have an existing roof you are redoing every 20 years or so, then this is definitely not the cost of a "new roof".
So, which "new roof" are we talking about here?
That makes very little sense. You're making an apples to oranges comparison here. It would be absolutely impossible to pull that off. It's literally the premium roof + solar and you want it to be the same price as premium roof (thus, you want the solar hardware to cost nothing.
Only one of these generates electricity, thus saving you money and that must be included in the cost calculation in order to determine the actual cost.
And yet it was promised by Musk. Literally "a solar roof will actually cost less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account".
Don't attack your parent poster for Musk's lies.
The same can be said for your local fly-by-night roofer, but it sounds like you can buy two roofs for the price of a SolarRoof.
Also, another thing to be concerned about is whether or not you're going to be stuck in the middle of a pass-the-blame around football match between Tesla, and their subcontractors. (I guarantee you that the people installing your roof will not be Tesla employees.) In roofs, installation mistakes can cost you dearly - they are the primary cause of roof problems.
Someone that doesn't install solar can sell the home without worrying about recovering that cost.
Can't project finances much more than 10 years max. At the moment cost of capital is low but that may well change in that time-frame. Things have to make sense in a decade or so also considering that this new technology that is obsoleted by incremental innovation.
For this to succeed it is going to have to cost the home owner at least what a shingled roof would cost with the additional cost of the power-wall and the infrastructure that is required to to set that up. I can understand paying a slight premium but 70k?
You would be better off using a high performance insulation like spray foam, 3 pane windows, and even installing a Geo Thermal System (around 20-25k) instead of this solar roof.
I wonder on what price home would a $80k roof make sense? >$800k?
A roof that exceeds 10% of the purchase price is likely to push the house outside of the price range of buyers in the target market.
I know a friend of mine (who has a solar system, not quite the same) but basically got almost nothing for it. The aesthetics of a "Solar Roof" is better but I don't see it raising the value of the house by more than 10%.
I used their calculator using the estimates when I had my roof done last time, and it is just not economically feasible.
$60k roof vs. $6k roof.
Net of $12k savings over 30 years.
$60k over 30 years (adjusting for inflation in conservative investments) is easily going to hit $180k.
But like others have said... there are plenty with a lot more money than I have which will jump at this. I'm ok with that. The more wealthy folks that install these and take their load off the grid, the better.
For example if you don't have a southern facing roof then this is going to be a terrible investment. However, this is also a home improvement which means a low interest loan which has many tax advantages, remember you pay your electric bill with after tax money but you pay interest on a home loan with pre tax money. Further electricity costs increase with inflation, so your out of pocket investment may be tiny while the value of electricity generated is increasing.
EDIT: That's sort of the kicker. A regular roof does not get a 30% federal tax credit (plus possible state incentives), nor does it produce power for 30+ years, nor does it have a lifetime warranty. If you can obtain low cost financing, you almost always come out ahead.
Maximizing retirement savings is still likely more cost effective than this roof for most people and I doubt many people in the US are putting away $24k/year.
The only way I'd see this is as viable is below inflation interest and people showing they can sell the houses for the full value of the Tesla roof.
If I understand the tax credit correctly, it's only available if you're paying that much in taxes otherwise. For a $60k roof, you have to already be paying $18k in taxes to take full advantage of the credit. That's an important detail for some.
It sized my roof at more than 2x the square footage of my house.
It also estimated my monthly electric bill at 4x what I pay on a monthly basis.
Changing those numbers put them to something closer to a new roof; and is definitely competitive with putting on a new roof and then paying for a solar panel installation.
The area I live in just had a huge hail storm. Most roofs in our neighborhood will require repairs. That's a bummer with asphalt shingles, but it would be a lot worse with an $80k roof.
Most people won't think about those risks, but over the time period you need to consider for a roof, it's a big risk in most places.
That's hardly pocket change in most of the country, where you can get a lot more sqft/$ (and potentially in a bigger, 1-story footprint) than on the west coast.
Not everyone has a two story house. My parents live in a single story 2k square foot home and tesla estimates the cost to be $69k. I live in a 2 story house with more groundfloor space than 2nd story, and it estimates the cost at $60k
Solar Roof is the most durable roof available
and the glass itself will come with a warranty
for the lifetime of your house, or infinity,
whichever comes first.
... Or 30 years. You know, whichever comes first.
> That being said, I love these things, so hoping it gets cheaper in the coming years.
Yep. Perhaps in the future.
What does political affiliation have to do with this? People being excited about new and innovative technologies like electric cars, space travel, and solar roofs is great news for people reading a site like Hacker News - I don't think it would be out of line to suggest most new technology is marketed towards those with the disposable income to purchase it.
There is no need to make this into a "stupid liberals just trying to score points" issue.
Well liberals love to pretend they are environmentally "conscious" while conservatives are "drill baby drill"? Right? Maybe I should have written fake california liberals.
> People being excited about new and innovative technologies like electric cars, space travel, and solar roofs is great news for people reading a site like Hacker News
I love innovative stuff. Solar roof isn't innovative.
> There is no need to make this into a "stupid liberals just trying to score points" issue.
I wasn't trying to score points. I was just being honest and offering my opinion. I'm fairly liberal myself...
From their chart, the solar tiles (installed) should only be about twice as much as asphalt.
(1) The solar tiles aren't actually on the chart. If they were, they'd have to extend the scale more than twice as wide as what's shown, out to past $40 per square foot based on their calculator.
(2) The bar that is on the chart is for their "non-solar" tiles, plain glass squares. That's the one that's twice as long as the bar for asphalt tiles.
The solar glass tiles are actually more like 10x the cost of asphalt shingles, including installation.
They are going after the portion of the market that would replace their roof with a high end material, and are interested in solar.
If you are a home owner in this situation, you could consider investing into your home. The roof will pay dividends over the next 30 years, and is attractive and durable.
I think it will do extremely well. Perhaps the best opportunity is in new construction. Imagine having 50k more baked into your mortgage, but having your roof lower your ongoing energy costs! Great potential in that market, could also optimize the roof designs for power generation.
Why they expect people to make electricity at their homes? You can buy a little piece of land in a dessert, put solar panels there and distribute the electricity to other places. And you don't have to climb on any roof during the installation or the maintenance.
It is not profitable today in a free market to bake your own bread or to plant your own vegetables. Because if it is done in a large scale by professionals, it can be made much cheaper while keeping the good quality. So I don't understand, how the home-made electricity could economically compete with the professional energy farms of the future.
From an environmental perspective, it is better to use surface area which is already built up than pristine natural desert land. The house itself already imposes an ecological cost. A solar roof adds around zero to that cost.
I've heard the stat thrown about that 50% of energy generated is lost to transmission. If that's true then there's efficiency to generation at home.
It probably doesn't figure into anyone's decision but decentralized generation leads to a more resilient "grid". As it stands we are potentially vulnerable to warfare/terrorism attacks on the grid.
Tesla the consumer brand is about being smarter than your neighbor. Wow you have a car which is electric yet more performant than my car? Wow you have solar panels and the aesthetic is better than mine? Wow you're completely off the grid? So much material for dinner parties. In short there is a good value of cool factor for amount of work. And there are people who break the market logic and bake their own bread, plant their own vegetables.
You're right that power from a solar farm will be an option somebody but for many people it's not an option yet. This is something you can do in the near term.
It's more like 5%. The larger numbers you're thinking of might be including generation losses. Coal plants are around 33% efficient in terms of converting the fuel's energy into electricity. Natural gas is better, but still under 50%.
Home electricity costs around $0.15/kWh, while power plants sell electricity to the grid for around $0.03/kWh. The difference pays for installing and maintaining the grid and local distribution wires to your home. Depending where you are (I live in a forest, where a tree falls on the power lines a few times a year and they have to send out guys in a bucket truck to fix it) it's expensive.
Because of net metering, home solar panels effectively get paid the home rate. It's kind of unfair. If you have enough solar panels to zero out your home bill, you're getting something valuable (reliable nighttime power) that cost money (to install and maintain the wires) for nothing. But that's the system we have.
Sometime before we hit 100% solar power, the system will have to change.
Wth is wrong with the USA? It seems like you're getting screwed over everything. 10x electricity, 100x healthcare and education - is US market really just a bunch of colluding monopolies?
Here's a chart of energy prices on a Prague energy exchange, currently it's about 30 EUR/MWh = 0.032 USD/kWh. I pay a bit more than that (incl. distribution) with a good tarif (low cost broker), but even conservative people I know who don't renegotiate energy prices get about 0.06 USD/kWh incl. all distribution fees.
That said, electric distribution network in our country is probably underinvested. Is the premium you're paying in US based on distribution network cost?
The economic calculation for one of these roofs probably looks very different depending on where you live.
If you live downhill from work, however, then the only way to use that to your advantage would be to work an evening / night shift.
Put a solar roof on a home and it is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain it.
* on site transmission cost is $0 for power used
* the effect of a man-made or natural disaster in one location is contained: throwing a breaker for maintenance at the Arizona border doesn't shutdown power across an entire region: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Southwest_blackout.
I live in western WA and I had a view to get a solar installation a couple of years ago, because despite our climate and sunshine conditions - and already having the greenest (hydroelectric and wind, mostly) and cheapest electricity in the country ($0.11/kWh) - there was a generous feed-in tariff - which meant my planned $40,000 investment in a solar system would pay itself off after 10-15 years, however in late 2015 the state decided to put an end to that and if I had the system built now it would take 25+ years to pay for itself, at which point the system's warranty would be expiring and I'd need to shell out more money to replace it.
You don't buy cold air piped from across the city, you make it locally. Why?
In Sweden it is quite common to pipe hot air (and to a lesser extent cold air) across the city rather than each house making it locally. Once of have the basic infrastructure in place it is a lot cheaper and more efficient.
No, they don't. You still need almost the entire national power grid to supply your home with night-time electricity... That infrastructure won't be going anywhere.
An even worse outcome will be every home having local power storage infrastructure. Tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a power wall, or a compressed air storage system is much more expensive then maintaining the grid.
"Just buy a $15,000 PowerWall, which you will need to replace every 10 years" is, compared to grid electricity, incredibly wasteful.
There's a reason why customers and users overwhelmingly prefer centralization, even if its harmful for them in the long-term. It's cheaper, and people would prefer it to be someone elses' problem.
There's also the matter that if, say, 40% of the population disconnects itself from the grid, that doesn't mean that the cost of maintaining that infrastructure will drop by 60%. Someone will have to pay for it.
You are right that it does not yet work out, it's $0.17/kWh for the powerwall (assuming you fully charge/discharge it each night) + cost for panels. Given that grid-disconnected users would want some buffer, an off-grid system probably works out to ~$0.40/kWh all in for battery-stored electricity
You could save a big chunk of this by some habit changes, most of the cost comes from the batteries, so scheduling energy intensive activities to run during the day reduces your cost for them to $0.10/kWh or so.
Honestly I am surprised how close these numbers are. I initially was sure the grid would survive in cities, but now I am not so sure. In 10 years these numbers will likely be half what they are now (batteries in particular will be way cheaper). It might all be enough to kill the grid in many places.
Photovoltaics can¹ change the other side of the equation² so that locally generating it would be better.
1 - But it's not certain by any means. The current biggest obstacle is battery storage and maintenance.
2 - losses and infrastructure costs vs. gains from scale.
Additional solar power absorbs sunlight and produces electricity. One benefit is that the house under it is cooler and needs less air conditioning as a result.
Also balancing the energy infrastructure for a state/country with significant solar/wind sources adds significant new complexity for the power grid. It's definitely most efficient to keep your homes power use off the grid as much as possible.
Additionally at least in California peak power use is air conditioning related and follows a power use curve pretty similar to solar production. So the hottest days/times have the most power generation (there's some lag). This allows the state to minimize power production only for those worst case days in late summer, which is the most expensive (power, cost, and environmental impact) power plant.
Power plants can be quite efficient if utilized 100%, but the difference between minimum power and maximum power needs can create huge inefficiencies where solar can help.
I'd also argue that adding distributed power use makes the grid overall much more robust. Earthquakes, major storms, attacks against infrastructure, etc are all less of an issue if a decent fraction of houses produce most of the power you need.
Rooftop solar gives you a way to be less dependent on the local utility for something you need to live a modern lifestyle. If you live somewhere where electric rates are high or power outages are common or most of the electricity comes from burning coal, you can now work around that by generating electricity locally.
It's sort of like storing a file locally versus storing it "in the cloud". Both approaches will probably work, but you might choose one or the other based on some weighted combination of reliability concerns, privacy concerns, available bandwidth, and whether you want to share the file across multiple computers or multiple users.
I'll spare you the anecdata, but the choice of bread and vegetables are specifically poor support structures on which to build your argument for centralization. They can (in some cases) be made more cheaply, but the quality suffers substantially.
Electricity, while lacking the strongly subjective "quality" dimensions of food, still suffers from long-range distribution. Transmission and stepping losses (as well as transit costs) are a large portion of why we don't have just one enormous generation center for the world. There's obviously a balance, but for the cost of land and the added loss of converting solar's DC to AC, local generation gets a little more advantage.
At the event, Musk said Tesla's roof would price competitively with normal roofs and could even cost less.
"It's looking quite promising that a solar roof will actually cost less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,"
Musk said at the event.
"So the basic proposition would be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and, by the way, generates electricity? It's like, why would you get anything else?"
At the moment our slate roof is fine, but when it needs replacing I'll certainly look into the Tesla tiles. Hopefully we'll be able to hold off for long enough that they will have come down in price. I'm sceptical that they will be worth it, but if they make sense then we would definitely think about it.
The first Tesla Roadster's ended up being around $110K.
They're now doing Model 3's for $35K.
I expect the same with the roofs -- they will drop price drastically, but they need to get them out there first.
What do you mean it isn't the point? They haven't even started production on the Model 3, let alone delivered one for $35k, which is very unlikely to happen. So it's yet to be seen what they'll deliver for 35k. And by the way, the second model(turned out to be the X) was also supposed to be cheaper than the first (Model S). It wasn't. Musk is already announcing the 4th model will be cheaper than the 3.
The more upscale BMW i3 with 195 mile range can also be bought today, at ~$35k after tax credits.
If GM can build enough Bolts to keep up with demand (the waiting list here in Europe is apparently 12 months now), and with the other big players trying to catch up (Hyundai, Nissan, Ford all expected to have 200+ mile range models in 2018), Tesla has to hurry up and deliver on their target price, delivery dates and volume.
Even if it comes out to be 40K or 45K -- that's still way lower than it was when it started.
You can get nitpicky about the specifics, it's also completely expected that Musk is always late but always delivers, and usually for a little bit more than expected. This is his MO.
I think we may need to start applying a "multiplier" to any costs or delivery dates that Elon mentions. I love him to death but he does have quite a history of underestimating these things.
I had to have the tile roof on my 1923 house replaced due to a massive hail storm (in roughly 2006). The house's footprint is about 1000 square feet, so not entirely sure of the actual roof area (probably about 1200 sq/ft), but the bill for removal of the old roof, some repairs to the sheathing, and replacement with new tiles was about $55,000 - materials (Ludowici tiles) and labor.
The solar roof quote for our roof from the Telsa website was about $48,000. So, in my case it would have been competitive.
My new tile roof has a 75 year warranty, btw.
If I were to have switched to slate or terra cotta or glass solar tiles I'd have to tear down the roof and rebuild it because normal houses in the US are not designed to hold that sort of weight, it requires a stronger roof structure, and sometimes stronger walls to hold the heavier roof. Possibly the rest of the structure would have to be reinforced as well. Doing this correctly requires a consultation with a licensed structural engineer. That sort of roof rebuild would cost from $20,000 - $50,000 depending on the scope needed according to the engineer, and that's before adding the roofing materials.
Many homes, even ones they're building now, are not designed to support anything more than a few layers of standard asphalt shingles.
BTW, it's ridiculous that we're talking "down" to asphalt shingles now because of this. Some of those come with 50+-year warranties now...
I looked at getting a metal roof, and standing seam was going to cost about $16k.
Edited to add: The cost of living is cheap where I am.
Same. There seems to be a subset of HackerNews who thinks that most homeowners can pay $50k for a roof and $35k for a car. It's cool high-end stuff, but certainly is not mainstream.
However, when I add 2 electric cars, the savings nearly triple . Instead of buying gasoline, I'll be paying for electricity.
At $5,400/year, spending $70,000 starts to make some sense.
On the other hand, if I put up ugly panels and still use the Tesla batteries, aren't I going to save a lot more?
 24,000 miles/year, 225 miles @ $10 per charge, vs. 25 mpg @$3/gal
EDIT: Corrected KWh charge... $10 is cost for one charge.
If the goal is to help the environment, it's probably still better to buy a beater gas car and buy carbon credits with the difference. Also there are tons of other things you can do like downsizing, eating less meat, biking to work, etc.
If that's not your thing, great. Then this isn't the product for you.
*Shitty in how they look, not how they perform.
I can drive through a 600k+ neighborhood (5x-6x higher than the average house in my metro) and see this terrible looking shingle. I honestly feel bad for Mr. Jones who can't afford a new cedar (or fake cedar) roof because the option of a nice asphalt isn't allowed in his HOA.
> When I saw the demo he did at Universal Studios... What I saw was a piece of glass that looked like it had a cell in it. The challenges he’s going to have is, how are you going to wire it? Every one of those shingles has to be wired.
> Roofs have valleys and they have hips and they have pipes. … How are you going to work around that? How are you going to cut that glass? Are you going to cut right through the cell?
The latter question is perhaps answered by the posted article, "Solar Roof uses two types of tiles—solar and non-solar." So Petersen's question is moot, the glass/solar tiles don't have to be cut to fit in a hip or around a flue, that will be done to the non-solar tiles that look the same.
The question of wiring is open: imagine the grid of wires that have to underly that roof, and getting them all put down without a break or a short, by big guys with nail guns (if you've ever watched roofers at work -- it isn't a precision operation).
Then Petersen goes on to say,
> So I would say for the record ... it’ll be cost-prohibitive. ... For $55,000 I can give you a brand-new roof that will last forever — 50 years — and I can give you all the solar you can handle. ... (Musk’s) product is going to be north of $100,000.
The graph in the posted article does not directly address total up-front installed cost, but rather tries to combine cost with some anticipated lifetime energy return -- a procedure with a LOT of variables and assumptions. I would like to see real numbers for a Tesla roof, $/sq.yd installed.
The question of installation is a straightforward challenge that's easily testable, presumably they have a solution that works or they wouldn't announce yet. It's pretty obvious to see if it's going to work or not: just send a team out to put on a test roof and see how much work it is.
I call bullshit. First, I do not believe they actually know the size of my house or the orientation of the (numerous) roof pitches to the sun. Spoiler: it's only 1300 sq feet and the longest roof ridge is oriented NW-SE, far from optimal for exposure.
Then there are the three very large oak trees that shadow it from three sides.
Then there is the fact that my utility is a local one, not PG&E, and I doubt they took the different rate structure into account. And if they did, how the F do they know what Palo Alto utilities will charging in 10, 20 or 30 years?
They don't know. The whole calculator is a bogus fantasy toy.
We recently signed a contract to do an installation on our house (with a local contractor, not SolarCity). It can't happen soon enough! We'll have enough panels and batteries to be 100% off-grid throughout the entire year, plus get a good chunk of change back from the Net Metering every year. Pay off is only 8 years!
That installation is enough to cover our normal electric usage. Longer term I want to replace our gas appliances with electric and replace the car with a Tesla. Then we can double our solar installation to keep pace and BAM we will be 100% clean energy and off-grid. All while saving a bucket of money.
The thought of running off grid in the middle of a Southern California suburb? People might think me crazy, but guess what? At least we're doing our small part to save the planet, and saving money doing it. So who's the crazy one?
Switching from gas to electricity for heating is a bad idea if there's still coal power stations in use, if you're not selling your excess power to the grid, they're going to turn on that coal power plant again.
Sharing power is a much better idea than trying to store it in batteries, unless those batteries are in a car
You misunderstand. Our solar installation will be expanded to cover the appliances. We'll be 100% off-grid.
> Going off grid means you need a lot more batteries
We only need 3 PowerWalls to cover all our needs (~1 for our needs now, 3 for when we have electric appliances and a car). That's not "a lot more".
> Sharing power is a much better idea than trying to store it in batteries, unless those batteries are in a car
Huh? Why would sharing power be a better idea? Solar panels generate the majority of their power in ~4 hour window. Energy storage is _mandatory_.
But ... when night falls, and I'm not generating any more power, where am I supposed to get power? Do I just live without power every night? And everyone else does too? Cause the only alternative is to burn fossil fuels to power everyone's homes during the night. Fossil fuels being perhaps the most inefficient solar batteries available to us.
And yes, fossil fuels _are_ batteries. Solar batteries in fact. It's just that they have an unimaginably terrible conversion loss, not to mention they're highly destructive to the environment, and take millions of years to charge. If they ever do recharge, which is unlikely, since our planet is not likely to revisit the eras that gave rise to significant quantities of them again.
I think I'll stick with lithium cells with their "conversion loss" of 80%, that take up a small portion of a wall in my house, and last for decades.
2. Using those batteries a lot every night wears them out more.
3. There are many alternatives to fossil fuels at night, wind, tidal, solar salt heating, nuclear, biofuels. Whether it's better to share or store would depend on many factors.
a) What power sources are used on your grid
b) What the demand is at each point in the day
c) The transmission efficiency vs the battery conversion efficiency
d) The resource cost of the batteries
Water heaters, stoves/ranges, etc.
I'd double check my math, because economic law says that's unlikely.
The batteries are a different matter. I believe net meter makes them irrelevant, so the equation stays the same for most "sane" people. For me, I want to be off-grid, so I'm happy to pay a premium for batteries. That said, SGIP makes them roughly free if we get lucky. We'll see what happens.
BUT! How many wealthy people have beautiful houses that don't have solar panels? Why do you think that is?
Tesla has this cool factor that didn't exist for environmentally friendly things before. How many super rich people drove electric cars or hybrids before? Now Teslas are one of the cool things to have.
They are absolutely targeting a different segment of the population, but I think overall it's a very positive thing and it'll probably work.
I don't really have any answers on this, I just think it doesn't get talked about enough.
Perhaps it would be more equitable if Tesla received the subsidy directly. But that places the government in the business of choosing winners without the market signals of who would actually succeed if given the subsidy. Politically that's such a minefield. And no one ever lost votes for promoting a tax cut.
Imagine you worked for $10/hour, and somehow got put in charge of designing the incentives. Do you think they would look like this? I don't.
Anyway, you're coming at this all wrong. If I was in charge of designing this program, my mandate would not be to help poor people or rich people, it would be to increase solar power. How do you increase solar power? By paying for part of it. Who benefits? Whoever's buying it. Who pays to install solar power? Not poor people.
That might be a desirable outcome, if you are more opposed to rich people getting tax breaks than you are to fossil fuels. But in that case, why not just raise taxes on rich people, and leave the solar incentive out of this?
And, again, I don't have ideal answers. But, I think there's a problem with the government consistently serving wealthy folks, even when those folks are living in much larger houses and consuming far more resources. Should a person with a 4000 sq ft house, consuming 5x the power of a lower income family in an 800 sq ft apartment, really be getting paid off to reduce their consumption?
If we're serious about the problem of climate change, energy independence, etc., we have to start looking at the actual numbers. If five low-income families are consuming the same resources as one wealthy family...what needs to change to bring the 5x family's consumption down? Solar incentives are one of the options; but, again, they serve only the wealthy (and, as far as I know, most solar installations do not replace the entire household usage, and only reduce it by 30-50%). That outsized power consumer is costing everyone more in terms of what it will cost to respond to climate change.
The question is why are the wealthy being rewarded when they're still consuming more than their poorer neighbors (well, probably not actually neighbors...the poor folks are on the other side of town due to zoning laws).
And, on another "class war" theme, the poorest people are the ones being hit hardest and soonest by the effects of climate change. The multiple "100 year record-setting flood" events in Austin destroyed poor southeastern neighborhoods twice in the past five years. Those were the lowest cost neighborhoods, and decisions were made by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect more expensive homes, and ignore the risks to the poorer neighborhoods. Lousiana, Florida, the Carolinas, have all had major weather events in the past several years (not all can be proven to be the result of climate change, but the severity and frequency seems clearly on an upward trend) and the impact has been predominantly borne by the poor.
OK...I went off on a bit of tear there. My point is that I feel a certain discomfort at how readily environmental causes are used to strengthen the position of those who are already wealthy and already relatively safe from environmental destruction, while the folks most likely to be impacted are invisible.
I am aware of green home initiatives at various levels of government (I've owned a home in the past, and have taken advantage of some of those). Again, I'm not opposed to the subsidies and tax credits that incentivize power reduction.
> Characterizing the current policy as "let's give wealthy people more money to play with" is inaccurate, unless you think the people filling out the form to get a $50 rebate on attic insulation are doing so on a yacht.
We're not talking about a $50 rebate. This is a tax credit worth several thousand dollars, for an upgrade that increases the value of a home by a notable amount, for a home that will probably still consume more power than a poor family's apartment.
My concerns about this are:
1. We are past the point of inevitable crisis in terms of climate change; we really can't do enough at this point to stave off significant human health, ecological, and economic impact. Even if we, as a nation, started making significant changes today (which we are politically farther away from than we've been in decades), we'd still face serious problems.
2. There are households that consume multiples of what poor families consume...and they're being rewarded with heavily discounted amazing new home upgrades because of it, increasing their wealth and decreasing tax revenue. Yes, it has a positive environmental result, and it may be worth it, but are there ways we can reward lower power users, too. Many municipalities have tiered power prices; e.g. .11/kWh for the first 500, .12/kWh for the next 1000, etc. Maybe that needs to be more aggressive. Directly addressing usage can incentivize a wide variety of changes, and discourage McMansions (which are disastrous from a wide variety of angles). Egregious energy consumers are externalizing their environmental impact. (This is even more true on a commercial and industrial level but that's another discussion entirely.)
3. Poor folks often can't get any of the stuff you're talking about (e.g. subsidies for insulation), because they rent. So, they are at the mercy of their landlord for how efficient their home is (and that's a potential problem with tiered pricing; there obviously needs to be incentives for landlords to increase efficiency and disincentives for owning inefficient properties, too).
I think you're taking my talking about the issues as being Policy Pronouncements, and that those pronouncements can be simplified into "Take money from rich people and give it to poor people".
It isn't (and I tried to make that clear in each of my rants on the subject). I am not saying, "These subsidies should not exist, and we should give money to the poor." I am saying, "Poor people are getting fucked daily, often to improve the position of wealthy people and in the name of something inarguably good, like 'protecting the environment'; how about we start trying to figure out how to fix that?" Add up the thousands of tiny ways wealth inequality is enabled in the US, often in the name of good things (like making neighborhoods safer, improving the environment, reducing drug use, etc.), and we end up with the low churn of wealth, and increasing chasm between the classes, that we currently see.
Believe me, I'm all in favor of "Take money from rich people and give it to poor people". Which we already do, in a variety of ways! I just think we ought to be able to talk about specific policies like "Should we spend money on getting more solar power?" separately from that. You think climate change is an urgent problem? I agree, which is why the objection you're raising here seems like quibbling. If an asteroid were hurtling towards the Earth, and someone proposed that we build a rocket to fly a ragtag group of oilrig workers led by Bruce Willis to blow it up and save the world, would you stand up in that meeting and say, "Yeah, I guess that would work, but I'm concerned that it might exacerbate income inequality"?