When you think of solar power systems, you probably imagine the classic solar array: some black panels that point toward the sky and absorb the energy of the sun's light and convert it into usable electricity. But if you look closely at the roofs of some houses, you might just notice a surprise.
In 2016, Tesla -- yes, that Tesla -- introduced something novel. Instead of solar panels that sit in your front yard or stand out on the roof, Tesla decided to turn every shingle into a solar panel. The Tesla solar roof replaces an existing roof and captures sunlight to help power your home in a clean and streamlined manner.
The Tesla solar roof system has not had the smoothest of rollouts, but the company recently announced plans to double down on the concept and try to turn what is currently a pricey project into a reality for consumers. (Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment.) For homeowners, that creates a conundrum: Should you go with the standard solar panel or try the less intrusive (but less proven) Tesla solar roof?
Solar panels should be relatively familiar by now, as they have been gaining popularity and have become more affordable in recent years. An array can be located on your roof or set to stand in your yard, depending on what works best for you. While there are a variety of different brands and types of panels, they all offer a clean energy alternative to fossil fuel sources like coal or natural gas. These panels can be expensive, and some are more difficult to install than others. But for the most part, you can expect cheaper energy bills, a smaller carbon footprint and increased property value.
The Tesla solar roof has all of the great promise that you would expect from the innovative company founded by Elon Musk. Instead of using panels, the concept turns your entire roof into your solar array. The Tesla solar roof uses tempered glass panels that replace your standard shingles, providing the same protection you'd expect from a traditional roof while also capturing solar energy. The Tesla solar roof is novel, but less proven and harder to transfer to another home if you move because they are custom made for each roof.