The Solar Roof charges cars and homes

Electric vehicles (EVs) need electricity to charge them, and auto company Tesla has created a new way for people to charge their EVs overnight. The new "Solar Roof" can also be used as a power source for any electricity generation needs you have.

You might have noticed traditional solar panels on roofs in your neighborhood. The Solar Roof is different, because it uses small solar panels that look like roof tiles, making them a kind of invisible power plant on top of your house.

Close-up of slate Solar Roof tiles. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

Here are the simple steps to turn your roof solar. 

  1. Get online. Get a price quote online based on the size of your roof. That, along with your regional address, will also tell you roughly how much energy your roof would generate.

  2. Get in line. There is a waiting list, because this is a first-edition product. A $1,000 down payment will save your space in line.

  3. Consider the life span of your roof. Common asphalt roofs last about 15–20 years before they require a facelift. Try to find out the age of your roof—is it due for a replacement anyway? The Solar Roof warranty is for "the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”

  4. Do some more math. This type of roof should ultimately pay for itself with the electricity savings they produce, but to decide if this is a wise investment for you, work out exactly when that day will come. That way, you can start the countdown! 

  5. Pick your favorite style. Roof tiles are part of the overall look of your home. The smooth gray glass and textured black glass styles are the current available options. Next year, slate glass and Tuscan glass will be released.

  6. Check for tax credits. The Solar Energy Industries Association is a great place to search for Solar Investment Tax Credits. This can shrink the price tag by 30 percent.

Permitting, installation and maintenance of the Solar Roof is handled by Tesla, and the process takes about the same time as a regular roof, 5–7 days.

Learn more about types of solar energy