Just a few weeks ago, Elon Musk announcemed that his new solar shingles would cost “less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account.” While the announcement may have sounded appealing to many, news outlets are beginning to question Musk’s claim, explaining that what is “normal” for Musk may not be normal for the average American.
Since Musk’s much-anticipated solar roofing announcement, headlines have run in numerous major news outlets praising him and the “normal” price of his solar shingles. Despite the positive reviews, some news outlets are refraining from voicing support.
The major issue that many readers have found is that these major publications such as Huffington Post and Popular Mechanics make no mention of what “normal” roofing costs.
Musk, though an innovator in several areas of technology, is not the average American. Rather, he comes from an area of the country populated by the rich and famous where expensive clay tile and slate roofs are more common.
The two leading forms of roofing are asphalt shingles and metal roofing. Approximately 80% of roofs in the U.S. are asphalt shingles, with metal following closely behind.
Not only are metal roofs more common, but they have a longer life expectancy, as well. Metal roofing has a lifespan of up to 50 years, while there is no update on how often a solar roof would need to be replaced.
In addition, metal and shingle roofs, under normal circumstances, should be inspected once or twice annually. Inspections for a solar roof could be more costly and have to occur more frequently.
Other than Musk’s price announcement, little is known about how well solar shingles would function or what their life expectancy looks like. Will they eventually outpace metal and shingle roofs? Only time will tell.