First Tesla Solar Tile Roof installed in Massachusetts


  • Dorchester, Massachusetts in the USA is the home of the first Tesla solar tile roof in the state and the second on the East Coast, according to Bert Bremer, the homeowner.

“We needed a new roof, anyway,” said Bremer, who along with his wife, continues to look for ways to “live lightly” in their North Dorchester home that was built in 1895. The existing asphalt shingle roof had been installed in 1991.

The couple ordered the solar roof in 2017 and waited as Tesla moved through version 2 to version 3. Bremer noted that some homes on his street had installed conventional rooftop solar panels — but they wanted a better look.

System and install details

The 7.5 kW, version 3.0 system includes two Powerwall batteries — although there is no time-of-use pricing and there hasn’t been a local power failure in a few years, according to Bremer.

The 2.5-story home on a tight lot includes a steep roof with a 12:12 pitch that required some cooperation from neighbors regarding lift equipment and staging.

The Tesla crew is finishing up the installation on the approximately 2,200 square-foot home after 12 days that included some stoppage for inclement weather. There haven’t been any permitting issues, according to the homeowner.

Given the fixed dimensions of the tiles, he noted, “The trouble is you can’t fake it with the coursing — if you’re short or long — you use flashing,” and Bremer was “not super-thrilled” with the flashing around his chimney.
But Bremer, an architect, said that he was generally pleased with the end product: “It looks good.”

The homeowner noted that the solar shingles came from boxes marked, “Made in Buffalo, New York.”

The next installation stop for this particular crew is a Tesla solar roof in Salem, Massachusetts.

Recent history of Tesla solar tile

Late in 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced version 3.0 of the solar roof tile and, with characteristic optimism, claimed that the company would ramp production to 1,000 roofs per week by December of 2019. In a conference call, Musk said, “The solar roof does not make financial sense for someone with a relatively new roof,” and the goal was to install the solar roof as quickly as traditional composition shingles — with a target of eight hours.

pv magazine has been tracking Tesla’s solar roof tile installations around the San Francisco Bay Area, and we’ve seen enough to make some observations.

  • While a standard shingle roof remove-and-install typically takes eight hours over two days, the Tesla installs we’ve tracked are running ten days to two weeks and requiring a team of five to six people — with additional people brought in to install storage and electronics.
  • No microinverters or optimizers are being used.

Buffalo Business First reported that Tesla’s Buffalo, New York factory resumed production in late May after pausing the solar operations in March. On March 14, Musk tweeted that “Giga New York built 4 MW of Solar Roof last week, enough for up to 1000 homes!”

We’ve reached out to Alan Cooper, Director of Global Communications and Ignoring Press Inquiries at Tesla to verify the claimed volumes. We have not yet received a response.

The actual number of Tesla roof tile installations is comfortably under 1,000, according to our estimates.

Author: Eric Wesoff
This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.

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