Tesla gets all the attention lately when it comes to solar roofs, but start-up Forward Labs has been hammering away at their own solar roof technology – and not only is it 33% cheaper that Tesla’s offering, but it can be installed in half of the time. Forward Labs’ design blends right in with traditional roofs, and it’s made of monocrystalline solar cells with a higher density that other solar roofing options
Whereas Tesla’s solar roof is made from individual shingles, Forward Labs’ standing-seam metal roof is made up of one large, layered piece. It has a tempered glass surface, with an “optimal chromatic cloaking” layer right below. The roof comes in 8 colors right now, but thanks to the chromatic layer, any color is technically possible.
Related: Tesla’s groundbreaking solar roof just hit the market
Because Forward Labs uses more cost-effective materials, it costs on average 33% less than the Tesla solar roof. According to the CEO, the solar roof will cost $8.50 per square foot for the base roof, plus $3.25 per watt for the solar.
Installation can be done in just a few days – about half of the time as other solar roofs. The system is passively cooled via air gaps below the panels, and if a panel breaks, it can be popped out and replaced by a new one. The roof looks identical to other metal roofs, so it could easily pass a Home Owner’s Association’s muster, and each installation can provide decades of solar power.
Taylor, Forward Labs CEO, told Green Tech Media that the company is aiming to do the right thing for the right reason. In contrast, he believes that Tesla’s design is the “wrong thing for the right reason.” “It’s wrong to devalue people’s houses with something that doesn’t look good. It’s wrong to put holes in roofs; it’s wrong to go to war with homeowner associations; and it’s wrong to try to ram something down people’s throats that they don’t want,” he said.
The company is also working with conventional asphalt shingle companies to recycle removed roofing materials. Forward Labs are currently taking reservations with installation starting next year.
Via Treehugger and Green Tech Media
to MFCABINS - according to +Forward Labs website, solar roofing is only installed on the most southern/least shaded areas and the rest of the roof is covered in non-solar galvanized metal roofing @ $8.50 sqft. You don't pay for solar watt charge for the non-solar portion of the roof. The solar portion is 19 watts/sq ft.
No attic in many, if not most New Zealand houses. Wiring going to be an issue?
dmedakovic - That was exactly my thought. But Tesla already thought of it -- their website makes it clear that you can order either generating or non-generating tiles. https://www.tesla.com/solarroof debnova - Have you looked into Solar City and any of their deals? You might not need to finance PV capability yourself. Or the Tesla roof website talks about adding the cost of their roof, minus the 30% tax credit, to one's mortgage. https://www.tesla.com/solarroof mfcabins/allset007 -- From the Tesla website, it looks like their figure of about $25 /sft is installed. You don't have a choice -- if you buy it, Tesla installs it. And they provide a list of what is and is not included in the price -- yes for removing old roof, no for skylights and gutters -- those are extra. That's still 50 grand for your 2,000 soft roof, but it's apparently the total cost -- less the 30% tax credit, so around $35 K. It's still a lot of money, but if you price out a conventional roof plus the cost of a PV rig, it starts to sound pretty reasonable. https://www.tesla.com/solarroof
SIgh. I'm disappointed, again, that solar is just not affordable for me. I only can afford a fixer upper house, under 80K, so this is out of my financial range. And yes, there are homes in my price range in some rural places. Gosh, I do hope I can use the money saving solar system sooner than later. But, this is helpful
What all these companies need to offer are cosmetically matching non-solar shingles. Why would anyone pay a huge premium to put solar shingles on an entire roof, when only some of that roof (usually one side) is getting good sunlight (unless you live near the equator). I would love to do my south facing roof in solar tile and the rest in a standard, cosmetically matching roof product. Then it's closer to affordable.
It is great to have alternatives
Sorry I messed up on my math (I wrote the mfcabins comment). Got interrupted then posted the comment and I don't know how to delete it! Anyway the corrected math is a total cost of $62.68 per square foot for the total package. So based on 2,000 square feet it is still very expensive at $125,360. Input on this anyone?
Let's do the math on the actual cost of supplying and installing this solar roofing. According to the CEO of Forward Labs, the cost is $8.50 per square foot for the base roof, and $3.25 per watt for the solar. They don't mention how many watts per square foot this system produces, so for my calculations I will assume something similar to standard solar panels. Let's assume a 3' x 5' (15 square feet) solar panel will produce 250 watts. That works out to approx. 16.67 watts per square foot. So at $3.25 per watt of solar for this roofing system, every square foot of roof will cost 16.67 x $3.25 = $54.18 per square foot. Add that to the base roof cost and we have a total of $63.75 per square foot for the total package. A medium sized house will have lets say 2,000 square feet of roof. That's a price of $127,500. Either my math is wrong or these solar roofs are ridiculously expensive. I won't be insulted if I'm shown a mistake in my math!
I don't see anything comparing the solar gain. Okay, it's cheaper -- but is it as good in the term of results? Did you even think of including that info? If not, WHY not?
Im a taker for the metal looking roof for most I believe. Spanish tile is nice but I think more would gravitate to the standard roof tile look or metal look.
It is great to have alternatives. I'm glad Tesla is not ramming anything down my throat, fortunately we all are free to choose what to buy or not to buy.
Forward Labs doesn't know how long it takes to install a Tesla roof. Forward Lab's roof looks like a metal roof and that may be what some customers are looking for but many will strongly prefer the look of Spanish Tile or French Slate.