Tesla solar roof available in Central Oregon; Bend resident says extra cost is worth it

(Add video, comments from Greenlee Roofing, homeowner on sunroof)

BEND, Oregon (KTVZ) — A new way to make solar roofs has arrived in Central Oregon and is supported by Tesla, the well-known electric car maker.

Jake Hermeling is the first homeowner in Central Oregon to have a Tesla solar roof built on a home.

“I think the beauty of the product is that you can’t see it’s solar,” Hermeling said Monday.

The roof has solar tiles designed to look like shingles, rather than the typical solar panels.

“Most people come by, they have no idea,” Hermeling says.

The roof was installed by Greenlee Roofing, a Bend company that received permission from Tesla last January.

The company’s website said the solar roof tiles are “more than three times stronger than standard roof tiles.”

A few other companies have statewide approval, but sales director Hobie Smith said Greenlee is “the first and only one in Central Oregon.”

Smith said a roof like Hermeling’s would cost about $18,000 to $20,000 for typical shingles. The sunroof is nearly $25,000 to $30,000 more.

But Hermeling said having a “net positive home,” with the option of tax credit, is worth the initial cost.

“Because I factored it into my construction costs, it wasn’t a difficult decision for me financially,” he said.

Smith said the sunroof could eliminate a homeowner’s typical monthly energy costs.

“Anything he would spend a month, whether it’s $150 to $200 a month, he gets back,” Smith said.

However, not every tile on the roof is solar. The roof is made up of solar tiles and dummy tiles.

Smith said the dummy tiles have the same glass structure, but without the solar technology to avoid wasting money and resources in areas that wouldn’t produce enough energy.

Hermeling explained to NewsChannel 21 how he keeps track of the roof’s energy consumption.

“Tesla has an app that shows what the roof is producing in real time,” he said. “It shows what the house is consuming and how much is going to the grid.”

Hermeling said it’s the amount of sun his house gets that makes sure he’s in the right place to go solar.

“One of the unique things that Central Oregon has in regards to solar energy in the state of Oregon in general is 300 days of sunshine, right? That’s usually the biggest factor you need with solar panels,” Hermeling says.

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