Tesla solar roof is the first of its kind in St. Johns County

Project is believed to be the first in St. Johns County


St. Augustine’s Bill and Gillian Tait are the first homeowners to install a full Tesla roof with solar panels in St. Johns County, according to the two Jacksonville-based companies overseeing the construction.

The couple chose to go with the emerging technology for a number of reasons.

“Well, for example, we wanted solar power because it just makes so much sense,” said Bill Tait in a recent interview with The Record. “And we really liked the look of the panels.”

The panels – each 15 inches wide by 45 inches long – are coupled to a Tesla Solar Inverter and can generate 340 watts, more than enough to power the average household, with the ability to store additional energy in batteries.

The Taits, who previously lived on Anastasia Island, are building a new home on a waterfront lot in St. Augustine Shores.

Tesla has signed a contract with Parrot Solar and Ron Russell Roofing, both in Jacksonville.

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According to Tommy Cusick, owner of Parrot Solar, it is easier and cheaper to install a solar roof in new construction than it is to retrofit one.

Cusick said it is difficult to provide cost estimates for Tesla solar roof systems because every structure is different. Some real estate owners are opting for partial panel systems, while others want full coverage, he said.

But since its introduction to the market around 2006, Tesla’s proprietary solar technology – now in its third version – has become more efficient and cheaper, reducing costs to the end user after initial outlay.

“We like to say this is the only roof that pays for itself in full,” said Cusick. “Rather than getting a traditional roof and the investment going down the day it’s installed, it is [the Tesla solar roof] will only increase in value. “

The average payback time is between 12 and 15 years, according to Cusick.

Tesla solar roof systems are several times stronger than standard roofing materials such as clapboards or concrete slabs and are designed for weather protection against high winds, hail and major hurricanes.

“We rely on Mr. Musk and his 25-year warranty,” said Tait.

As the Sunshine State, Florida has an abundant source of clean energy from which to draw, and Cusick said his company is seeing an increasing interest in solar energy across the board.

There’s also a coolness factor to the look of these modern glossy black reflective tiles that cover a home, as well as the Tesla name itself.

A project unveiled in Bonita Springs, Florida in 2019 that billed itself as a “home of the future” included a fully tiled Tesla sunroof, the same kind the Taits are getting; a Tesla Powerwall battery to store the solar energy for 24-hour use; and a Tesla Model 3 electric car in the garage that could also be charged to the system.

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