(Adding video, comments from Greenlee Roofing, solar roof homeowner)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new way to do solar roofing has arrived in Central Oregon, and it's backed by Tesla, the high-profile electric car maker.
Jake Hermeling is the first Central Oregon homeowner to have a Tesla solar roof built on a house.
“I think the beauty of the product is that you can’t tell it’s solar,” Hermeling said Monday.
The roof has solar tiles that are designed to look like shingles, instead of the typical solar panels.
“Most people come by, they have no idea,” Hermeling said.
The roof was installed by Greenlee Roofing, a Bend-based company that received clearance from Tesla last January.
The company's website said the solar roof tiles are "are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles."
A few other companies have clearance throughout the state, but Director of Sales Hobie Smith said Greenlee is “the first and only in Central Oregon.”
Smith said a roof like Hermeling’s would roughly cost $18,000 to $20,000 for typical shingles. The solar roof is close to $25,000 to $30,000 more.
But Hermeling said having a "net positive house," with the opportunity for a tax rebate, is worth the upfront cost.
“As I was factoring it into my build cost, it was not a difficult decision for me, on the financial side,” he said.
Smith said the solar roof could eliminate a homeowner's typical monthly energy cost.
“Everything that he would be spending per month, whether it be $150 to $200 per month, he’s gaining 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 tracks 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 him confident he’s in the right place to go solar.
“One of the unique things Central Oregon has, in regards to solar in the state of Oregon in general, is 300 days of sun, right? That's usually the biggest factor you need with solar panels,” Hermeling said.