Tesla Solar Roof - 33 yr. old Connecticut home successfully renovated & electrified. No more gas!

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 29 2023 (updated on May 6 2024) in
  • Efficiency
  • EVs
  • Solar
  • Tesla
  • My video below and this article are not sponsored.

    In 2022, my wife and I decided to downsize to a nearby house that was built by the same La Cava Construction that crafted over a thousand simple, sturdy homes in Connecticut. We had set a goal to find an efficient "forever home" with fixed monthly costs. Choosing this modest 1,856 sq. ft. one story house in Wethersfield Connecticut worked out well for us, but it wasn't easy. Our story began with our home purchase offer being accepted in June of 2022. That very same day, we paid the $250 deposit to get our place in a long line of folks waiting for Tesla Solar. A lot has happened since then, but those details on the variety of efficiency-related renovations are for another article.

    One-story homes feature bigger roofs, thus, a better shot at being closer to net zero cost for energy usage. Our town also doesn't allow for ground-mount solar, so going beyond the roof wasn't an option. Waiting around for our utility to be eventually be completely off fossil fuels wasn't an appealing option either. I'm not going to claim our chosen type of solar is for everybody. For our particular circumstances and situation, it did seem right for us, and I share it as an example of what is possible. Why? Well, when I was placing my order, it felt incredibly risky since I couldn't find specific stories of folks in New England moving off fossil fuels for heat, relying only on heat pumps.

    Our chosen house has no trees, with lots of west-southwest roof surfaces. This made solar viable for us, and it needed a new roof. With a large roof surface facing the road, we weren't keen on traditional solar panels, which would only cover about 60% of our roof. So we went for a Tesla Solar Roof covering about 83% of our roof, featuring:

    • 27.6 kW of solar
    • 4 Powerwall 2 batteries
    • 3 Tesla Solar Inverters
    • 1 Tesla Backup Gateway 2
    • 1 SPAN smart panel (200A)
      The photos and drone (quad-copter) video clips in this feature were all taken between July 2022 and October 2023.


    TinkerTry YouTube Channel - Oct 28 2023 - Tesla Solar Roof - 33 yr. old Connecticut home successfully renovated & electrified. No more gas!

    Presentation Deck (Google Slides)

    Here's the Google Doc version of the presentation I gave at last month's NEEVS (Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium) , complete with animations. Enjoy!

    The 2023 Federal Tax Credit for Solar means we'll be getting 30% off this solar + roof. We also used incentives for our insulation upgrades, and for our triple-pane windows and heat pump based HVAC and water heating systems. We went with MERV13 filtration just-in-time for terrible Canadian wildfire smoke, and we're working on year-round humidity control too.

    Long term, I'm hopeful the planned changes to how accelerate installations by training third parties will be beneficial to customers.

    I try to make my buying choices based on research and economics, not tweets and politics. The many employees of Tesla that I've met and/or been on the phone with these past 5 years of Tesla Model 3 and now solar ownership have impressed and inspired me, and they really seem to take pride in the work that they do. It's with them in mind that my wife and I took the risk of getting this system, with over 3,000 folks doing so before us. Unfortunately, prices have gone up since we placed our order.

    If you found this video to be inspiring and helpful and you want to save $ on your Tesla purchase(s), please consider using my referral link:
    which also earns TinkerTry.com some modest perks. Details on Tesla's Refer and Earn program here:

    If you found the smart SPAN panel to be of interest, I have a detailed article for you where I discuss it with my electrician and a representative from SPAN:

    Disclosure: I hold no stocks and never held stocks in any of the tech companies mentioned at TinkerTry, including Tesla and any other company mentioned in this article.

    If you are interested in a series of deeply technical articles and more videos about all the challenges that went into ripping out our baseboard heat and natural gas lines and going all-electric, while also upgrading the windows and insulation and air-tightness (AeroBarrier), please use the Follow links listed below.

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    If you decide to order SPAN and valued this article and/or video, please consider letting SPAN know about it. While there are no discounts or perks currently offered, it lets them know there's interest from sites like mine, which is very helpful.

    Details about me here.
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    My solar system has PTO (Permission To Operate) and Charge On Solar works for both of our Model 3s, but he doesn't yet have the $ saving VPP feature. Stay tuned!

    My SPAN smart panel was crucial to the success of my electrification project, so I'd encourage you to check out my article EV Club of CT's smart electrical panel discussion featuring SPAN, electrician, & homeowner.

    If you're interested in following my biggest sustainability project ever that details my (mostly) successful effort to go all-electric at my home using heat pumps, solar, and batteries, consider subscribing to the TinkerTry YouTube Channel, then click on the alarm icon to get notified of new videos. Also consider showing your support on my Patreon page.

    Clicking/tapping the image above visits my Tesla Referral Link that can get you hundreds off your Tesla Order.

    If you wind up being interested in Tesla products including solar, you can indicate your appreciation and save yourself some money by using my referral link ts.la/paul68544, with referral details fully disclosed here.

    Mar 17 2024 Updates

    $100 deposit changed to $250 (that I found out later by digging up the Tesla invoice).
    65% and 80% changed to more accurate 60% and 83%.

    See also


    See also at TinkerTry