David Silverstein’s house sits on a secluded lot in northern Westminster near Silver Run, surrounded by trees and a few other homes at the end of a private drive.
At first glance, the house looks a lot like those of his neighbors. The big difference lies on top of the home itself.
Silverstein, a Sykesville native, is vice president of American Home Contractors, which is a certified installer of Tesla solar roofs. The Liberty High School graduate in November went to Tesla solar tiles to cover his own house, giving Silverstein and his family a source of clean, reusable energy powered by the sun. The goal is to reduce carbon footprints, he said, and get away from tapping into the earth’s limited fossil fuel supply.
“It’s really important that we transition people over to sustainable energy,” Silverstein said. “This is obviously satisfying that mission. ... There’s no better time to go solar than when you’re replacing your roof.”
The integrated roofing system is the first of its kind in Carroll, and Silverstein said American Home Contractors has installed several around the region. A project in Eldersburg is up next for Silverstein and his company, he said.
American Home Contractors completed online training several months ago before being approved by Tesla as certified installers, Silverstein said. His company serves customers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and he said less than 100 Tesla roof systems have been installed around the state.
Silverstein’s house is topped with custom-fit tiles that look like those for a traditional roof surface, instead of solar glass panels attached to the existing structure. The tiles soak up the sun’s rays and serve as solar cells, which are paired with batteries, or powerwalls, in Silverstein’s basement that provide zero-emissions energy throughout his home.
When night falls, or if the sun is behind a blanket of clouds, for example, the powerwalls can discharge the stored energy to wherever it’s needed. Silverstein can oversee all of the solar specifics, along with either of his two Tesla electric vehicles, through an app on his smartphone.
“I’m thrilled with it, and everyone that we’ve installed the roof for has been ecstatic,” he said. “The pictures online don’t really do it justice.”
Silverstein said his system was turned on in January, and the house ran smoothly throughout the winter months.
“It’s completely sustainable,” he said. “If the power goes out, or if the grid goes down, we’re able to generate clean electricity and consume it, charge, discharge, and continue that cycle indefinitely.”
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Sarah Jachowski, marketing director for American Home Contractors, said partnering with Tesla has been a boon for the company. AHC, based in Fulton, is the only certified Tesla installer in the Mid-Atlantic region, she said. With more people using eco-friendly products, Jachowski said the benefits are many going with Tesla.
“Tesla was kind of on our radar for sure,” Jachowski said. “It was one those, we wanted to reach for the stars and hopefully land on the moon at some point.”
Installing the Tesla solar system can run upward of $50,000, Silverstein said, but he and his company are betting on the customer’s investment outweighing the cost.
“I think a lot more people are going to be interested in this product as more and more people adopt it and it’s getting out in the market,” Silverstein said. “There are going to be additional versions. They’re going to optimize this.”
Silverstein said the people at the county’s Bureau of Permits and Inspections didn’t quite know how to handle his unique request a few months ago. But a visit from a home inspector confirmed what Silverstein said he knew from the start ― the Tesla solar roof is up to code and aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
The company is hoping more people around Carroll will soon agree, he said.
“Partnering with Tesla has been great,” Silverstein said. “This is just the start, this is just the beginning. ... I want to try and help as many people in Carroll County as we can.”