Tesla Debuts Solar Roof Tiles
Long-awaited solar shingles made their debut May 10, and the genius behind them is none other than Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, an electric vehicle manufacturer based in Fremont, California.
Tesla also makes residential energy storage systems under the Powerwall, a utility-scale energy storage solution which combines Powerwall with Powerpack, (available in certain areas only), and solar panels from its Palo Alto, California home base.
The solar roofing shingles – currently available in only one color (black) and two styles (textured and smooth) – are the frosting on Musk’s solar energy cake, which sees the solar shingles as part of its residential solar energy generation and storage business.
The tiles sell under Musk’s brand, Solar Roof, and consumers can choose how many solar photovoltaic (PV) tiles they need to incorporate based on their electricity consumption. Google has even designed an online calculator under its Project Sunroof that potential buyers can use to determine how many solar tiles they will need. The storage system includes a Powerwall, effectively turning the home into small, private electricity utility, or what energy gurus call “Building Integrated Photovoltaic” energy (BIPV for short).
The solar tiles have a 30-year power warranty, while their tempered glass surfaces will have an “infinity” warranty. Installations are expected to kick off in the U.S., starting in California this summer and abroad next year. Buyers will need to provide a down payment of $1,000.
The best part of the deal is that the solar shingles will cost less than a regular roof when homeowners factor in the electricity savings. The current cost, $21.85, is not that far removed than the $24.50 estimate for regular roofing put forth by Consumer Reports. Even so, estimates put the novel roofing solution cost above what Musk suggested going into the special shareholders meeting (on November 17, 2016), when he hinted that roofing costs would be lower, even before energy production.