New Roofing News from Tesla
Back in May of last year we brought you news of Tesla’s revolutionary new solar roof tiles which should have been available towards the end of the year. However, the launch of production was delayed until December and Tesla is currently in the process of surveying the homes of those who placed a deposit (of $1,000 or £800 in the UK) last year. The installation process was originally set to being in the US in the summer of 2017, but has been delayed until now, despite the tiles being successfully installed on the homes of more than a dozen Tesla employees, including founder, Elon Musk.
Elon Musk’s Solar Roof is manufactured by Tesla and is comprised of glass tiles embedded with photovoltaic cells (this is the technology that converts the photons in sunlight into electricity). The tiles are designed to look like regular roof tiles, which is more aesthetically pleasing than the solar panels we see installed on roofs at the moment. Musk has promised that the Solar Roof will be durable and will be a third cheaper than a regular roof, when you take into account the electricity savings and tax credits involved.
The tiles will be sold through SolarCity, an energy storage business that was incorporated into Tesla in 2016. SolarCity provides technologies for mounting solar panels on rooftops developed by Zep Solar which is best known for inventing a system that enables photovoltaic installers to snap together roof panels more quickly than other installation techniques which reduces installation time and makes the process easier.
Tesla’s Solar Roof has been described by Elon Musk as “It’s not a thing on a roof. It is the roof”, which is a very different approach to solar energy harvesting than we’ve seen in the past. At present there’s a house touring Australia that is 100% Tesla powered and aims to show visitors how to set up their own Tesla solar and energy storage systems. The house, which is actually a tiny design studio being towed around by a Tesla Model X vehicle (just to keep everything in-house) is powered by a 2kW solar system and Powerwall and generates enough electricity for day and night use and can be can be controlled by the Tesla app.
An average 3,000 square foot roof will cost about $65,000 (£50,000) so it represents a huge investment for homeowners here in the UK. However, Musk is confident that the investment will pay off, especially considering the fact that the roof will carry an “infinity warranty”, whereas most roofs need replacing totally at some point.
At present, the Solar Roof tiles are available in “black glass smooth” and “textured” but SolarCity recently announced the imminent release of both “Tuscan” and “French Slate” tiles as the first alternatives. The Solar Roof can be used in conjunction with Tesla’s home energy storage device, Powerwall which will enable consumers to power their homes on a 24 hour basis while reducing their carbon footprint. This makes good business sense as it’s hoped that the introduction of the Solar Roof will increase consumer interest in the Powerwall, which is essentially a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which has been developed by Tesla for home energy storage.
We’ll keep an eye on developments with this new technology so that we can keep you, our readers, updated as news happens.