Tesla—a company whose name is synonymous with high-end electric vehicles—is now introducing a new line of solar roof tiles
Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Tesla
Tesla has become known for its luxurious electric automobiles. But solar energy always has been part of the technology and design company’s strategy. The first master plan that Tesla CEO Elon Musk penned 10 years ago included three goals: to create a high-end electric sports car; to use the money from their first auto to develop another electric vehicle at a lower price; and to provide solar power—all in hopes of one day achieving a sustainable energy economy. Fast-forward to today, and the Palo Alto-based company not only makes and markets a full line of electric vehicles—from sedans to an SUV—but now offers a line of attractive solar roof tiles that can convert sunlight into electricity, and in turn, lower utility rates.
According to Tesla, orders already are being accepted for the tiles, which will first be sold in the U.S. and, eventually, worldwide. Designed to resemble traditional roof shingles, the sleek, textured glass tiles offer a streamlined look and come in a variety of designs—the first tiles are available in gray smooth glass and black textured glass, with slate and Tuscan glass tiles arriving in 2018. The solar roof also can be integrated with a compact, stackable Powerwall that boasts a built-in invertor that can store energy produced by the solar tiles. The result? Continuous energy both day and night, even during grid outages. Users can also monitor and manage the tile and Powerwall from a smartphone via a Tesla App.
Tesla is currently taking orders for its solar roof/battery-storage package, with installation available on a first-ordered, first-installed basis beginning this year. Homeowners can enter their information at Tesla.com, with a $1,000 deposit to secure their spot on the order list. Tesla plans to manage the entire solar roof process—from the removal of the existing roof, design, permitting, installation (which takes five to seven days), operations and maintenance.
Customers can assess a calculator at Tesla. com/SolarRoof to estimate the price of the solar roof, along with the energy it can generate for their home. The calculator is based on factors such as roof size, average local price of electricity, number of Powerwalls installed and how much sunlight a neighborhood receives during the year, with the typical homeowner estimated to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof.
According to Tesla, its solar roof is affordable, and it is expected to ultimately pay for itself by reducing or eliminating a home’s electricity bill. Made with tempered glass, the durable and long-lasting solar roof tiles also are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. Finally, Tesla offers a warranty for the lifetime of the house, or infinity, whichever comes first.