Elon Musk is about to reshape the solar panel industry with these beautiful roof tiles
Alistair Charlton, International Business Times May 10, 2017
Tesla will begin accepting orders for its innovative new glass solar roof tiles today, 10 May, with UK delivery and installation starting in 2018.
Company boss Elon Musk tweeted the news, adding that the glass roof tiles will only be available in black at launch, with either a smooth or textured finish. Two other finishes, called Tuscan and French Slate, will be available to order in the US towards the end of 2017.
The new solar panels look like regular tiles and cover the entire roof of a house, but are in fact solar panels which gather energy from the sun and store it in a Tesla Powerwall fitted to the side of the building. This can then be used to power the house and take it ‘off-grid’ for some periods of the day.
As the technology evolves it is hoped electricity harvested during the day could be used to recharge a Tesla car each night.
The electric car maker says the tiles should cost no more than fitting a new regular roof, and the main selling point is how they look like regular roof tiles, lacking the ugly aesthetic of traditional solar panels.
Musk said on 10 May: “Tesla solar glass roof orders open this afternoon. I think it will be great,” before adding: “UK delivery and installation next year…black glass smooth and textured will be first. Tuscan and French Slate in about six months…Solar roofs can be ordered for almost any country. Deployment this year in the US and overseas next year.” Musk ended his tweets by confirming to a Twitter user that a corrugated iron option will be coming later.
The CEO, who is also boss of rocket company SpaceX and a tunneling venture called The Boring Company, said he would have more news to share “in about 10 hours”, at roughly 7pm BST.
This news comes just a month after Tesla and Panasonic jointly revealed a new type of solar roof panel. Not as subtle as the tiles discussed today, these panels are larger and sit proud of the roof, but still manage to remove much of the ugliness associated with regular solar panels.
The panels’ design was first developed by a company called Zep Solar, which was acquired by SolarCity in 2013. Solar City, with Musk installed as chairman, was itself acquired by Tesla for $2.6bn (£2bn) in late 2016. They will be constructed at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 facility in Buffalo, New York from this summer, where the solar tiles will also be manufactured later in 2017.