Tesla and Solar Shingles

Tesla and Solar Shingles

Tesla shareholders recently approved the acquisition of SolarCity, the nation's largest manufacturing and installer of solar panels. If Tesla manages to create the money saving, high-efficiency roofing system they are promising, it may be a whole new world for solar power.

Elon Musk Works to Make Solar More Appealing.

Traditional solar panels stand out as shiny, bulky black panels that are definitely not attractive. Tesla CEO Elon Musk's vision involves creating solar panels disguised as shingles or tiles that seamlessly integrate into a roof. They have a micro-louver layer so when looked at from the street, you just see roof, but when looked at from above, you see the solar cell. The roof tiles are actually made of textured glass. From most viewing angles, they look just like ordinary shingles, but they allow light to pass through from above onto a standard flat solar cell. Night-time electricity is stored in two sleek wall-hung Powerwall batteries. The plan is for Panasonic to produce the solar cells and for Tesla to put together the glass tiles and everything that goes along with them, according to Bloomberg.com.

Tesla Prioritizes Affordability.

Pricing details are a bit ambiguous. Musk says the Tesla roof will save money compared with someone who buys a comparable traditional roof, plus electricity from the grid. The new shingles will certainly be a premium product. Much of the cost savings Musk is anticipating comes from shipping the materials, according to Bloomberg.com. Traditional roofing materials are brittle, heavy, and bulky. Shipping costs are high, as is the quantity lost to breakage. The new tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla's new automotive and solar glass division, weigh as little as a fifth of current products and are considerably easier to ship, Musk said. The Tesla roof product is set to be released in the summer of 2018.

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