A couple weeks ago, Elon Musk held a special Tesla event to announce a solar roof that would come in the form of solar tiles, seamlessly blending into the structure of a home. The announcement came as a surprise, given there were no whispers about it. Tesla is claiming its new solar glass tile is more durable than regular roof tile and will serve as solar panels to charge your home and your Tesla car.
The only questions is, how much is it going to cost?
Initially, Musk stated it would cost less than regular roof tile when you take into account savings on the electricity bill. It would cost more upfront, he said, without providing a price Now, Musk has changed his tune and is claiming the solar panels will will cost less than a regular roof before you take into consideration future savings.
“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof can actually cost less than normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,” said Musk. “So the basic proposition would be ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity?’ Why would you get anything else?'”
He opened up about the subject in a shareholders meeting confirming the acquisition of SolarCity.
Musk based his new claim on the inefficiency of the roofing supply chain which has to take into account the fragility of the ceramic and concrete tile that often breaks. Tesla apparently made ‘huge gains’ to simplify the chain to maximize efficiency, thus keeping the price down. The price of installation will still vary due to the difficulty of installation or the size of the home.
What does this mean for solar power?
When you think of solar power, you think of huge panels on rooftops and parking structures. Tesla’s interpretation hides into the normality of a regular home. That was one of the issues with solar power. The other issue was price. It is still quite expensive to install these panels, making it a moot point for a lot of would be adopters, but Tesla’s new solar roof might change things.
Musk’s claim that it will cost less than the current solution this might prove to be a game changer for solar energy. This is still just conjecture talk and nothing definitive. We’ll continue to monitor the situation to see if there are any new updates from Tesla.
The solar roof will come in four different variants, with the first being available sometime in early 2017.