Tesla Presents Solar Roof Tiles

by | Nov 1, 2016

The set of the TV series “Desperate Housewives” was the decor for the presentation of Tesla’s solar roof tiles last week. Elon Musk introduced a new line of glass solar roof tiles that generate electricity but that look like conventional tiles and shingles.

Transition to Renewable Energy

Even though the merger of the two companies is not a fact yet, the new solar roof tiles are the result of a joint collaboration between SolarCity and Tesla Motors. During the presentation in Los Angeles on October 28, Elon Musk said that we need to do everything we can to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and solar is part of the solution. He compared solar energy to the early days of electric cars, when they were often referred to as being unpractical, ugly looking golf carts.

At first electric cars had the image of golf carts. We have to make solar as appealing as electric cars have become.
Elon Musk

According to Elon Musk, the new solar roof looks better than normal roofs, generates electricity, lasts longer, has better insulation and has an installed cost that is less than that of a conventional roof plus utility costs. “So why would you buy anything else?”

  • Slate Glass Tile
  • Smooth Glass Tile
  • Tuscan Glass Tile
  • Textured Glass Tile
The solar roof tiles come in different styles. Musk explained that the glass used for the solar tiles is tougher than the materials used for conventional tiles making them last much longer. This was demonstrated by the following video.

Power Storage

Tesla’s view on energy transition is a three-part solution: energy generation, energy storage and transportation (electric cars). During the Tesla event on Wisteria Lane, Elon Musk also (briefly) introduced the new Power Wall 2 which has double the capacity of its predecessor. According to Musk, the Powerwall 2 can power lights, sockets and a refrigerator of a 4-bedroom house for a full day. The Powerwall 2 will cost around USD 5,500. We will write a separate article on the Powerwall very soon.

Solar Roof Tiles in Winter

Unfortunately the technical specifications of the solar tiles are not released yet, as soon they are we will of course report about it. A big question that also remains unanswered is the expected retail price of the solar roof tiles. One interesting feature that Elon Musk later unveiled in a Tweet is that the solar tiles can also incorporate heating elements to clear the roof of snow.

Personally we don’t find classic solar panels unappealing. But we do agree with Elon Musk that if you make the solution as attractive as possible more people will consider installing a solar roof. After all, we still meet people who don’t install solar panels for the sole reason that they find them ugly! We are looking forward to the actual launch of the product and we will of course continue to keep you posted!

In case you are interested, here is the full video of the Tesla event last Friday.

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