Energy

Tesla's solar roof solution hides in plain sight

Tesla's solar roof solution hi...
Tesla envisions a house with solar roof tiles and a powerwall and electric vehicle in the garage
Tesla envisions a house with solar roof tiles and a powerwall and electric vehicle in the garage
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk admires his company's new solar roof tiles
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk admires his company's new solar roof tiles
Tesla envisions a house with solar roof tiles and a powerwall and electric vehicle in the garage
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Tesla envisions a house with solar roof tiles and a powerwall and electric vehicle in the garage
Tesla's glass solar tile in a smash test compared to other roofing tiles
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Tesla's glass solar tile in a smash test compared to other roofing tiles
A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
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A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
A home with Tesla's French slate solar roofing tiles
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A home with Tesla's French slate solar roofing tiles
Musk shows of a Tesla French slate style solar roofing tile
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Musk shows of a Tesla French slate style solar roofing tile
A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
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A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
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A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
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A home with Tesla's solar roofing tiles
Elon Musk and a Tesla Tuscan style solar roof tile
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Elon Musk and a Tesla Tuscan style solar roof tile
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Tesla CEO, SolarCity chairman and general billionaire tycoon Elon Musk wants to see every rooftop go solar, but in a way that you don't see where the roof ends and the solar panels start. At an event in California on Friday evening, Musk unveiled a handful of new types of roofing tiles that also double as solar panels.

Standing outside surrounded by newly roofed houses of different styles, Musk showed off glass tiles that mimic textured tiles, French slate, flat modern and even Tuscan style curved roof tiles. Each individual tile looks opaque from most ground level vantage points, hiding the solar cells that become more visible from above where they perform their critical energy transaction with the sun.

Tesla's glass solar tile in a smash test compared to other roofing tiles
Tesla's glass solar tile in a smash test compared to other roofing tiles

"The goal is... to have solar roofs that look better than a normal roof, generate electricity, last longer, have better insulation and actually have an installed cost that is less than a normal roof plus the cost of electricity," Musk told a small crowd gathered at the faux block party. "Why would you buy anything else?"

Musk demonstrated the durability of the solar glass tiles with a video showing a Tesla roof tile taking a hit from a weight dropped from above. The tile cracks but does not shatter into shards like other conventional roofing tiles. No mention was made of the price, electricity generation capability of each tile or insulation value.

Elon Musk and a Tesla Tuscan style solar roof tile
Elon Musk and a Tesla Tuscan style solar roof tile

Musk also introduced the second generation of both a battery power solution aimed at electric utilities and Tesla's Powerwall. The US$5,500 Powerwall 2 is essentially a battery pack that can provide 14 kWh of storage or twice as much power as the first generation model. That's enough per charge to power everything in a four-bedroom house for a full day, according to Tesla. If it's hooked up to a solar system on the roof, it could theoretically power a home indefinitely.

Tesla says that taking orders for the new solar tiles and Powerwall 2 will begin soon. The initiative is being billed as a joint effort of Tesla and SolarCity. The two companies could be set to merge if a shareholder vote next month approves of the deal.

Source: Tesla

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20 comments
Digitalclips
This should be mandatory on all new construction along with the storage system.
DaveBG
Amazing! Tesla will one day change the death course we are headed for! Some say the global warming is irreversible but at that rate Tesla might save us!
myale
Hmm not exactly sure what is the revolution - solar tiles have been available for years - perhaps it is the ability to mimic all types or he has done something to improve the efficiency - but the story in it self is not exactly describing what is the ground breaking feature
MiladinTomović
Even his Powerwall batteries....there are comparable cheaper alternatives to it. I guess Tesla advertises more than others...
JPAR
How do they cope with air pollution slowly accumulating on them over time, and moss growing in damp climates? Savings on energy bills might be offset by maintenance costs.
tangential
It would interesting for those of living along the Gulf coast to have some information about the wind rating of these solar roofs...
Bruce H. Anderson
I live in an area that gets hail. My roof (and several of my neighbors) was replaced a few years ago, so I wonder how it will hold up to Mother Nature. Yes, the shingle did not shatter like others shown, but does it crack? And if it cracks, what happens to its functionality?
It would have to be cleaned of dust and water spots to keep functioning at its best. I doubt anything would grow up there, but some well-placed copper would keep that to a minimum.
drender
This is not new: Dow Chemical had this years ago and killed the business last August. The problem seems to be that costs are higher and efficiency lower than traditional PV systems. People who want to spend the money on PV are motivated by economics, not aesthetics. I hope it that Solar City can make it happen, but it's unlikely that they can succeed where others have failed.
MikeHingle
Looks good, but would be useless if the sun doesn't shine. 'Nuclear Winter', volcanoes, increases in space dust, chemtrails, etc.
EdMedeiros
We own a traditional 7.2Kw solar panel system that handles all of our electricity needs (we currently have built up a $500 credit with the utility and have not paid an electric bill since we installed the system in Sept. 2011.) It's difficult to say how good this roof tile tech really is without seeing the efficiency specs. For example, thin film tech has been around for a long time and has not overtaken traditional solar panels due to their inefficiency. Maybe this particular tech is better, but we have not gotten any details so far. One thing is for sure; you can cover a lot more real estate on a roof with something like this (i.e., pretty much every square inch.) Can't usually do that with traditional panels.