Elon Musk unveils Solar Roof (2016.10.28)
During a press event at Universal Studios in L.A., Elon Musk announces that Tesla will build and sell its own line of solar panels with integrated batteries. Coupled with the also unveiled PowerWall 2, it will allow residential homeowners to replace their entire roof with solar panels, making it much simpler for homes to be entirely powered by solar power.
Tesla finally announced its long-awaited solar roof at an event yesterday evening, along with the successor to the company's Powerwall home battery, the Powerwall 2.
The solar roofing tiles—a product of Tesla and Solar City, which Tesla is in the process of acquiring—are made of glass and are designed to completely replace the shingles that are already on your roof, as opposed to solar panels that are designed to be mounted on top of what's already there. According to Musk, this glass construction means the panels should be particularly long-lived, and he predicts that 50 years is a reasonable expectation as to lifespan.
The panels come in several different styles——Tuscan, slate, textured, and smooth glass—all of which should be able to grab sunlight and turn it into electricity with just about the same efficiency as larger, traditional roof-mounted panels.
The other piece of the solar power puzzle is Tesla's new Powerwall 2, which boasts a 14 kWh capacity compared to the 10 kWh capacity of the largest first-gen Powerwall. This big ol' battery, combined with solar roofing, would offer enough power and storage capacity to take an entire home practically off the grid, according to Musk.
But it might not be a cheap endeavor. The Powerwall 2 costs $5,500 compared to its $3,500 predecessor. As for the cost of the actual solar roof, Musk declined to name a specific price, saying only that the cost of a solar roof will be competitive with more traditional roofing solutions, and that the cheapness of the electricity should help make up any remaining difference. For now, the cost of installing solar shingles can be as much as $30,000 before incentives, roughly three times as much as regular roofing, though the exact prices obviously depend on the particular house.
Tesla plans to start offering installation of the new tiles in the summer of 2017.
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