Here's How the Tesla Solar Roof Works
Elon Musk is the master of creating sustainable luxury goods. While Tesla vehicles are undoubtedly beautiful to look at, they also cost a pretty penny.
When Musk announced that he was poised to introduce beautiful solar roof tiles to the mass market, the question on everyone’s mind was “awesome — but how much is this going to cost me?”
Everyone knows that installing solar panels on your home will save you money in the long term, by slashing your utility bills. But despite the financial and environmental benefits of outfitting your home with a source of renewable energy, two main factors have prevented solar roofs from becoming as mainstream as they ought to be.
The upfront cost of installing solar panels can be off-putting for those renovating on a budget, which immediately is a deterrent for thrifty homeowners. For years the only available option for solar roofing has involved bulky, large paneling that some may consider to be an eyesore.
When developing the Tesla tiles, Elon Musk kept both of these factors in mind. The Tesla roof tile will be constructed out of glass, but no ordinary glass.
As Musk’s other main endeavor is space flight, it’s no wonder that he managed to manufacture an almost unbreakable glass. Tests have shown Tesla glass to withstand hail falling at 100 mph, and the Tesla tile is three times stronger than the standard roofing tile. If one does break, you can rest easy with an “infinity” guarantee.
As for appearances, Tesla is manufacturing four different types of tile that will blend in seamlessly with any exterior decor. Currently Tesla tiles are available in smooth and textured, but as of 2018 you’ll also be able to order Tuscan-style and slate roof tiles. But the real newsworthy element of Musk’s announcement was that Tesla solar tiles wouldn’t cost more than a standard roof installation.
But how will a solar roof work? The exact technology involved in the development of the Tesla tiles is still being kept under wraps. We do know that inside the Tesla glass, Panasonic has engineered a compact solar cell which will send solar power through the house, and into a Tesla powerwall battery stationed in the home below. The powerwall battery currently costs a little over $6,000 and can be used even without solar tiles to power your home in the event of an emergency. As for the technology utilized by Panasonic to power the solar cells, the science is pretty much the same as that powering standard solar panels. The following infographic, courtesy of Renoviso, breaks down the science behind solar-powered roofs, and reveals how we may all approach replacing our standard tile roofs in the future: