Tesla Announces New Solar Roof Shingles (video)
With 4 to 5 million new roofs installed in the U.S. each year, there's a big opportunity to tap into the power of the sun with solar shingles.
Tesla founder Elon Musk announced the company's plans to manufacture solar shingles that will pair with a new Powerwall 2, a solar system capable of powering a two-bedroom home's lights, electric sockets and refrigerator for an entire day.
The solar tiles, available in four distinct styles, can be used in place of standard shingles or other roofing materials to provide with clean, renewable energy. The solar cells are hidden in the glass roof tiles, and Musk said the cost will be lower than a traditional roof when combined with projected utility bill savings.
|The “Tuscan Glass Tile”||The “Slate Glass Tile”|
|The “Textured Glass Tile”|
The “Smooth Glass Tile”
The solar tiles integrated into the roof are invisible when viewed from the street, yet are fully exposed to the sun from above. The four styles of roof look like conventional tile roofing, addressing the aesthetic objection to bulky solar modules attached to a roof.
The tiles, which are made of quartz, have been tested to withstand impacts and are stronger than clay and slate, Musk said. He noted the tiles should last "quasi indefinitely," even in harsh conditions where snow and ice lead to a short life for traditional asphalt shingles. Musk said 50 years of life span should be no problem.
The tiles are claimed to be 98 percent as efficient as traditional rooftop solar panels so they should be able to produce nearly the same amount of energy. The new solar roof tiles are designed to work with Tesla’s Powerwall batteries, which also got an upgrade. The Powerwall 2 can store 14 kWh of energy, with a 5 kW continuous power draw, and a peak of 7 kW, enough to support an entire home and an electric car. The battery is crucial for electricity storage, and when combined with the solar tiles, will allow a household to run without tapping power from the grid.
However, pricing and availability haven't been announced. Musk said the rollout will be slow, with a few houses in California acting as test beds before full launch.
The announcement signals a tighter integration between Tesla, previously focused on electric vehicles, and SolarCity, another Musk property. Musk announced the plan for Tesla to acquire SolarCity back in June in a $2.6 billion deal. The two companies will focus on integrating renewable energy generation, storage and usage needs, with this system that generates electricity from the sun, deposits it in an electric car, and stores it within a Powerwall battery unit.
Read more about solar power.