Tesla now offers solar roof panels

The automaker’s new roof tile can look like a traditional one, is durable and reportedly has a competitive price.

May 25, 2017

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The automaker’s new roof tile can look like a traditional one, is durable and reportedly has a competitive price.

Image Source: Tesla

Automaker Tesla recently started accepting orders for its Solar Roof panels that were unveiled last October. The solar tiles combined can replace the roof itself and match different roofing aesthetics.

Tesla’s Solar Roof adopts tempered glass solar and nonsolar tiles that look like a traditional roof. The panels are available in textured, smooth, Tuscan and slate versions, the latter two coming out in 2018. All are said to be durable against wind, fire and impact, including hailstones. These work with Tesla’s Powerwall battery that stores obtained solar energy and provides smoothly electricity whenever the homeowner needs it.

The smart features and design seem to be enticing for many, but with innovation, high cost is always a concern. An estimate from Bloomberg cited by various reports expected the active solar tiles to be about $68 per sqft initially, but Tesla eventually revealed the cost is $42 per sqft, including materials and labor for installation, therefore price is perceived to be competitive. Also, active solar tiles only need to comprise about 40 percent of all tiles installed. The rest of the panels are the nonsolar types that go for $11 per sqft. In addition, Tesla’s website cost calculator, factoring in sunlight, home location and size, and federal tax credits, show that long-term energy savings outweigh what the buyer spent for the product.

Bloomberg’s report, though, states that it is still quite costly to upgrade from a nonsolar roof, and adoption might be by the wealthy mostly and slow in other households. Whether communities will make the shift to solar roofs completely, as envisioned by Tesla, remains to be seen as it rolls out its panels in the US in the coming months and to more countries by next year.

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