Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles Get Approved
Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SolarCity (SCTY) shareholders had voted to approve the companies’ $2.6 billion tie-up. Elon Musk told investors that the new clean energy behemoth would now be able to provide homeowners with a solar roof that costs less than a traditional roof before factoring in the savings from energy generation.
“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof actually cost less than normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,” he said in a speech after the vote was called. “So the basic proposition would be ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity’ why would you get anything else.”
Solar Roof Expense
Tesla is claiming a solar roof will be cheaper in the long run. With solar you need to be factoring in the expected utility bill savings from generating your own power. This is the primary premise behind spending thousands of dollars on currently offered rooftop solar panels.
But even as the costs of solar panel components continue to decline, the claim that a roof made of high-grade solar technology will be cheaper to produce and supply than one covered in asphalt shingles available at your local Home Depot (HD) is bound to face some skepticism.
Tuscan Tile (Tesla’s equivalant of clay tile) would need to cost less than $69,500, installed (or about $2,300 per 100 square feet), to beat its traditional counterpart*
Smooth and Textured Tile (Tesla’s equivalent to asphalt tile) would need to cost less than $73,500, installed (or about $2,450 per 100 square feet)*
Slate Tile would need to cost less than $98,500 (or about $3,300 per 100 square feet).*
The Look Of Solar Roofing
The solar roofing comes in four distinct styles that Tesla presented at the event, including “Textured Glass Tile,” “Slate Glass Tile,” “Tuscan Glass Tile, and “Smooth Glass Tile.” Each of these achieves a different aesthetic look, but all resembled fairly closely a current roofing material style. Each is also transparent to solar, but appears opaque when viewed from an angle.
The current versions of the tiles actually have a two percent loss on efficiency. So that translates to 98% of what you’d normally get from a traditional solar panel, according to Elon Musk. But the company is working with 3M on improved coatings that have the potential to possibly go above normal efficiency. The hope is to create a coating to trap the light within the shingle itself. This leading to the light bouncing around and resulting in less energy loss overall before it’s fully diffused.
Of course, there’s the matter of price: Tesla’s roof cost less than the full cost of a roof and electricity will be competitive or better than the cost of a traditional roof combined with the cost of electricity from the grid, Musk said. Tesla declined to provide specific pricing at the moment, since it will depend on a number of factor including installation specifics on a per home basis.
Standard roofing materials do not provide fiscal benefit back to the homeowner post installation. Tesla’s product does that, by generating enough energy to fully power a household, with the power designed to be stored in the new Powerwall 2.0 battery units so that homeowners can keep a reserve in case of excess need.
Timeline For Installations
The solar roof product should start to see installations by summer next year. Tesla plans to start with one or two of its four tile options, then gradually expand the options over time. As they’re made from quartz glass, they should last way longer than an asphalt tile. The claim is at least two or three times the longevity, though Musk later said “they should last longer than the house”.