Now is the chance to be apart of history. The biggest thing in home energy has just been announced and finally there is an elegant solution to home solar power. What I am talking about is a completely self-contained home energy system which runs only on the solar energy collected by the home. No grid energy is needed at night like previous home solar incarnations due to the battery technology that stores energy during the day for home use. The new system promises to be less expensive than a traditional roof and it’s camouflaged. Your solar roof no longer needs to look like a shuffleboard deck for aliens.
The core of the new system is a solar roof. This is a new concept where the roof tiles are individual solar panels yet they look like traditional roof tiles. Elon Musk says in order for widespread use to occur “It needs to be beautiful, affordable, and seamlessly integrated. If all of those things are true, why would you go any other direction?” So, do his new solar tiles meet these lofty claims? Let’s find out.
How are they affixed to the roof?
The solar roof is an actual roof, so, it is affixed to the house the same way that a traditional (techies now call it a “dumb roof”) is affixed to the house.
There are four tile designs
The French slate roof is the most intriguing of the bunch because of it’s design. Each tile is manufactured to be unique, Musk calls them “snowflake tiles” and they are created through a process called hydrographic printing. The tuscan glass tile is also very impressive from the ground it looks like a terra cotta roof due to a tech called micro louvres this means that the sun sees a shiny solar panel from it’s high angle and we see an orange terra cotta roof from the ground.
How is it stored?
Power can be stored in a battery called a power wall which is integrated into the system. It retails for $5,500. It stands about 4 feet tall, 3 feet wide and 1 foot thick. You do not need to have the Powerwall to have the roof system. If you don’t have the Powerwall then the whole model works differently. Without the battery, solar energy is used only during the day and any excess is sold back onto the grid. At night energy is used from the grid. With the Power Wall, everything is self-contained. Energy collected during the day is stored in the battery and the battery is used during the evening.
Tesla’s new solar roof product, he claimed, will actually cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof—even before savings from the power bill. “Electricity,” Musk said, “is just a bonus.” Quote from Bloomberg article.
The pricing is not finalized yet, but what Elon Musk is saying is that if you are redoing your roof or building a new house then it will be less expensive to own his new solar roof with the cost of electricity factored in. But, If you have a roof in good condition, it makes more financial sense to put solar panels on top of your current roof.
Is it available now?
The roofs are not yet available, however you can add yourself to the waiting list on the Solar City Website, click here. Production begins in mid-2017 and will only be available in California to begin with. (I love California, we get all the good stuff first) So you can speculate amongst yourselves when people will actually be getting their roofs. Probably near the end of 2017.