Elon Musk Claims Tesla Residential Solar Tiles Will Cost Less, Last Longer Than Conventional Roofs

tesla solar roof
Elon Musk isn’t just content with shaking up the car market (Tesla) or the space industry (SpaceX). With the shareholder-approved acquisition of SolarCity, Musk is also looking to revolutionize solar energy in the United States.

Late last month, Musk unveiled textured quartz glass tiles that will be used in place of asphalt shingles that cover typical homes across America. But the added benefit of Tesla’s solar roof is that while they provide nearly the same energy benefits of typical solar panel installations on homes, they also happen to look like contemporary roofs with Textured Glass, Slate Glass, Tuscan Glass, and Smooth Glass styles.

“We need to make solar panels as appealing as electric cars have become,” said Musk. “It needs to be beautiful, affordable, and seamlessly integrated. If all of those things are true, why would you go any other direction?”

tesla solar roof 2

When Musk first announced Tesla’s solar roof, no information regarding pricing or availability was given. Today, however, we’re gaining a little bit more insight into pricing courtesy of Musk’s comments at yesterday's Tesla shareholder meeting:

I was just meeting with the SolarCity engineering team and I don't want to 100% commit to this yet, but its looking quite promising that a solar roof will actually cost less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account.

So the basic proposition would be: would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and by the way, generates electricity?

A solar roof that can look that good, provide all the benefits of renewable “green” energy and cost less than a traditional roof seems like the holy grail for homeowners – and perhaps a bit hard to believe. However, Musk says that Tesla’s solar roof tiles weigh roughly one-fifth as much as traditional materials, meaning that shipping costs will be dramatically lower. And since Tesla’s roof tiles are much more durable, there’s less risk of damage while in transit.

It’s also likely that undercutting traditional asphalt shingles will have to come with some serious tax credits and rebates attached, and probably doesn’t include the cost of a Tesla Powerwall battery storage system. Whatever the case, we have good reason to be excited about the future of renewable energy.