The use of solar panels in residential applications is nothing new, but the large installations are can be eyesores and don’t often blend in with the design aesthetic of the home. Tesla, however, has unveiled its new textured quartz glass tiles which replace the traditional asphalt shingles used in homes. The hydrographically-printed tiles appear completely transparent to the sun, but when seen at ground level look like traditional shingles or tiles.
“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?”
With this approach, homeowners are able to take advantage of nearly all the positive energy benefits of solar roof panels while still maintaining a contemporary look. We say “nearly all” because Musk explains that these new solar tiles have roughly 98 percent of the efficiency of traditional solar panels used in residential applications. We think that most would be willing to give up 2 percent for the aesthetic benefits.
Tesla will make its new solar roofing available in four different styles: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile. All four are said to be more durable than conventional roof tiles/shingles and will last two to three times as long.
Tesla’s new solar roof tiles will pair up with its second generation Powerwall battery storage system, which is simply called Powerwall 2. Powerwall 2 has twice the energy density of its predecessor, offering capacity of 14 kWh (enough to power an entire two-bedroom house for a full day) and 7 kWh peak power draw. Tesla warranties the battery for 10 years and unlimited cycles, and says that it can be mounted either inside or outside.
The Powerwall 2 will be available in January 2017 for $5,500 plus estimated installation costs of an additional $1,000. Tesla, however, has not provided pricing or availability for its solar roof.