There’s no question that installing solar panels on your roof is a great way to drive down your electricity costs, especially in areas where sunlight is abundant. But for many people, the biggest issue is getting over how ugly they make your house look.
Elon Musk believes he’s solved that problem with the introduction of Tesla’s Solar Roof, which he unveiled earlier today at an event at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
“The goal is … to make solar roofs that look better than a normal roof, generate electricity, last longer, have better insulation and an installed cost that is less than a normal roof plus the cost of electricity,” Musk said.
The roof tiles are actually made of textured glass with integrated solar cells. These tiny, semi-translucent tiles are nearly indistinguishable from traditional roofing when viewed from the street, and they’re available in four varieties of traditional looks, from textured slate shingle to terra cotta tile.
For those concerned about the strength of a roof made of glass tiles, Musk showed the audience footage of a drop test to demonstrate that the glass was tougher than materials like clay and slate. Tesla says its glass tiles are much more durable than conventional roof tile — something that’s important in areas with risk of hail.
The solar roof is designed to be used with the Tesla Powerwall 2 ($5500), which can store 14 kWh of energy, with a 5 kW continuous power draw, and 7 kW peak. That’s enough to power a four bedroom house for a day. The battery is warranted for unlimited power cycles for up to 10 years. It can be floor or wall mounted, inside or outside.
Only one question remains – How much will the solar roof actually cost? Musk said that someone who buys a Tesla Solar Roof will save money compared to someone who buys a comparable traditional roof plus the cost of electricity from the grid. But with that kind of fuzzy math, it’s hard to say if there’s any long-term savings to be had, which is a big point of going with solar power to begin with.
We’ll know more when the Tesla Solar Roof begins rolling out nine months from now. Until then, stay tuned!