Tesla has unveiled new solar roof tiles designed to do away with the somewhat ugly solar panels of the past, and instead make renewable homes look indistinguishable from conventional houses. Along with a new battery pack, the company is angling towards a domestic solar revolution.
Four different styles of tiles were unveiled at a press event in Universal Studios in Los Angeles, where several homes that once featured in the TV show Desperate Housewives were transformed with Tesla’s new tiles.
The project is a collaboration between Elon Musk’s Tesla and sister company Solar City. Tesla is currently going through the motions to buy Solar City for $2.6 billion, with the decision from shareholders on whether that deal goes through likely to affect the rollout of these new solar panels.
At the moment, Tesla is planning to begin installations in summer 2018.
Musk first unveiled his idea for solar roofs in his “Master Plan” back in July this year, announcing his intention to have “one ordering experience” – the ability to buy solar panels, storage batteries, and electric cars from one company. If everything goes to plan, that company will be Tesla.
The storage battery is the newly announced 14 kWh Powerwall 2, which will store solar energy collected during the day for use at night. This will cost $5,500, but while the price of the solar tiles has not been announced yet, Musk said they would be competitive with current conventional roofs and electricity systems in a home.
Made of glass, the tiles are designed not only to be attractive but resilient too. In a video (below), Tesla showed how they stood up better to shattering than regular roof tiles.
“When Tesla and SolarCity embarked to design and engineer the solar roof together, the goal was to create the most beautiful and efficient roof ever – one that would make homes look better while reducing the cost of electricity,” Tesla said in a statement.
“The solar roof consists of uniquely designed glass tiles that complement the aesthetics of any home, embedded with the highest efficiency photovoltaic cells.”
How these tiles will be installed isn’t clear yet. But Tesla noted that customers will be able to choose which parts of their roof have the “hidden solar technology” and, combined with the Powerwall, homes can be made 100 percent renewable.