Tesla has begun selling its Solar Roof tiles as it tries to revolutionize solar powered homes, with a promise of an infinite warranty that protects the tiles for life.
The company first announced the product back in October 2016. Now, you can pre-order the tiles for a $1,000 deposit, with delivery expected in the US this summer and in other countries in 2018.
In a blog post, Tesla said the typical homeowner would pay about $21.85 per square foot, and “benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home.”
The main selling point is that, unlike normal solar panels, these look just like regular tiles, giving a house a rather more conventional look.
They are made from glass but are supposedly extremely durable. A video posted on Instagram by CEO Elon Musk showed that these tiles stood up much better to impacts like hail than others, and Tesla said they “do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete.”
“Solar Roof is the most durable roof available and the glass itself will come with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” they added.
However, while they might save money in the long run based on the energy they return, they are not exactly cheap. Tesla has included a calculator, powered by Google Project Sunroof, so you can work out how much it costs.
The Verge notes that a two-story, 2,000-square-foot home in New York state would cost about $50,000 to install the tiles, and generate $64,000 in savings over 30 years.
Tesla argues, though, that in the long run, their Solar Roof will be cheaper than a conventional roof because it reduces or eliminates your home’s electricity bill.
The tiles are designed to work with Tesla’s Powerwall, a wall-mounted power unit that uses lithium-ion batteries to store energy. This allows your house to collect energy during the day, for re-use at night. Excess energy could also be sold back to the grid, providing another source of revenue for homeowners.
It makes sense to install them if you need an entirely new roof, but it might be hard to convince those who already have a roof of the cost savings over three decades. Plus, you know, it is kind of expensive, despite being touted as cheaper than a regular roof over time, although hopefully the cost will come down in future.