Tesla’s solar roof has officially arrived — at least some versions of it.
Tesla began accepting orders for its smooth glass and textured glass solar shingle options Wednesday afternoon. The company’s Tuscan glass and French slate shingles, however, won’t be available for purchase until 2018.
Tesla unveiled its solar roof in late October, about a month before the company acquired SolarCity in a $US2.1-billion deal.
Here’s everything we know about the new solar roof:
Get the latest Tesla stock price here.
Tesla will eventually offer four types of shingles to match different housing aesthetics in an effort to get homeowners to ditch clunky solar-panel add-ons in favour of a beautiful roof.
Tesla announced Wednesday that the typical homeowner will pay $21.85 per square foot for the solar roof. For a 3,000-square-foot home, that would amount to $65,000. Customers must place a $1,000 deposit to order the solar roof.
Musk originally said that the solar roof will cost less than a traditional roof, even before factoring in the price of electricity. But the company back-peddled slightly on that promise Wednesday.
The solar roof will likely be more expensive than a normal roof, but owners can expect savings on their electric bill. Not to mention getting roof that last much longer than a traditional one.
'Solar roof is more affordable than conventional roofs because in most cases, it ultimately pays for itself by reducing or eliminating a home's electricity bill,' Tesla said Wednesday.
Installing a slate tile roof on a 3,000-square-foot home typically costs $US45,000, according to Consumer Reports. As mentioned earlier, installing Tesla's solar roof on the same home will cost roughly $US65,000.
You can get a more comprehensive price breakdown here.
Here you see Tesla's textured-glass option, which is one of the four options that customers can currently order.
... and in doing so, you can't really tell the roof has solar cells. That's the crux of Tesla's solar-roof vision: to create something that's both aesthetically appealing and efficient.
Musk has been emphasising the importance of competing on an aesthetic level when it comes to the new solar product.
'When you have this done, you will have the best looking house in the neighbourhood,' Musk said Wednesday. 'I think the aesthetics are really that good.'
Tesla's smooth glass tile, which Tesla customers can officially order, is meant to offer a more modern look.
Unlike the textured-glass tile, the smooth glass tile seen here was designed so you could see the solar cells from certain angles.
'From the vantage point of the street or anywhere near the house it looks completely opaque, but to the sun it's transparent,' Musk said.
In October, Musk seemed most excited about Tesla's French slate tile, saying the style is 'one of the hardest things to do.' This photo gives you a nice look at the solar cell hidden in the tile. The French slate option, however, won't be available for order until 2018.
'My roof is a French slate roof, that's one of the tile styles I wanted to do,' Musk said in October. 'And we were able to get that. Super hard.'
Musk has said that each French slate tile was made using a process known as hydrographic colouring, which uses water to apply printed designs.
'The production process itself makes each tile specially unique, it's sort of a special snowflake tile,' Musk said during last year's unveiling.
Tesla's hydrographic process is being overseen by a brand-new Tesla glass-tech division. The process uses techniques from the automotive-glass business.
Lastly, Tesla's Tuscan glass tile. The roof shown at the event wasn't exclusively made up of Tesla's Tuscan tile. Instead, only the darker tiles seen here come with the solar cells. Like the French slate tile, the Tuscan option won't be available until 2018.
Deliveries and installations of the textured glass and smooth glass tile options will begin in the US before the end of 2017. Installations will begin in 2018 for customers in the United Kingdom and Australia.
The solar roof tiles are very durable. In fact, you can walk on the tiles the same way you would with regular asphalt shingles, Musk has said.
Musk said in October that the solar-glass tiles can incorporate heating elements to clear snow while generating energy. He said it wouldn't be energy intensive to melt the snow, but 'strongly net positive.'
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