Tesla Just unveiled a game changer in the Solar world. Tesla Solar Roof is an integrated Solar panel into a roofing material. This product is both functional and beautiful
Musk said the secret to the Tesla solar roof appearance is a special coating that becomes more or less see-through depending on your viewing angle. He described it as a series of micro louvers that work like a privacy screen on a laptop, and said the company is working with 3M on the tech. The effect is dramatic in person. From shallow angles, the tiles appear nontransparent. But as your viewing angle approaches 90 degrees, the underlying solar cell becomes more and more visible. The result is a tile that permits the passage of sunlight from overhead, but still looks opaque to anyone at ground level.
For those concerned about the strength of the Tesla solar 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. “It’s never going to wear out, it’s made of quartz, it has a quasi-infinite lifetime,” Musk said.
“We need to make solar panels as appealing as electric cars have become,” Musk said. He wants to make every roof solar, by making it irresistible. “It needs to be beautiful, affordable, and seamlessly integrated. If all of those things are true, why would you go any other direction?” Why, indeed. Musk makes a strong case, but it’s one he only partially supported this evening; Tesla’s panels certainly look good, but Musk provided no details on pricing, availability, or the installation process.
A Better Battery
The solar roofs are designed to be used with the Tesla Powerwall. Version 2.0, which Musk also unveiled today, is a bright white rectangle, and flatter than the first version, which Tesla released in April 2015. It will cost $5,500 for 14kWh of storage and 7kWh peak power draw. That’s enough to power a four bedroom house for a day.
The new roof and battery are both part of Musk’s master plan to save the world through sustainable energy. Yes, you could go out and buy a solar system now, but the large, purple-black sheets of glass don’t exactly blend in on a period house—or most other properties, for that matter. Beyond a certain grudging respect for your green credentials (and lower utility bills), they don’t make the neighbors jealous in the way a Tesla Model S in the driveway does.