Elon Musk’s ‘attractive’ solar roof panels go on sale today


Each of the tiles is made from glass and is designed to be a ‘more attractive way’ to introduce solar panels to more homes

Almost seven months since Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity boss Elon Musk unveiled his glass solar roof panels, the technology is finally going on sale.

In a teaser tweet, posted early in the morning UK time on May 10, Musk wrote: “Tesla solar glass roof orders open this afternoon. I think it will be great. More in about 10 hours…”

He later added that the solar roof can be ordered in almost any country for deployment this year in the US, and overseas next year, but did not elaborate further or give specifics.

The panels were announced in an event on October 28, on the set of TV show Desperate Housewives at Universal Studios, LA. At the time, the billionaire explained that the roof – which is made entirely out of solar cells – also integrates products from his electric car company. When it goes on general sale it will come with an integrated home battery (Powerwall 2.0) as well as a Tesla charger.

Each of the tiles is made from glass and is designed to be a “more attractive way” to introduce solar panels to more homes.

The chairman of the energy-focused company initially announced his firm would be developing the new roofs during SolarCity’s earning call in August. Instead of installing a new roof and solar panels – or modules – separately, the whole roof will have solar power capabilities.

Buyers will be able to customise the design in order to fit with their specific housing design and there are four options available: Tuscan Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Textured Glass Tile and Smooth

Glass Tile. The latter more closely resembles current solar panels, while the former looks remarkably like traditional roof panels.

Although Musk has yet to announce prices, the Powerwall 2, Tesla’s home battery product – described as a way to store any surplus energy from the solar panels – and will cost $5,500 (£4,511).

The roof and battery technology could potentially open a whole new market for the company, making solar power a key component for new and existing houses. The new venture will work alongside SolarCity’s current installations of solar panels on existing roofs.

Towards the end of last year, Tesla announced it was teaming up with Panasonic to manufacture solar panels and modules. The two companies entered into a so-called, “non-binding letter of intent” under which they will collaborate on the production of photovoltaic (PV) cells, based at SolarCity’s factory in Buffalo, New York.

The International Renewable Energy Agency produced a report earlier this year that predicted up to 13 per cent of the electricity generated around the world could be done by 2030 through solar power. Countries such as Brazil, Chile and South Africa are some of the most attractive markets at the moment for solar power.

 Amelia Heathman


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