Elon Musk showcased his ambitions to make Tesla Motors Inc a clean-energy behemoth on Friday, unveiling a new “solar-roof ” product at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California.
As the sun set, Musk told hundreds of guests gathered in an outside courtyard on the ‘Desperate Housewives’ set that Tesla and Solar-City Corp, the company that he chairs and which he aims to acquire, will make solar roofs that look better than normal roofs. He then showcased several houses with solar tiles gracefully embedded. Because the tiles are fully integrated into the roofs, many guests in attendance could not tell that they were solar.
“How do we have a solar roof that is better than a normal roof, looks better, last longer,” said Musk. “You want to pull your neighbors over and say 'Check out this sweet roof.’”
Musk’s presentation was short on details about the proven efficiency of the solar cells, the roof's warranty, cost or when it will be available to customers. The solar roof will be offered in four styles: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile —due to a variety of architectural choices. SolarCity's website says production will begin in mid-2017 and that the tempered glass is as “tough as steel”.
“The solar roof consists of uniquely designed glass tiles that complement the aesthetics of any home, embedded with the highest efficiency photovoltaic cells,” said Tesla in a statement. “Customers can choose which sections of their roof will contain the hidden solar technology while still having the entire roof look the same.”
Paula Mints, chief market research analyst at SPV Market Research, questions the economics of the new offering, which can be combined with a home battery. “Tesla announced a solar tile — not new — with battery that is priced below cost,” said Mints in an email. “Basically Tesla announced another way to lose money.”
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