From TechCrunch: Elon Musk wants to make his solar roof panels as effective and sexy as his Tesla electric cars.
Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors Inc. and SolarCity Corp. The merger of the two companies has resulted in an integrated system of solar panels, wall-mounted batteries and electric cars.
According to Musk, people always think of Tesla as an electric-car company, but the whole point of Tesla was to fast-track the advent of sustainable energy as he stated on a stage at Universal Studios in Los Angeles surrounded by house outfitted with glass solar tiles roughly the size and shape of roofing materials.
He also said that the main goal is to make roofing that looks good, generates electricity, lasts longer, has enhanced insulation and low installation costs.
The audience at the launch greeted his words with cheers of encouragement, including an attendee who yelled “save us, Elon!”.
Consumers using the products of the merged companies could generate enough clean energy to help bring down global greenhouse gasses. He also said that the key is to make solar something to be desired. Musk wants you to be able to call your neighbours over and show off your solar roof tiles.
Musk is persuading shareholders to approve Tesla’s proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of SolarCity. Musk is expected to disclose his expectations for the merger’s financials on Tuesday.
Compared to traditional solar panels where the solar PV cells are assembled into a rectangular glass frame before being installed on a roof, Tesla and SolarCity have created glass roofing tiles that are embedded with the devices needed to convert sunlight into electricity.
The solar roofing comes in 4 distinct styles that Tesla presented at the event including textured glass tile, Tuscan glass tile, slate glass tile and smooth glass tile. Each of these designs achieves a different aesthetic look, but resembles current roofing materials. The tiles are transparent, but appear opaque when viewed from an angle.
The solar roof products should appear on the market by summer next year and Tesla plans to start with one or two of its 4 tile options and then gradually expand over time based on demand and feedback. The tiles are made of quartz glass and should last at least two times longer than asphalt tile.
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