Tesla head Elon Musk took the stage in the old Hollywood set of “Desperate Housewives” and began a presentation about climate change before the surprise unveiling of a "solar roof" product at the Universal Studios backlot thanks to a collaboration between Tesla and SolarCity, the latter of which Musk is Chairman.
The solar roof tiles are made of textured glass and from most viewing angles, they look just like ordinary shingles, but they allow light to pass through from above onto a standard flat solar cell. The plan is for Panasonic to produce the solar cells and for Tesla to put together the glass tiles and everything needed to operate them.
Musk said he aims to make solar roofs that look better than normal roofs before showcasing several houses with solar tiles gracefully embedded. Because the tiles are fully integrated into the roofs, many guests in attendance at the Universal Studios press event could not tell that they were solar.
The system will allow residential homeowners to replace their entire roof with solar panels connected to an updated Powerwall 2 battery pack, making it much simpler for homes to be entirely powered by solar power.
The roof is made of a textured glass tile with integrated solar cells. The roofs look like normal roofing tiles from the ground, but are completely transparent to the sun. The tiles are hydrographically printed, which, Musk says, makes each one a "special snowflake tile," and no two roofs will be the same.
Elon Musk at the solar roof announcement. We assume this giant television is powered by solar.
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."
Airbnb, the world's leading community-driven hospitality company and SolarCity Corp the nation’s #1 solar power provider in October announced a partnership that will connect Airbnb hosts and guests with an affordable and sustainable way to power their homes with solar energy, and are releasing estimates of the environmental benefits of home sharing for travellers.
Through the partnership, SolarCity will offer members of the Airbnb community a rebate – up to $1,000 cash back – on all solar panel systems.
Solar generation peaks during the day and often this solar production exceeds the electricity needed by your home. Tesla's Powerwall is designed to seamlessly integrate with a solar system, storing the unused energy and automatically releasing it when the sun is not shining. Powerwall enables solar energy to be an available power source 24/7. By pairing solar and Powerwall you can extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar energy, according to Tesla.
The sun provides more than enough energy in just one hour to supply our planet’s energy needs for an entire year. Tesla says you can capture this free, abundant energy source through rooftop solar tiles, turning sunlight into electricity for immediate use or storage in a Powerwall battery.