The proposed Tesla "solar roofs" are officially a reality and the company reported its first installations earlier this week.
The first ones to sample the new tiles were Tesla employees, which was a strategic move to beta test the product before making them mainstream.
“I have them on my house, JB has them on his house,” Elon Musk told Bloomberg, referring to Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel.
“This is version one. I think this roof is going to look really knock-out as we just keep iterating.”
[Related article: Tesla To Begin Rolling Out Solar Roofing]
According to Bloomberg, from most viewing angles, the slick modern shingles look like standard materials, but they allow light to pass through onto a solar cell embedded beneath a tempered surface.
“The first installations were supposed to start in June. Tesla didn’t say when the actual installations took place.”
First unveiled last October ahead of the automaker's acquisition of solar power equipment maker SolarCity, Musk later said that the solar roof will cost less than conventional rooftops.
Tesla opened up its online store in May and began taking $1,000 deposits for smooth black and textured-glass roof tiles that are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing.
[Related article: Elon Musk Unveils “Tough As Steel” Solar Roofs]The solar roof will be offered in four styles: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile.
Tesla have moved their operations from an active sales approach to a passive mentality, adopting an "Apple Store strategy" for solar power since acquiring SolarCity Corp. Bloomberg said initial trials found the new approach was 50 to 100 per cent more effective than at the best non-Tesla locations selling SolarCity products.
Production of the tiles began at Tesla’s Fremont solar plant in California, but will shift later this year to its new factory in Buffalo, New York, with additional investments from Tesla’s partner, Panasonic.
Tesla has committed to taking on full responsibility for the entire transaction process, including removal of existing roofs, design, permits, installation, and maintenance.
Those who are interested in incorporating solar tiles to their house - a technology likely arriving in Australia by 2018 - will be expected to wait a week for full installation to be complete.