It has been an exciting time for Tesla as highly anticipated products are finally being released. Right on the heels of a handover event involving the first 30 Model 3 vehicles, the first solar roofs have been installed. Similar to how the first Model 3 vehicles were distributed, CEO Elon Musk himself and select Tesla employees have them first. That's right: Elon Musk's home now runs on solar energy, and it looks pretty amazing while doing it.
Less than a year after being announced, the final product is now on display. Musk shared some photos from the installation in Tesla’s quarterly update letter, which shows the new product in multiple angles. Just as he promised, people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the solar roof and traditional roofs when observing the tiles.
Musk said during the conference call that photos taken weren’t professionally done and also hinted at potential upgrades even after these initial installations: “I want to emphasize that there’s no Photoshopping on the roof. That is actually how it looks…It was take some pics with your phone and send them over. That’s what we’re talking about here, not some special lighting conditions, pro-photographer situation. And this is version one, and I think this roof’s going to look really knockout as we just keep iterating.”
In the update letter, Tesla’s solar-powered solution promises to pay for itself due to savings passed on to the consumer. Due to the company’s confidence, there’s also a lifetime warranty for the household. It’s not just sleek, but can put up with all kinds of elements and refers to high ratings the solar roofs have received:
“[It’s] built with tempered glass that is more than three times stronger than standard roof tiles, and with less weight. In June, Solar Roof was certified by Underwriters Laboratories with its highest Class A fire rating. It has also been awarded ASTM International’s best Class F wind rating.”
176 megawatts of solar power capacity was installed in the second quarter, but growth is expected to slow over the next quarter. Tesla has put more focus on improving the service instead of selling the product as they’ve received plenty of backorders already. Installation should be moving back up in the fourth quarter.
In order to prepare for mass manufacturing, they’ll be shifting solar roof production over to the company’s gigafactory in Buffalo, New York. Prices are set at $21.85 per square foot and installation is only expected to take a week for most consumers. In some cases, that’s better than traditional roofing options.
During 2018, they’ll be pushing more sales worldwide. Unlike the United States, there will be some solid competition with IKEA selling solar-powered systems with a battery backup solution. While they aren’t as sleek and Tesla also has the Powerpack available, IKEA’s version is competitive pricewise.