Tesla has finally unveiled its solar roof tiles, developed in collaboration with SolarCity, a sister company Tesla recently acquired. The announcement Friday was made in front of the sets of Desperate Housewives in Universal Studios, Los Angeles.
"We need to make solar panels as appealing as electric cars have become. It needs to be beautiful, affordable, and seamlessly integrated. If all of those things are true, why would you go any other direction? It’s never going to wear out, it’s made of quartz, it has a quasi-infinite lifetime," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the event.
He also revealed that the row of houses in the lane were covered with Tesla's solar roof tiles which had replaced the old roofing material. The tiles look similar to traditional roof tiles — the textures range from slate shingle to terracota. They are covered with a special coating, developed in collaboration with 3M, that will become transparent when viewed closely but looks opaque when seen from ground level.
Musk also held a drop test for the tiles at the event to show the material of the tiles was more durable than traditional materials such as clay or slate, Wired.com reported. The tiles will be used with Tesla's Powerwall 2.0, which will cost $5,500 for 14 kWh of storage and 7 kWh peak power — enough to power a four-bedroom house for a day. The project is a part of Musk's "Master Plan, Part Deux" announced in June.
Customers will be able to place orders for the tiles and the Powerwall at Tesla stores and get them installed on the same day, without any waiting period. Tesla's solar roof tiles will create more potential for solar energy in the U.S., a viable alternate source for the country which is one of the world's biggest energy consumers.
The development comes following an International Energy Agency report which said that installed capacity to generate power from renewables in the world had passed that from coal.
Shareholders are yet to approve Tesla's merger with SolarCity — the vote takes place on Nov. 17.