Elon: Tesla Solar Roof = Cheaper Than Normal Roof (#Disruption)

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Originally published on Planetsave.

Elon Musk was practically bouncing off the walls with excitement after the official shareholders meeting approving the merger of Tesla Motors and SolarCity ended. Before the question and answer session could begin, he told the audience that he had some “amazing stuff” to tell them.


Almost everything Elon says is amazing, so what had him so excited? Simply this: He announced that the cost of a Tesla glass tile solar roof would actually be equal to or slightly less than a conventional roof. And no, that is not after deducting the value of the electricity it generates over the next 20 years or so. That is right now, today, as soon as it is installed. Elon, you’re right, that is amazing stuff!

How is that possible? Elon explained to the audience that a lot of it has to do with the current supply chain for roofing materials, which he said is incredibly inefficient. It turns out, the glass tiles weigh up to 80% less than conventional roofing materials, especially ceramic tile or concrete tiles. Both of those are very popular in many locations around the world, especially southern California and the Mediterranean countries. Not only do the Tesla glass tiles weigh less, they are less fragile, which means less loss for breakage.

Much of the cost of conventional roofing materials can be attributed to shipping all that weight over long distances. And, as Musk said last month during the grand unveiling for the solar roof, glass is basically sand and sand is super cheap.

Not every tile on every roof will have a high-efficiency solar cell embedded into it. Some sections will be unsuitable for producing solar power either because they face the wrong direction or are shaded during all or part of a day.

But, says Musk, it will be impossible to tell the tiles apart from below once they are installed. That is partly because of the tiny plastic micro-louvers built into them that make for a uniform appearance from below.


Now that Tesla and SolarCity will be one company (SolarCity will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla), Musk says that a homeowner will be able to walk into any Tesla store to sign up for a solar roof. “Say ‘yes,’ it happens, it’s seamless, and you love it!” he told his audience.

Installations will begin this summer. The most popular tiles will be offered first — the choices are Tuscan, Slate, Textured Glass, and Smooth Glass — with the other three styles being released approximately 3 months apart later. Given the cost and the utility savings, Musk asks, “Why wouldn’t you?” Why not, indeed.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

Steve Hanley has 5240 posts and counting. See all posts by Steve Hanley