Power to the People

Elon Musk to unveil new solar roof product

National Technology
(Via The Indian Express)
(Via The Indian Express)

Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk tweeted his plans to unveil a new solar roof product on October 28 in San Francisco. The design will reportedly feature photovoltaic units integrated into the roof itself.

When Musk initially teased the solar roof concept back in August, according to Electrek, he stated that part of his product’s appeal is that customers are left with “a beautiful roof” of solar power cells. “It’s not a thing on the roof. It is the roof,” Musk said.

The solar roof incorporates Tesla’s Powerwall, a rechargeable battery that stores a significant amount of power— 6.4 kWh, according to Tesla—and is marketed for residential use. The Powerwall can store energy generated by photovoltaics and act as a backup electrical system in the event of a power outage. The new Powerwall 2.0—also to be unveiled on the 28th—will simplify the process of installation and feature a charger for Tesla automobiles.

SolarCity’s plans for the solar roof won’t compete with their existing products. Instead, the company hopes it will present an opportunity for innovation in the context of new construction as well as reroofing, which is generally required about every 20 years (depending on the roofing material). Although it’s possible that installing the solar roof could be significantly more expensive than a conventional roof-mounted panel, SolarCity could market its savings in power production alongside the endurance of the product, making it an appealing option for homeowners.

The product would be the first to emerge from SolarCity, which accepted Tesla’s offer of acquisition at the start of August this year. The company specializes in the design, financing, and installation of solar power systems.

While many companies have attempted to perfect the solar roof, they often fail to find enough customers and submit to acquisition or bankruptcy. Recently, Dow Chemical ceased production of its solar shingles, citing a lack of sales, according to Fortune.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jesse Pichel of Roth Capital Partners said SolarCity struggled to raise money as well. “Tesla solves that problem,” he said.

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