Tesla has begun taking orders for its solar roof tiles, a cornerstone of Elon Musk’s ‘Master Plan’ to sell a fossil-fuel-free lifestyle under the brand name of its luxury electric vehicles.
Solar Roof complements a home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning a home into a personal utility. Solar energy can be generated, stored and used day and night, providing uninterrupted power even if the grid goes down.
Beginning Wednesday, you can start pre-ordering your solar roof. To do so, you’ll need to put down a $1,000 deposit, though you can get a full refund should you decide against it before you sign the final contract. As for the final price, Tesla Solar has created a cost calculator (powered by Google’s Project Sunroof) that will give you a ballpark estimate specific to your needs. Simply enter your address, and you’ll get an estimate unique to your home, complete with the value of energy your roof will generate, the cost of the roof, the cost of the Powerwall battery (or batteries, if your home needs more), and the amount of the tax credit.
“Solar Roof is more affordable than conventional roofs because in most cases, it ultimately pays for itself by reducing or eliminating a home’s electricity bill. Consumer Reports estimates that a Solar Roof for an average size U.S. home would need to cost less than $24.50 per square foot to be cost competitive with a regular roof. The cost of Solar Roof is less. The typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof, and benefit from a beautiful new roof that also increases the value of their home, Tesla said in a press release.
Solar Roof uses two types of tiles—solar and non-solar. Looking at the roof from street level, the tiles look the same. Customers can select how many solar tiles they need based on their home’s electricity consumption. For example, households that charge an electric vehicle every day may want more solar tiles on their roof.
Tesla’s high-end roofing materials include mimicked fancy terracotta and slate roofing tiles, which are made of textured glass.
Solar Roof will be available in a variety of designs, including Smooth and Textured (available this year) and Tuscan and Slate (available early 2018). Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, yet half the weight. They do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete. Solar Roof is the most durable roof available and the glass itself will come with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.
It’s estimated that the glass solar panels will be available for installation this year, while other slate panels won’t be around until 2018, or according to Musk, in “about 6 months.”