Elon Musk Says His Solar Roof Is Cheaper Than a Normal One

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By Scott Huntington

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is no stranger to bold claims or bold moves. One only need take a moment to read up on his proposed high-speed Hyperloop system. It’s a bold idea, but not quite as bold – or world-changing – as his recent claims about a proprietary smart solar roof.

After a shareholders meeting, held to approve a merger between Tesla and SolarCity, Musk revealed something surprising. He consulted with the engineering team and is confident Tesla can provide its solar roof at a lower cost than a traditional roof.

In short, homeowners will be able to install Tesla’s solar roof for cheaper than if they installed one using regular materials.

Musk’s words were: “It’s […] promising that a solar roof actually costs less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account.”

Promising indeed, Musk.

“The basic proposition: ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity’ why […] get anything else?”

How crazy is that?

What’s even crazier, the estimates already factor in the cost of labor and installation. They do not factor in subsidies you could earn for implementing solar technology either.

So, even with labor, the solar roof is still cheaper, and you can earn money and credits through local subsidies.

What is this solar roof he’s talking about?

Thanks to modern advances, Tesla was able to come up with glass tiles that have solar cells embedded inside. These tiles are available in four different types, each with their own unique appearance and style.

The cells inside the glass tiles – manufactured by Panasonic — are covered in a special coating, dubbed “color louver film.” This allows them to be highly efficient while also blending in with the roof. Looking at it, you’d never know the roof was made of solar panels. The glass itself is tempered to make it remarkably durable.

According to Tesla, the cells inside the tiles are 98 percent more efficient than standard cells. This is important, especially in areas of the country where there are fewer hours of viable sunlight during the day. Areas like New England and parts of the Northeastern only get about 4.2 hours of daily solar gain. During those four hours, the system collecting energy needs to be extremely efficient to make them count.

When all is said and done, a roof that is constructed using these tiles should last two to three times longer than a traditional roof.

Ultimately, Tesla’s solar roof – if the claims prove to be true – is more cost efficient on all fronts. The tiles last longer, generate enough energy to lower bills, and installation is inexpensive.

What more could you ask for?

Image credit: Tesla

Climate & Environment

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