Tesla to begin taking orders for Solar Roof in April

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PV Magazine

Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors

On Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company will begin taking orders for its Solar Roof product in April. The news was delivered via a Twitter response, in the brief and oblique style that has come to characterize the PR strategy of the company and its iconic CEO.

As such, there are still many questions unanswered. Tesla notes in the waiting list for the Solar Roof on its website that production will begin in “mid-2017”, which means that like the company’s cars there will be a significant delay between signing up and being able to buy the product.

Musk has created of an atmosphere of mystery around Tesla and its products, like some sort of energy and transportation Willy Wonka. It’s a bit maddening for journalists trying to cover the company, but appears to be working to build buzz around its products.

And like Tesla’s cars, the Solar Roof looks to be a luxury product. While Elon Musk has stated that the Solar Roof product will likely cost less to manufacture and install than a “normal” roof – even without the electricity generated – it should be noted that the Solar Roof will imitate slate, terra cotta and tile roofs. These are the most expensive roofs available, with Bloomberg estimating that these materials cost as much as 20x more than asphalt shingles.

In the solar industry there is no shortage of skepticism about the Solar Roof, given the number of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products that have failed over the years. And yet despite the graveyard of former BIPV designs, Musk appears to be giving new life to the concept, as evidenced by the launch of a new lightweight BIPV panel by Suntech Founder Dr. Zhengrong Shi.

Tesla is also engaging in this venture flush with cash, having recently issued $1 billion in Tesla stocks and convertible bonds in a follow-on offering, to ensure that the company’s coffers were stacked for the launch of the Tesla Model 3.

Source: PV Magazine. Reproduced with permission.


  • Rod

    The pay now then wait model may have gotten a bit tiresome for some people.
    Personally, I have no problem with standard panels on the roof but then again, I don’t find wind turbines ugly.

    • solarguy

      Neither do I Rod, their bloody beautiful mate. Just can’t wait for residential vertical axis turbines to become cost effective. As it stands good quality H. axis turbines are still not worth the effort for suburbia….. more the shame.

  • Ian Mclaughlin

    Asphalt shingles as seen on American renovator programs, typical of the USA old technology, cheap, ugly and dirty.

  • Greg Hudson

    Now consider how many houses you have seen in Australia with asphalt shingles… The answer is probably NONE. Concrete roof tiles are the default standard here, so if the Tesla glass tiles cost the same (or nearly) then surely it will be a no brainer for the new home industry. Personally, I’ve been waiting for them to arrive… Even considering throwing all the tiles off my brand new house roof to install them, or maybe installing them as the first option on my next brand new house… Of course it will take time for the big name builders to become familiar with the product, but that was the same for Hebel bricks, or polystyrene wall panels when they were introduced.

    • stalga

      Polystyrene wall panels are cheap and nasty. I haven’t noticed them catching on. I’ve seen asphalt tiles on a few Australian houses. There is probably a practical reason why they are widely used in the US, maybe their climate.

    • solarguy

      Greg, If you even consider throwing all the tiles of you brand new house for Tesla’s PV tiles, you need to see a doctor quickly…. sorry for that revelation.