Tech company Tesla will start taking orders on its new solar roof tiles this month. USA Today reports that while the company officially announced the tiles in October 2016, CEO Elon Musk shared in a tweet that the products will be available for pre-order very soon.
In a statement to investors in November, Musk boasted the quality, affordability, and effectiveness of the product.
“The base of the proposition would be, would you like a roof that looks better than the normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and by the way, generates electricity?” he said. “It’s like why would you get anything else? Maybe there’s a reason. I’m not sure why.”
While a typical metal roof can save roughly 25% in energy costs compared to a dark-grey asphalt shingle roof, nothing compares to a roof that can actually create energy.
Solar tiles differ from solar panels in that they are integrated into the roof, rather than placed on top. According to Solar Industry Magazine, these tiles are made of tempered glass, with built-in solar cells. When exposed to the sun, these tiles generate electricity. Tesla will be offering the tile in four designs including Tuscan Glass, Slate Glass, Textured Glass, and Smooth Glass.
In addition to showing the simple beauty of the tiles, Tesla’s website emphasizes the sun’s abundant energy.
“The sun provides more than enough energy in just one hour to supply our planet’s energy needs for an entire year,” it says. “Your home can capture this free, abundant energy source through rooftop solar tiles, turning sunlight into electricity for immediate use or storage in a Powerwall battery.”
USA Today reports that a solar company has not yet been able to master this product, as most have struggled to offer the tiles at an affordable price to a large demographic. This means that if Tesla is able to sell their solar tiles successfully, they will overtake their competition with ease.
The company is predicting that they will be able to sell their products to 5% of the nation’s roofing business. While projects such as bathroom remodeling, which accounts for 78% of home renovations, may make this percentage seem insignificant, it represents over 300,000 homes at this time.
USA Today reports that even though Tesla is set to start taking orders, they have not announced when they will begin producing and delivering the tiles. Their website has information about the tiles themselves, a promotional video, and a contact form to sign up for a waiting list.