Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Palo Alto, CA, United States (4E) – Tesla Solar’s prices for its elegant and energy saving “Solar Roof” are a surprising eye opener: this new system of tempered glass tiles that generate electricity is really affordable and cheap in the long-term.
Tesla Solar revealed the product six months ago and only recently divulged its pricing along with announcing it’s taking orders for this building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) system. The system is a mix of active solar tiles and inactive glass tiles.
The eventual cost of a system depends on the percentage between active solar tiles and inactive glass tiles. Thus, a 35 percent mix costs $21.85 per square foot compared to the $24.50 per square foot for normal tiles.
And the price for Tesla Solar Roof tiles doesn’t include the energy savings from producing your own electricity, a fact that allows your investment to pay for itself. Tesla released a savings calculator when they announced sales.
Tesla Solar Roof tiles are solar shingles (also called photovoltaic shingles) designed to look like and function as conventional roofing materials, such as asphalt shingle or slate, while also producing electricity
They’re intended as a replacement for traditional roofing materials and aren’t meant to be an additional roof over your existing roof. It comes in four styles: Tuscan, Slate, Textured and Smooth.
Made with tempered glass, Solar Roof tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, said Tesla Solar. This edge allows Tesla Solar to offer what it claims is the best warranty in the industry — “the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”
The system also allows the home owner to customize the amount of electricity his Solar Roof produces to fit his energy needs. This feature is made possible by using two types of glass tile, solar tile and non-solar tile.
Two of the styles (grey smooth and textured black glass) are now available to order for installation. The other two options (and orders outside the US) will hit the market in early 2018.
Tesla Solar says that installation will take about five to seven days, entirely managed by the company itself. It also claims the system has the best wind rating; the best hail rating and the best fire rating.
Tesla is packaging the Solar Roof system along with its upcoming Powerwall 2.0. The latter is a battery storage device with a built-in inverter that connects to your home’s electrical system.
The Powerwall system will cost an additional $6,500 but will take a house completely off the grid by generating 100 percent renewable energy, according to Musk.
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