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Tesla debuts solar roof, but is it really a game changer?

(TECH NEWS) Tesla has been a leader in innovation for quite some time, especially where solar power in concerned. Their latest debut is no exception, but is it a game changer or just hype?

tesla solar roof

Tesla isn’t exactly new to the innovation games, especially where solar technology is concerned. Friday, Tesla unveiled its latest cutting edge solar invention. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, gathered a few hundred audience members on a Universal Studios set in Los Angeles. The set looked like any other set you might find on a Hollywood lot, but it is different in the best possible way.


Tesla’s debut has gone over well

Musk asked the audience, “Did you notice? The interesting thing is that the houses you see around you are all solar houses.” No one could tell the difference. Audience members commented on the fact that they weren’t able to see anything that looked like it could carry an electrical current: no wires, no panels, nothing distinctly “solar.”

If that’s not a testament to the Tesla teams’ design innovations, I don’t know what is. That’s how you change the game.

Solar cells that are camoflauged

Bloomberg reports that they didn’t see this coming, but Musk has been all about solar power and battery innovation for quite some time. The difference in the design by Tesla is that the roof tiles are actually made of textured glass. There aren’t panels mounted to the roof, but rather the “shingles” themselves are the panels.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Tesla’s new solar panels are out of sight, but not out of mind. #GameChanger” quote=”These special shingles allow light to pass through from above onto the standard flat solar cell: out of sight, but not out of mind.”]

The plan is for Panasonic to produce solar cells while Tesla puts the glass tiles and everything that goes along with them together to make a design that is truly extraordinary.

As tough as they are pretty

The tempered glass is made of quartz, and Musk notes, “It has a quasi-infinite lifetime.” It will withstand extreme temperatures, from heat to snow. Outside of the solar panels, the best part of this set up is the battery.

Tesla plans to use Powerwall 2 batteries, a lithium ion battery with a great capacity for power storage. The current prototype reduces the efficiency of the solar cell by a mere 2 percent, but with continued innovation, Musk believes the microscopic louvers that keep the tiles opaque could actually be used to boost the solar cells.

Not bad on the wallet

Sound expensive? When you consider you’ll likely never have to replace this roof (I say likely because I’m not sure about extreme elements like hurricanes, hail, and earthquakes), it’s not as much as you’d think. Musk said the pricing is a bit “squishy,” depending on what materials you choose to use. The premium options, like terra cotta and slate are at the most costly end of the spectrum, but there will be other options for the budget conscious.

Right now, Musk prices this product from around $7,000 to $70,000 depending on size and materials. As the innovation advances, pricing will become more concrete and the range of options more apparent. At any rate, Tesla gets a big “thumbs up” from us for this amazing, eco-conscious innovation.

* Join our Closed Facebook Group to discuss Tesla’s solar roofs. *


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.


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