Shortly after shareholders approved the acquisition of renewable energy firm SolarCity on Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that his company’s new solar shingles could cost less than conventional versions of the same thing, even before saved energy costs are accounted for.
“The basic proposition would be ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and by the way generates electricity?’” said Musk. “It’s like, why would you get anything else?”
According to Musk, making the panels cheaper than traditional shingles is currently “looking quite promising,” thanks in part to reduced shipping costs. From Bloomberg:
Make no mistake: The new shingles will still be a premium product, at least when they first roll out. The terra cotta and slate roofs Tesla mimicked are among the most expensive roofing materials on the market—costing as much as 20 times more than cheap asphalt shingles.
Much of the cost savings Musk is anticipating comes from shipping the materials. Traditional roofing materials are brittle, heavy, and bulky. Shipping costs are high, as is the quantity lost to breakage. The new tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla’s new automotive and solar glass division, weigh as little as a fifth of current products and are considerably easier to ship, Musk said.
Musk first announced his intention to disrupt the tops of our homes last month when he unveiled four houses outfitted with surprisingly stylish solar panel tiles.
“The key is to make solar look good,” said Musk at the time. “We want you to call your neighbors over and say, ‘Check out this sweet roof.’' [Business Insider]