Taking center stage for the SolarCity event at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled his vision for the next generation of solar panels with integrated batteries. This is his attempt at making your dull old house not only look sexier but also more environment-friendly.
We need to make solar panels as appealing as cars have become,
said Elon Musk in his introductory speech.
The solar panels unveiled at this launch event might resemble ordinary roof tiling but packs in integrated solar cells under textured glass tiles. The roof tiling would appear normal to a person looking from the street but is completely transparent to the sun. The secret behind the same, as Musk reveals, is a special coating that makes the tile more or less see-through depending on the person’s viewing angle. It is just awesome how much importance Musk has given to detail, where the tiles become only visible when you approach a ninety degree angle.
In addition, Musk adds that the first iteration of no product is up to the mark and needs refining over time. Similarly, the current iteration of these solar roof panels are only 98 percent efficient as compared to traditional panels. They actually have a two percent loss on efficiency, but Musk says that they’re working with 3M on improved coatings that might further bump the efficiency of solar roofing.
Apart from launching a sustainable alternative, another primary task of these solar panels is to look appealing to the general populous. Thus, the solar roof panels will be available in four distinct styles including ”Textured Glass Tile,” “Slate Glass Tile,” “Tuscan Glass Tile,” and “Smooth Glass Tile.” For those concerned with strength and durability of these solar tiles, Musk further also demonstrated the same via a weight drop test. And yeah, you don’t need to worry as these tiles are pretty solidly built and can even handle rough weather conditions like hail.
Solar roof glass tile vs. conventional roof tile pic.twitter.com/AnGWJ07jub
— Tesla (@TeslaMotors) October 29, 2016
As of the cost, Musk and the team didn’t divulge much details. They, however, did mention that their pricing would be competitive and probably cost less than the full cost of installation of a traditional roof and electricity from the power grid. Musk also said that the pricing might vary depending on a per home basis.
Musk stated that the rising carbon level and the need for an obvious affordable solution made him tick and led to the acquisition talks between Tesla and SolarCity. He further added that if the merger of the two behemoths didn’t go through, the production of these solar panels would be extremely difficult. Thus, one should hope that the regulatory authorities don’t hinder the launch of these dreamy – (now reality!) – looking solar panels.
In tow with the alluring new solar roof tiles, Tesla has also unveiled an updated version of its power storage system, Powerwall 2. This storage solution is pretty much similar to the last one but packs in a larger battery — two 14 kWh lithium-ion battery packs to be more precise. This doubles the capacity from the previous iteration and will reside on the wall in your home. It can power four bedroom lights, a refrigerator and other appliances for an entire day.
Powerwall 2 stores solar energy to power your home with 14 kWh of storage pic.twitter.com/oVv32hiGF6
— Tesla (@TeslaMotors) October 29, 2016
In addition, the Powerwall 2 also packs in a power investor system that’ll help convert the sunlight captured by the awesome solar tiling into electricity. This new energy storage solution whose production and installation will begin in a couple months will cost you over $5,500. Whereas, Tesla will start installing the new solar panels sometime around Summer 2017.
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