The first news about Tesla’s plans to start selling solar roofing solutions alongside its electric cars like the Model S and Model X emerged late last year. Now Bloomberg reports that Elon Musk’s firm has started accepting deposits from eager early adopters who want to take advantage of this technology as soon as possible.
To convince people that the sunlight-absorbing tiles are worth considering as an alternative to traditional roofing, Tesla’s site has a calculator which allows customers to work out not only how much it will cost to cover a given area with them but also how much value will be generated over time.
Installing the tiles over an area of around 185 square metres will cost the equivalent of close to £39,000 when current government subsidies which apply in Tesla’s native US are taken into account. From this point on, electricity will be generated and stored whenever the sun is shining, saving the household £50,000 over the course of the ensuing three decades.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this upfront cost is much higher than would be paid for standard roof tiles without any solar properties. But observers have been quick to point out that compared with other solar panel solutions, this is actually quite affordable, which could bode well for the future of the project.
Musk has outlined the concept that solar panels will become essential to homes of the future, sitting alongside the electric cars that the company sells and meaning that millions of people are far less reliant on fossil fuels that do so much irreversible damage to the environment at the moment.
Furthermore, Tesla is incorporating the sales process for its solar roofing with its existing network of car dealerships. Soon people who hire a Tesla could find that they are also made familiar with the high-tech tiles and other products that share the same over-arching ethos.
Following early trials of the tiles, mass production is set to start in the near future at several facilities in North America, depending on the level of demand which is experienced. And as with the first set of EVs released by Tesla, it will mostly be those with deep pockets who are able to reap the benefits of these developments, at least in the short term.
One of the reasons that Tesla has managed to make its electric cars such as success is the way it handles the customer experience: the eco-friendliness is just one spoke on the wheel of broader benefits. This is likely to carry across to its entry into the roofing market, as it plans to not only manufacture the tiles but also install them with its own teams and carry out maintenance work in years to come.
In many ways this reinforces Tesla as the Apple of the car world, bringing in every aspect of its business and customer community under the same umbrella so that it has greater control over the entire experience. This could cause other firms to follow suit.