Solar panels are incredibly popular thanks to their ability to deliver clean power and help owners make their homes generate as much energy as they consume. But the downside to this technology, aside from cost, is in aesthetics. Solar panels are bulky and are often not the most attractive addition to a home.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk believed there was a better way. Why couldn’t solar panels look like an ordinary roof tiles? And, why couldn’t the entire roof be made of panels, instead of bolting on solar panels to an existing roof?
Tesla and SolarCity have introduced a better way that makes solar technology less of an eyesore. Their newly introduced solar tiles will soon be available in four distinct styles, letting home owners embrace clean technology without interfering with the style of their home.
The solar roofing comes in four distinct styles, including “Textured Glass Tile,” “Slate Glass Tile,” “Tuscan Glass Tile, and “Smooth Glass Tile.” Each of these achieves a different look, but all are assembled with similar material. Each is also transparent to solar, but appears opaque when viewed from an angle.
These panels deliver a two percent loss on efficiency, so 98 percent of what you’d normally get from a traditional solar panel, according to Musk. The company is working with 3M on new coating to deliver even better efficiency and less energy loss in the near future.
While these new tiles are perfect for discriminate homeowners who want to reduce their energy bills but don’t want to add traditional panels to their home, there is a draw back. Although the cost, according to Musk, is competitive with the cost of a new roof, the application of these tiles is far more expensive than the addition of traditional solar panels.
Still, replacing a roof with standard tiles brings no financial benefit, as these tiles do. And with Tesla new new Powerwall 2.0 battery unit, homeowners could not only power their entire home from solar energy, but they could also store and use excess energy generated from these tiles.
The new solar roof tiles should be available next summer. New options and styles are expected to be added to give homeowners even more to choose from.