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Tesla solar roof arriving in 2018

Home r-innovations: Tesla has produced a series of tile-like solar panels that it says can greatly reduce electricity bills.

American EV specialist creates solar roof panels claimed to be cheaper, stronger

12 May 2017

TESLA has developed a series of roof tiles that double as solar panels and, according to the American manufacturer, are more affordable and “three times stronger than standard roofing tiles”.

Installations of the tiles will begin in the coming months in the United States, and will be available internationally from next year.

Styles at launch include textured and smooth tiles, with Tuscan and slate styles being introduced next year.

Two types of tiles – solar and non-solar – are used in the Tesla’s Solar Roof, with customers able to choose the number of active tiles based on the amount of energy they plan to use.

In its blog Tesla estimates that the cost of installing the Solar Roof with 35 per cent of tiles solar-powered on an average American home would work out to be $US21.85 per square foot, more than slate (approximately $16), metal (~$14), tile (~$13) or asphalt (~$5). Non-solar Tesla tiles are priced at roughly $11 per square foot.

However, according to American website Consumer Reports is it estimated that if a 3000 square foot roof with 35 per cent solar panels is installed, energy saved over the lifespan of the tiles (estimated at 30 years) would amount to $US53,500, therefore making it cheaper than any of the alternatives.

Consumer Reports has estimated that the upfront cost of installation of the Solar Roof would be $US73,500 compared to $16,000 for clay tiles, $20,000 for asphalt, and $45,000 for slate, so purchasers would need to factor in long-term viability when considering a Solar Roof.

Included in the Consumer Reports estimate is the installation of Tesla’s Powerwall 2.0 battery storage device which is priced at $6500 for American customers, and comes with a ten-year warranty.

Tesla says the tiles themselves come with a lifetime warranty, however “power” and “weatherisation” warranties are rated at 30 years.

The manufacturer claims the tiles – which are constructed from tempered glass – are over three times stronger than regular tiles while being half the weight, and do not degrade over time.

Order books are open for Australian customers to buy their own Solar Roof, with a deposit of $1310 required. It is estimated Solar Roof will be rolled out in Australia next year.

At the same time Tesla is significantly boosting its network of Supercharger stations ahead of the release of its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.

The number of Supercharger stations nationwide is increasing from 12 to 23 by the end of the year, including the first stations in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

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