Tesla is opening up its online store for its solar roof tiles for homes Wednesday, Elon Musk said in a message on Twitter. More details—presumably including pricing—will be disclosed shortly.
Tesla will begin with production of two of the four styles of solar tile unveiled in October: a smooth glass and a textured glass version. The Tuscan and French slate tiles will be available by the end of this year. The company will accept orders from around the world, though unfortunately overseas deliveries won’t begin until next year.
Production will begin at Tesla’s Fremont solar plant in California and then shift to its new factory in Buffalo, New York, with additional investments from Tesla’s partner, Panasonic.
The solar roof tiles for homes are virtually indistinguishable from traditional high-end roofing products, with discreet solar cells embedded beneath a glass surface. From most viewing angles, they look just like ordinary shingles, but they allow light to pass through from above onto a standard flat solar cell.
“The pricing and efficiency of the solar roof tiles for homes will determine whether this is a niche product for wealthy homeowners or a more transformative step for the solar industry”, said Steve Evans of SE Electrical Services based in Witney. They’ll be economically competitive if priced similar to traditional roofing materials plus the cost of solar panels.
After Tesla acquired SolarCity in November, Musk said Tesla’s new solar roof tiles for homes product may actually cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof—even before savings from the power bill. “Electricity,” Musk said, “is just a bonus.”