Integrated solar roof tiles cheaper to install than regular roof, says Musk

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has suggested his newly launched integrated solar roof tiles could actually cost less to install than a regular roof – making the renewable electricity they produce “just a bonus”.

Musk made the claim last Thursday, just minutes – according to Bloomberg – after Tesla and SolarCity shareholders voted in favour of a $2 billion deal to merge the two companies.

“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof will actually cost less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account,” Musk said.

“So the basic proposition would be, ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity?’ Why would you get anything else?”

Musk unveiled four different types of surprisingly stylish looking solar shingle options at a much-hyped LA launch event in October, but at the time, their cost of the shingles was unknown – and their release somewhat overshadowed by the Powerwall 2 home battery storage launch.

But the huge show of shareholder support for the Tesla-Solar City merger has clearly put the solar roof back on the agenda.

Of course, as Bloomberg and many others have noted, the high-end terracotta and slate tiles that Tesla’s solar shingles have been designed to look like are among the most expensive roofing materials on the market, so this must be taken into consideration against Musk’s rather sensational claim.

But then Musk has noted that his tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla’s new automotive and solar glass division, will weigh as little as a fifth of current products, making them considerably easier – and cheaper – to ship.

As for the “bonus” electricity generation component of the tiles, Tesla will produce the solar cells for the roof with Panasonic at its manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York. And at a November conference call, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said the companies were aiming for 40 cents a Watt, which puts it in line with the competition.

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© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd


  1. I’ve had the idea of making roof tiles which are solar panels, but have been stumped of how does this effect the fire fighting if there were a fire in the building. I would be first in line to get these if they become available in West Australia.
    My strata complex that I live in has allready told one owner/townhouse that they cannot put solar panels on the roof. I would like to hear from anyone who has come accross this problem and how they got around it.

    1. It is up to the committee to approve this, keep trying. I am on the committee of our body corp and we approve solar on owners roofs, it is just the owners responsibility to fix if anything goes wrong and body corp will not cover this.

  2. Hi Elon Musk! I’d be happy for you to replace our tin roof with your solar tiles…… a display house for your products.

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