Tesla founder plans to lead global push to 100 percent renewable energy

On Friday, in Los Angeles, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the latest elements of his plan to lead a global push to 100 per cent renewable energy: a solar roof shingle and the second generation of his home and utility scale battery storage offerings.

While revealed with a lot less fanfare and a lot less pizazz than the launch of Tesla’s “mass-market” Model 3 EV, and the models S and X before it, the launch of the solar tile and the Powerwall 2 and the Powerpack 2 are no less significant.

Firstly, it signals a change in thinking about how to integrate solar energy. Built-in solar PV (BIPV) will become ubiquitous in rooftops, windows and even walls. Musk is not the first to bring solar roofs to the market, but because of his company’s marketing cache, he is the first to bring it to the mainstream.

Secondly, it underlines just how quickly battery storage costs are falling, and this is key to changing the way we think about electricity and the way it is produced and delivered. It’s pretty clear, at least in the case of Tesla, that they have nearly halved in just a single year.

The Powerwall 2 (now rectangular) packs twice the energy of the first model (14.5 kwh), but because it now includes inverters and other software integration, its installation price is not going to be significantly more expensive than the original price for the Powerwall 1.

As for solar roofs, Musk wants them to become as attractive and desirable as an electric car. “We want solar roofs that look better than normal roof, generate electricity, last longer” he says, and where the installed cost is less than that of a  normal roof and the cost of electricity. “Why would you buy anything else.”

Musk sees the potential market as 5 million new roofs being built in the US each year, and presumably the tens of millions being built elsewhere. But the unveiling was short on technical details and cost.

Musk is identifying the mega trends and getting in early, with a branding that cuts through to the general population in ways that no other EV manufacturer, battery storage maker or solar manufacturer had been able to do. Others will follow and make a success of it, because the trend is clear.

Image Via: www.TED.com

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson