In September, 2016, Elon Musk announced his ambitious plan to establish first human colony on Mars. After about one month, Elon Musk came to the public again announcing his new solar roofs as a new product by Tesla & Solar City (both are his companies). The new roof is covered by new-designed solar panels allowing our houses to depend on the sun for the power we need.
The announcement were impressive. It was arranged in a nice neighborhood of beautiful houses, and all of them have the new solar roof. On his screen, Musk presented some Before & After images for the houses, and some short & professional videos to visualize the new roof. Everything was prepared so that attendees say “I want that roof now”.
Elon Musk’s Tesla solar roofs vs traditional ones
Regular solar roofs consist of regular solar panels installed on regular roof tiles. The new tiles by Musk combines both elements in one. Each tile is made of glass with an embedded high efficient solar panel, and a colored film that gives the tile its appealing look.
In additional to the roof, the house will need a battery that store the power by day. Then the house depends the battery at night. The battery has a name “Power Wall”, and it has a capacity of 5 KW per unit. Customers may use multiple batteries if they have higher needs.
It looks cool
A brilliant innovation in Musk’s roof is that you simply don’t notice that is a solar roof. The tile has a fashionable look that compete with regular roofs. At the same time, these nice looking roof generate energy. This is a significant advantage over the regular solar roofs where the black solar panels are obvious to everyone. As Musk said “If you install, you are really proud … you want to call your neighbors over and say check out the sweet roof”.
In the below image, the right one is a regular solar roof. the left one, is the new roof by Elon Musk.
It is competitive
Although it is made of glass, it is more durable than regular roof tiles. Musk says that the roof will be more efficient in heat isolation, more durable, and moreover, it will be cheaper that regular roof + regular solar panels.
Benefits for Musk
Supports the other business units
As we know, Musk has several business entities.
Tesla motors produces Tesla Electric cars. A key factor to the success of electric cars is availing the charging places. The new roof gives a message to house owners that they can buy an electric car and charge it easily at your home from the solar power. Accordingly, they will be able to charge their cars for free. If you notice the Advertising images and videos, all of them shows a house with a focus on a garage with an electric car in it, and a charging cable is there on the garage wall.
SpaceX arranges trips to space all the time. This is either to release a new satellite or to send a mission to a planet. In both cases, SpaceX needs power. Therefore, investing in solar Energy is a direct help to SpaceX. As Elon Musk has a project of sending people to Mars in only 80 days per trip, that requires more effecting power.
It is a big business
During his presentation, Musk mentioned that there are about 240 million roofs in USA only, and a another huge number outside USA. That is a huge market, assuming few millions will acquire the new roofs, Tesla & Solar City will make a significant big fortune.
Prices for the new roof is not declared yet. However, Musk announced battery (Power Wall) price to be $ 5,500. Assuming one million houses acquired the new solar roofs & batteries, that is a revenue of USD 5.5 billion from the batteries only.
Although the actual production is planned to mid-2017, people now are able to register on Solar City website so that they get the new roof. Solar City now has a queue of waiting lists.
Solar roofs serving the individual house hold. On the large scale, Elon Musk is building solar utilities as well. A solar utility will is a solar plant that provides Electricity for residential & commercial needs.
For the decades, world depended on fossil fuels as the main energy source. At that time, renewable energy was not economically efficient. Currently, situation has changed. Technology advances caused the cost of renewable energy to drop significantly. Currently, the renewable energy is economically competitive.
In parallel, world suffers from carbon emissions that causes pollution and global warming. Therefore, world really needs to start using clean energy sources.
Sun is wonderful. In additional to being free & clean, Getting energy from sun is applicable for individual compared with other energy sources. For example, it is not easy to have you own wind turbine, but you can easily have you own solar panels on your roof.
Either you plan to acquire Musk’s solar roof or not, it is time that we acquire more power from our wonderful sun.
A writer & GIS consultant … Studied the Management of Technology … dreaming of a better world.