Tesla, the company founded in 2003 by Elon Musk and JB Straubel together with Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and operating until just a few months ago, exclusively in the sector of high performance electric vehicles, is experiencing an exponential growth so much that it has been praised by Forbes , already in 2015, as the most innovative company in the world. Just in recent months, the company is entering a decisive and revolutionary way in the field of electrical engineering and renewable energy, especially the solar one. The story began towards the end of last year, when Tesla announced that it will collaborate with Panasonic for the production of solar panels and modules. The two companies signed a so-called “non-binding letter of intent” under which they will collaborate in the production of photovoltaic cells (PV), located in Tesla plant in Buffalo, New York. Shortly after, on June 28, 2016, during an event on a movie set of Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Tesla and SolarCity (a company purchased by Tesla in the next few days for $ 2.6 billion) jointly presented their amazing innovation: an integrated system of photovoltaic tiles, connected to the new “Powerwall 2” battery, capable of producing domestic electricity and recharging the car, thus leveraging 100% renewable energy in short, a solar roof that will revolutionize the entire market.
As usual, the event is redundant, thrilling, scenic, as in the usual style of Elon Musk.The International Renewable Energy Agency produced a report earlier this year that predicted up to 13 per cent of the electricity generated around the world could be done by 2030 through solar power. In addition to this, if you want to look for a replacement product, you will probably never find it, except if we want to be generous of Bicocca’s photovoltaic windows, a 2015 project, rewarded in 2016 and (almost) ready for marketing.At this point, it’s clear that the roof and battery technology could potentially open a whole new market for the company, making solar power a key component for new and existing houses. Mainly this invention aims to solve the aesthetic problem of the bulky solar panels used yet today to produce solar energy.In order to do it they are using a high-efficiency solar cell manufactured by Panasonic and covered with a “color louver film”, which allows cells to blend into the roof while exposing them to the sun above, and finally a tempered glass on top for durability.
The company believes so much in the resistance of its product that Tesla tempered glass tiles are sold with endless guarantee: “These are three times more resistant than classic tiles. We are ready to offer the best guarantee possible: forever, as long as the house is standing! “says the company’s website. The animation next to it, taken at 2,500 frames per second, is part of a quality test: at the time of impact, the 5cm hail travels at 160 kms.
The endless guarantee is a necessary plus considering what has been said in a recent interview by Elon Musk. According to Tesla CEO, in fact, the Solar Roof, on balance, would be cheaper than traditional solar panels and even normal roof tiles, considering the enormous savings in electricity over the years.In this regard, the company has set up a calculator on its website providing a more or less detailed estimate of the costs to be incurred and of the achievable savings. In any case, Tesla suggests that between purchase and installation costs, cost of energy saved, and any incentives, the expense would be zeroed even earning a few thousand euros, after 30 years (15-20 years is the average life span of a standard cover of solar panels).
From May 10, 2017, Tesla tiles can be ordered from many countries around the world, this is what the company announced in a tweet the night before the official launch on the market. Until that moment, exactly as it happened before the official launch of the “Model 3” electric car launched by Tesla only a few weeks before, the first and only customers were the employees of the company. The launch price is $42 for square foot of roof covering, which may vary according to the specificity of each single case. The success was instantaneous and the sales of the first two weeks were enough to fill the installations calendar until 2018.Returning to the technical characteristics of the tiles, first of all it should be said that these have a optimal functionality / aesthetics ratio, in fact they look the same as normal high-end coverage materials, but they still absorb sunlight and turn it into energy through solar cells.In this way, the energy accumulated during the day is stored in the “Powerwall” battery pack that the system must be equipped with, so as to provide the required energy and the right voltage, to avoid waste of money and technology.In short, our home would become a real small power plant able to function in a completely autonomous way.The product is offered in 4 different styles: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile.
In addition to this, each roof is completely customizable since tiles with solar cells can be fitted jointly with plain tiles that are absolutely identical to each other.At last we must remember that Tesla tiles measure half the weight of the common tiles and do not degrade over time like asphalt or cement: the Tesla solar roof would seem to be the most durable and innovative roof available today on the market.There is really need for inventions of this kind in order to be able to exploit more and more renewable energies and Tesla is the best interpreter for this role. Surely it will be necessary to monitor the evolution of the solar roof over time, but all the indications are that this amazing company has revolutionized another new sector in which it is entered.In short, Elon Musk never stops to astonish and Tesla is ready to take us in the future!