The Tesla Solar Roof Version 3.0

by Anna Gretz
November 7, 2019
Energy

Tesla debuted the world's first solar roof tile three years ago, and the excitement was real.

An entire roof made out of solar panels? It seemed like a no-brainer. (Especially for homeowners in California.) But like every revolutionary development in the energy world, the solar roof tiles arrived on the scene with a few kinks to work out.

Here's some background:

In Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s envisioned future, there’s a Tesla in every garage, and solar on every roof… not to mention a Powerwall 2 to store generated solar, tying the package together. This is the kind of home, and lifestyle, Elon Musk wants for himself… and he’s confident that he’s not the only one.

This is why Musk has taken steps to make Tesla into a veritable lifestyle brand--one that will be able to sell you everything you need for a new way of participating in the world… at least when it comes to energy.

What exactly does the Tesla lifestyle look like? It has three striking aspects to it: innovation, conviction, and a healthy dose of audacity.

Innovation

Through the introduction of many creative, game-changing Tesla products, Elon Musk has transformed the way people think about the way they use power in their daily lives. Musks’ ambition has driven him to push the envelope in almost every respect, from electric cars that you can summon to pick you up at your door, to high-capacity low-cost lithium batteries, to rooftop solar that actually is a rooftop. The lifestyle Tesla offers its customers mirrors Musk’s own innovative drive. Going all-in to the Tesla brand means breaking through traditional methods of using power, and hosting an energy revolution in your own home.

The traditional electrical grid, as it stands, is a vulnerable and unreliable system that hasn’t been updated in decades. Homes who have a home battery like the Powerwall 2 can break free from the grid, creating their very own power reservoir. With rooftop solar (or a solar rooftop), that power can be generated independently from the grid, using the free, clean energy the sun offers every day. After solar power is generated and stored, it can be used to power virtually anything in your house… even a car.

The Tesla home is anything but traditional. It’s a new, innovative way of living. And it’s awesome.

Conviction

Many of Tesla’s loyal customers are made up of people who have looked around and said, “We can do better.”

Elon Musk has led a revolutions composed of people who have big ideas, and strong beliefs. Relying on limited, expensive, dirty fuel sources to power our cars, and our homes? Not good enough. Leaving our households vulnerable to frequent power outages by staying connected to an antiquated power grid? Not good enough. Solar systems with costs so high only a select few can partake in the huge advantages of solar power? Not good enough. Tesla as a company has acted on the conviction that the current way of using energy isn’t good enough, and they have enabled people from different backgrounds, income-levels, and area codes to do the same.

Some of Tesla’s customers are passionate about securing their own energy source. Some are passionate about moving forward into a smarter, more efficient energy future. Some are passionate about the environment. All are convicted that a change to the energy status quo is necessary, and imminent.

Audacity

Elon Musk is a CEO who is known for taking risks. Not only is he blazing a trail into a groundbreaking future of renewable energy, he’s also working on new ways to approach space travel. Many of Musk’s ideas, when first introduced, seem counterintuitive and improbable. Then something crazy happens… People start to get used to new ideas. And then, suddenly, they become obvious. Musk has noticed this reaction to his home batteries and solar roof, and he says he’s not done introducing new, bold, risk-taking products.

“There are additional products that I’d like to bring out that I think people will find counterintuitive at first. And then find it obvious,” Musk said.

Many Tesla customers are already there, seeing immense value and logic in the Tesla lifestyle, and they’re going for what Musk calls the “triple play:” a Tesla car, Powerwall, and solar roof together. Musk says that he believes that over time, more and more people are going to be asking for all three together. But why stop there? Musk has hinted that he has ideas for a quadruple or possible quintuple play deal as he introduces more innovative home energy technology in the future.

The growth of Tesla and the debut of new projects has been met by plenty of critics. Specifically, many of those present at the unveiling of Tesla’s new solar roof scoffed at the idea of a “car company” making roofing products. But this diversity of products has always been part of Elon Musk’s plan.

So what's the latest development on the solar roof?

Tesla's third rendition of the solar roof is the most refined product yet. The size and power density of each roof tile has been amped up. This means that the parts required for the complete roof is 50% less. Designers have also done some work on the roof's edges, an aspect that was labor intensive with the last two versions.

Tesla's solar roof still costs less than an average roof + solar panel installation. "It's been hard to get to this point," Musk said, since roofs have to be durable, and cause zero fire risk. But despite difficulties, Musk said the product is now ready for mass installation.

"The demand will be far in excess of the supply," Musk noted, but hopes that he can start cranking out 1K roofs per week in the near future.

Though the Tesla Lifestyle isn’t yet one you’ll see in most homes, it’s one to get excited about. The non-stop innovation of Tesla’s products, along with strong convictions and just a pinch of audacity, will lead Tesla, along with its loyal customers, into a new energy horizon.