There can be no doubt that Tesla has greatly influenced the way people use solar power today. Their innovations in terms of energy storage via their lithium battery designs alone have done wonders for the solar power community. But evolution is part of human nature, meaning they've taken things a step further. What you think was great before, has become even better. Introducing the Tesla Solar Roof - the new face of solar power?
The Significant Difference
Before getting into more details about the Tesla Solar Roof, along with the pros and cons, let's take a look at how it's changing the overall solar power appearance. Firstly, just about everybody who knows about solar power associate it with evident panels installed on the roof. Naturally, the designs have improved over the years, making them much less obtrusive and more efficient. But nobody really anticipated that Elon Musk’s next big surprise for a renewable energy future would entail removing the roof of a house, literally.
The design for the Tesla Solar Roof looks exactly like typical roof shingles. In fact, when installed you won’t even be able to tell the difference (as you can see from the above picture). They were specifically designed to blend with the natural appearance of your house, except with more benefits. Currently, there are three different shingles to choose from, and another one will be joining the catalogue in 2018. The shingle designs are textured, smooth and slate, with the Tuscan following next year.
Taking into account the completely natural way the Tesla Solar Roof presents itself, it makes you wonder what solar power is going to look like in the near future?
The Pros and Cons of the Tesla Solar Roof
Let’s start with what’s great about it, namely the fact that it will provide you with renewable energy for the next 30 years. According to Tesla, the shingles will stay intact and collect sun rays until the house comes down, making it one of the best investments for homeowners. They even offer what they call the infinity guarantee based on their confidence in durability. The shingles are also three times stronger than typical shingles, which makes sense given their life-expectancy.
Another great thing is the integrated lithium Powerwall battery, which stores the energy collected throughout the day, and makes it available for use whenever you need it. How independent the roof will make you from the grid depends on how much energy you require. But it’s clear that you can reduce your grid-powered energy use with a substantial amount just by getting the roof installed.
On the realistic side, installing the Tesla Power Roof is going to cost a pretty penny, making it a very big initial investment. Even though financing is provided, it’s not going to be a readily available option for everyone just yet. However, it’s the type of investment that can bring in some big returns.
Solar Roof Vs Solar Panel Comparison
Here's a quick comparison between the Tesla Solar Roof and conventional solar panels.
Lifespan for Tesla: Infinity or until the house comes down.
Lifespan for Panel: Between 10 to 20 years depending on developer, although they can last longer.
Aesthetics for Tesla: Completely natural and unobtrusive.
Aesthetics for Panels: Older designs don't present very well, while modern designs are less obtrusive.
Durability for Tesla: Uses tempered glass that is three times stronger than a typical roof tile.
Durability for Panel: Even though panels are very durable, they can't take the same punch as a solar roof.
In terms of efficiency, they seem to be using a top cell design from Panasonic, which is about 19.5% efficient. This is one of the highest efficiency ratings for cells in the field, while cells created in the lab can reach up to 23% efficiency. Assuming the special layers of the roof to make it look natural take only a fraction away, it will still easily compete with conventional panels.