Elon Musk has finally revealed the big project he’s been working on, and the retailer (SolarCity) is marketing it as the “Roof with Invisible Power”. We knew the reveal would contain a solar roof design and a new battery system. What we didn’t know was how the whole setup would function, given the challenges of the roof design alone, but things are getting clearer. The reveal also comes at a crucial time thanks to the merger going on at Tesla, which means his presentation showed an entire lifestyle that included Tesla’s electric car. At this point it’s critical for Musk to convince investors the companies can serve each other, and make a profit. Did he do it?
The presentation does paint a pretty picture. A beautiful house running solely on solar power, while the electric car charges in the garage, it’s nothing short of mesmerizing. In case anybody missed the news about what the hype is all about, Musk has presented a roof that is made up completely of solar panels. It looks like a typically tiled roof, when it’s everything but typical. You get to choose between four different texture designs, and as you can see from the picture above, they look good.
But as stylish as they may appear, the aim is to make them affordable. Musk makes it abundantly clear that it’s not something that’s only available to the rich and famous, although a price tag has yet to come with the installation. Let’s hope his dream for a renewable energy world is in fact an affordable choice. In his defense if the price is steeper than expected, he did lean towards using the solar roof towards new home projects, rather than taking the roof off an existing house.
What’s Special about the Solar Roof?
It’s important to remember why Musk set out to design the solar roof, which was to replace external panel installation. Not everyone appreciate what it looks like, so changing the whole approach to making it more natural was the main focus. In order to do this they used colored louver film, which allows the cells to blend into the roof. This gives the impression of a typical roof at a very small cost of efficiency. To make up for the slight efficiency loss, high quality cells were inserted, which are protected by tempered glass. It can withstand almost three times the pressure a typical tile can.
How does the solar power roof store power? This is the part where Tesla’s new battery system is introduced, called the Powerwall2, answering the question a lot of people were asking. According to SolarCity’s website, production is going to start in the middle of 2017 and they’re taking orders. Now it’s just a matter of time to see if the launch was a success.