Tesla, Inc.'s Solar Tiles: What You Need to Know

Solar plant in Africa

United States electric vehicle maker Tesla has started selling solar roof tiles as the company keeps an "eye to the future".

The solar roof tiles are a product of Tesla's merger with SolarCity previous year.

As of Wednesday, customers worldwide could order a solar roof on Tesla's web site. However, there has been a slight delay.

But Jim Petersen, chief executive of PetersenDean Inc, which installs about 30,000 new roofs plus solar a year, estimated that a 1700-square-foot roof with new solar panels, including the tax credit, would cost about US$22,000, well below the Tesla website's estimate.

Musk had previously said that orders would begin in April.

The solar roof tiles can be ordered for any country, including Australia and the United Kingdom.

Tesla is going to offer these tiles in a variety of styles but Musk does point out that not all styles will be available initially. They come in four different styles - textured, smooth, tuscan and slate - two of which are now available for purchase.

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People can now order the smooth black glass shingles and the textured glass shingles for their Solar Roof.

Musk said that in most areas of the US, houses should have enough roof area to provide power for all of the household's needs.

The company announced its solar roof project past year, aiming to deliver a solid alternative to regular roofing solutions. That's why the company unveiled the solar roof tiles which look like real slates but are made from glass.

In addition to being guaranteed for the lifetime of your home, the Solar Roof can combine with a Powerwall to meet a substantial amount of a house's energy needs.

Installations for Solar Roof are set to begin this year in the U.S., while Tesla expects installations in other countries will begin in 2018. The next question is "Won't this be ugly?" and the answer is, they've thought of that; these look like shingles, from the street, and you don't see the solar cells until you're right on top of the panel. With 60 percent solar coverage on the roof, the system would generate $38,100 of energy over 30 years, according to the estimate, leaving the homeowner with a net cost of $1,400. The tiles are three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, but much lighter, according to the company.

Tesla yesterday started booking orders for its transformative new solar roof.

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