Despite experiencing recurring problems with its solar roof, Tesla is about to launch the project for the third time. Tesla first revealed its solar roof in 2016, but the product has yet to catch on with consumers ahead of its third iteration.
The solar roof promises to send electricity into Tesla batteries stored in the home via a textured glass shingle roof. The Tesla solar roof also features hydrographic printing, meaning that the final product resembles French slate or Tuscan glass, depending on consumer preferences.
But the jury is very much out on whether this can become a successful product, after previous releases were far from well received. Tesla has previously only managed to install a few around the United States, with high manufacturing and installation costs, as well as technical issues, being cited in the product’s poor take-up rate.
And Walmart has also sued Tesla for culpability in fires at seven of its stores where Tesla solar panels were installed.
Nonetheless, despite the difficulties that Tesla has experienced with its solar roof project, CEO and founder Elon Musk indicated his belief in the project in a conference call. Musk stated that issues with previous versions had been due to the design, which was too complex to install, and asserted that this definition of the Tesla solar roof would be simpler, and thus more effective.
The latest version of the solar roof is notable for its larger tiles, and increased power density. Tesla has also bundled the product with a 25-year warranty, also attempting to make it more aesthetically appealing by including new materials and simpler designs. The product will initially launch with a black glass title, with a clay roof version arriving in approximately 12 months.
Tesla believes that it will be able to install over 1,000 roofs on a weekly basis in the coming months, while ramping up this volume as quickly as possible. While Tesla will currently be involved in the installation of its solar roof, in the long term it will possible for certified independent installers to sell and install the product as well.
Full details of the Tesla solar roof are yet to be made fully available, but the company has confirmed that the project will go live in at least 25 states where the company already sells solar panels.
Musk, as is usually the case, was bullish on at the prospect of the solar roof, asserting that it would suit over 100 million houses worldwide. “The future I think we all want is…when you look around at a neighborhood and the roofs are gathering energy and doing something useful,” Musk asserted.
The Tesla founder also described the product as “robust and resilient”, and predicted that solar roofs would become the norm in neighborhoods across America over the next 20 years.