Tesla opens orders for solar roofs

PALO ALTO – After a Hollywood reveal, Tesla is ready to bring its solar roofs to Main Street — or perhaps just to some exclusive suburban communities, depending on the price.

The clean energy company and electric vehicle maker will begin taking orders for solar roofs today. It announced the new products in October at a Hollywood studio, where four prop houses were shingled with different prototypes.

Two of the four roofs, black glass in a smooth or textured surface, go on sale, company CEO Elon Musk said. Two other varieties, Tuscan and French slate styles, are expected in six months. High-efficiency solar cells are embedded in the shingles and wired together to form a power-producing surface.


The price has not been released, although it’s expected to be substantially higher than a traditional roof with solar panels. One roofing expert expected the product to appeal to the same clients as Tesla’s luxury electric vehicles, which begin at around $80,000.

Tesla did not release details about installation and construction. Several other companies have tried and discarded solar shingles.

The roofs expand Tesla’s offerings to environmentally conscious consumers. The clean energy company also sells electric vehicles, home and commercial batteries and solar panels.

Musk sold investors on Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity with the promise of providing an expanded selection of clean energy products. Shareholders approved the merger a few weeks after the solar roof announcement.

Company executives said last week it was focusing its solar business on higher-margin markets. Tesla failed to meet analysts’ expectations for first-quarter earnings, losing about $2.04 per share.

Photo: Prototype of a Tesla solar roof unveiled in October 2016. The tiles are embedded with solar cells to generate power (Courtesy of Tesla)


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