In typical Elon Musk-style, along with the Tesla acquisition of SolarCity, Musk announced his aesthetically sleek, futuristic-looking, roof shingles that he says will change the appearance of solar. But will they?
Musk didn’t mention that BIPV solar technology has been around for many years, yet the concept of a complete solar roof has yet to be successfully brought to market.
Other important Tesla roof shingle omissions include:
1. How much energy will solar roof shingles generate? Efficiency?
2. How much will they cost?
3. Who will sell, install and repair these solar shingles?
4. How will Tesla prevent overheating in intense sunlight?
5. When will these solar roof shingles actually be available?
Tesla says manufacturing of the solar shingle will begin in mid-2017; no other information is available at this time. Aside from lack of proposed pricing, what will be the consumer interest and demand for this product? What guarantees will Tesla offer for a watertight roof?
Financial analysts do not doubt Elon Musk’s vision and ability to promote a product. They do question the effect a solar roof shingle will have on the Tesla bottom line.
Even when factoring in the Tesla residential home battery, the Powerwall 2.0, which performs better than its predecessor… the Tesla/SolarCity merger lacks synergy. With Net Energy Metering and Time of Use rates, the financial benefit to Tesla is likely 3-4 years out when battery prices are more cost efficient and shifting the energy load to avoid higher fees receives greater emphasis.
Looking at similar behavior in the solar industry, when SunEdision, a large scale solar and wind provider, tried to acquire Vivent residential solar, it was a poor fit, and played a significant role in SunEdison filing for bankruptcy.
Time will tell if and how Tesla succeeds in the solar installation market. Right now we know that Tesla and Solarcity have merged their two companies, both heavily in debt and dependent on fundraising.
Really makes you want to put your trust in the solid reputation of your local, independent solar installer, like Clean Solar.