Tesla CEO Elon Musk reported that the average homeowner will not be able to afford their new solar roof tiles, as they will be roughly the same cost as the typical shingle roof.
The product was initially announced in 2017, and the company was supposed to start building them the following year, in 2018, but its production was delayed two years in a row.
According to Musk, this was due to the fact that he wanted to make sure it is the best possible product to market, and that it would last for 30 years without needing a replacement.
As these goals were highly ambitious, it has been a very challenging process to complete them. Musk explained that it is a hard technology problem to have a good-looking, integrated solar cell with a roof tile, that would last for 30 years, and make it one of the cheapest roofs available.
Its durability will be guaranteed for life and will be guaranteed to generate power for up to 30 years.
Moreover, Musk promised to bring its cost down to match that of a shingle roof, which means a great reduction in price, so if he succeeds, it would be a game-changer on the market and it would positively affect the home building industry.
Namely, two years ago, a typical homeowner would have to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Tesla Solar Roof, while this advanced version, the new Solar Roof V3, which comes with a lifetime of the house warranty and 30-year power generation guaranty, is estimated to be cheaper than a non-solar tile roof of a similar style or virtually pay for itself through electricity savings.
To illustrate this, a shingle roof can cost as little as $4 per square foot, and a non-solar tile roof can cost up to $20 per square foot.
Also, to boost deployment, install time needs to be reduced. Namely, when they initially launched the new product, Tesla said that it should take about the same time to install as a tile roof installation, which is typically 5-7 days, but earlier this year, it was found that its installation was still taking about 2 weeks.
According to 2016 data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), solar has already become the cheapest way to generate energy, and the International Energy Agency estimated that it will be the world’s primary source of energy by 2050.
Solar power is a limitless supply, so it can make energy prices drop so low that anyone could afford it, and as it gets developed and perfected, the technology to harness electricity from the sun will continue to become cheaper.
Researchers at IBM developed the new High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system, which performs far better than the current conventional solar panels, and engineers claim that it can magnify the sun’s energy by 2000-5000 times.
It works by using hundred of incredibly small solar cells, which are constantly cooled so they can generate more energy than regular panels, without wasting the excess.
The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has offered a $2.4 million grant to support the development of this project, and the researchers hope that one day, this technology could become a cost-free way to power the world.