Tesla’s much anticipated (and long-delayed) solar roofing tiles have finally begun production out of the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York, according to Reuters. Tesla has also begun surveying the homes of those who put down their $1,000 deposit to reserve the new power-generating roofing tiles, which should be installed in the coming months.
The solar tiles are expected to cost between 10 and 15 percent less than the cost of a new roof plus solar panels. They are designed to mimic a variety of roofing styles to ensure there’s an option to match the aesthetic of each home. Customers were able to place deposits on either textured or smooth tile options, while Tesla promised to have their Tuscan and slate offerings available later this year.
Depending on the cost of electricity in each area, Tesla even estimates that over the 30-year life of its solar tiles, consumers could not only end up with significant savings, but even make profit. Using an example of a typical home in Maryland, Tesla calculated that with tax credits and the value of energy over 30 years, factoring in the cost of a Powerwall battery, the roof could net a positive $8,000 over its lifetime.
The environmental benefits of solar roofing are many. Not only do they help relieve the burden on fossil fuel generation, they also do so by reclaiming space that’s already utilized. New solar farms are excellent for providing increasing amounts of electricity to larger areas but developers often have to use large swaths of land to ensure their farms are economically viable. Like other solar panels used for domestic energy supply, Tesla’s solar roofing tiles take advantage of areas that are already used up by buildings, but they do it in a more cost effective way.