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TESLA BEGINS TAKING ORDERS FOR ITS SOLAR ENERGY ROOF TILE SYSTEMS

TESLA BEGINS TAKING ORDERS FOR ITS SOLAR ENERGY ROOF TILE SYSTEMS

Tesla is now accepting deposits for its new solar roof system, offering an “infinity” warranty for tiles that integrate solar power into roof coverings.

Resembling normal roofing shingles, the solar tiles will be offered in a variety of styles, from slate and terra cotta to smooth or textured dark gray. On it’s website, Tesla is taking $1,000 deposits toward work that includes removing a house’s existing roof, installing the solar tiles and equipping the home with a battery to store power.

Potential customers can use the company’s online tool to estimate the solar roof’s costs and savings, based on their roof’s square footage. The results, which draw on Google’s Project Sunroof, vary according to energy costs and other factors.

The solar roof tiles are made of quartz glass. But not all tiles on a house with the system will be actively gathering the sun’s energy. Tesla’s plan calls for mixing solar and nonsolar tiles. From the street, the company says, the two look identical.

Attendees take pictures of the new Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery during an event at Tesla Motors in Hawthorne, California April 30, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc unveiled Tesla Energy – a suite of batteries for homes, businesses and utilities – a highly-anticipated plan to expand its business beyond electric vehicles. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

For a two-story house in Raleigh, N.C., with 2,467 square feet — the median size of a new, single-family home in the U.S., according to recent Census Bureau data — the upfront cost of replacing a roof with the solar tile system comes to $46,400, according to Tesla’s online tool.

A federal tax credit drops that amount by nearly $14,000, but Tesla’s Powerwall battery adds a $7,000 expense. With 60 percent solar coverage on the roof, the system would generate $38,100 worth of energy over 30 years, according to the estimate, leaving the homeowner with a net cost of $1,400. Depending on the local energy market, a similar home in another area could generate a profit.

Solar Roof complements your home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning your home into a personal utility. Glass solar tiles are so durable they are warrantied for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.

The price per square foot varies with the proportion of solar and nonsolar tiles. Tesla says active tiles will cost $42 per square foot, while inert tiles will be around $11 per square foot. The active tiles have three main layers, with a base solar cell beneath a colored louver film that’s covered by tempered glass.

A standard solar panel setup could cost about 30 percent less than the Tesla system, Bloomberg reports. But the news outlet also says Tesla is bringing its aesthetically appealing tiles to market at a price that’s well beneath earlier expectations.

Tesla says its SolarCity subsidiary will begin installing the first systems in California and will then spread to other areas. For 2017, the solar tiles will be installed only in the U.S., the company says.

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