CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk stated that his company is going to focus on the Solar Roof this year. Energy-collecting tiles which have not only excelled at harvesting solar energy but also at looking like regular roof are yet to become a mainstream product. So far, only a small number of houses have had these tiles installed, but as Elon Musk said on Thursday, this year this is all about to change.
Musk said on the conference that he is sure that 2019 is going to be the year of the Powerwall and Solar Roof. He talked about the future of solar energy harvesting during the unveiling of Tesla Model Y, held at the Tesla Design Studio that is based in Hawthorne, California. He stated that due to the challenges of mass production of the Model 3, they had to allocate all their resources to that project.
However, Musk believes that these efforts are critical to moving the world toward sustainable energy. The solar panels that are made by Tesla can harness clean energy from the Sun and store it in batteries for later use. For him, Tesla already has a solution for a fully sustainable future in three different products – electric vehicles, batteries and solar tiles.
The challenges that Musk mentioned refer to the production of Tesla Model 3. The problem was that Tesla needed to produce enough model to satisfy around 500,000 orders. Before the Model 3, Tesla produced only around 2,000 of other premium vehicles – Model S and X. Tesla managed to get to 5,000 units per week production rate, but it almost cost them everything. Musk said that he believes that during that time he aged five years in one.
This is the reason why the development of the Solar Roof wasn’t the top of the priority list for the company. The roof was first shown in November 2016 as part of a vision for a future home – roof tiles collecting energy into Powerwall, which can charge a Tesla vehicle and store excess energy. It is known that Tri Huynh and Amanda Tobler, California resident, got these solar tiles installed, but Tesla had to save power cells for the Model 3 production.
However, the situation has changed, and Musk now plans to allocate more engineers to the solar roof project. He also stated that the production of solar tiles in larger quantities would start next year.
Tesla’s roof has proved to be a worthy investment. The 2,000 square-foot roof of Amanda Tobler’s house cost around $50,000 when you count in the federal solar investment tax credit. The rate for a square foot of solar tiles is $42, for dummy tiles is $11 and a mix of non-solar and solar tiles of 40 per cent. The solar roof produces 9.85 kilowatts of power. Tobler stated that she wouldn’t hesitate about installing the roof again.
The company will also increase efforts in developing the business-oriented Powerpack. Tesla managed to deliver in 30 countries over 1.5 gigawatt-hours of energy. In 2017 they finished the construction of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery of 100 megawatts in South Australia. Southern California will get a similar system in the near future.
Tesla might have struggled last year, but it looks like that 2019 is going to be different.