Tesla shows off so­lar roof tiles

Malta Independent - - SCIENCE -

Roof tiles with built-in so­lar pan­els have been un­veiled by Tesla chief ex­ec­u­tive Elon Musk.

The tiles, made from glass, are in­tended to be a more at­trac­tive way to add so­lar pan­els to homes, com­pared with cur­rent­lyused so­lar tech­nol­ogy.

The launch took place in Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios, Los An­ge­les, on what used to be the set for the tele­vi­sion show Des­per­ate House­wives.

It comes with Tesla due to take over strug­gling en­ergy firm So­lar City.

Some of the elec­tric car­maker’s in­vestors have ex­pressed con­cern over the takeover, sug­gest­ing it is a Tesla-funded bail-out of a com­pany Mr Musk has a vested in­ter­est in as its big­gest share­holder.

So­lar City’s chief ex­ec­u­tive is Mr Musk’s cousin.

Bring­ing the so­lar tiles to the Des­per­ate House­wives set was a way of dis­play­ing the idea’s key sell­ing point: it looks far bet­ter than so­lar pan­elling. Mr Musk jok­ingly de­scribed it as a “sweet roof!”.

No price was given for the tiles, which come in a va­ri­ety of colours and styles, though Mr Musk did say it would be cheaper than fit­ting a tra­di­tional roof and then adding so­lar on top.

Also part of the launch was Pow­er­wall 2, Tesla’s home bat­tery prod­uct. The pri­mary func­tion of the Pow­er­wall is to store any sur­plus en­ergy from the so­lar pan­els. It will cost $5,500, Mr Musk said.

Tesla posted a sur­prise profit in its last quar­terly earn­ings - its first in three years.

The $2.6bn ac­qui­si­tion of So­lar City seems set to see the com­pany plunge back into the red, but Mr Musk in­sisted on Fri­day that the deal made sense as having sep­a­rate com­pa­nies would “slow things down”.

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