Tesla has shown signs of life for its beautiful solar roof product, for which it now says that production has started. The building integrated solar roof, which uses solar and non-solar tiles made with tempered glass, was originally planned to start selling in summer 2017. (Photo Credit: Tesla Inc.)
- Tesla’s solar roof production has started at the Buffalo factory in New York
- Customer installations might start soon, but the company has not specified when
- Tesla anticipates more than 1 GW of cell and module production at the Gigafactory
- At the Gigafactory, Tesla is already producing lithium-ion battery cells along with Panasonic to be used for Tesla’s energy storage products and Model 3 car
Energy and automotive company Tesla Inc. has started producing solar shingles at its Gigafactory located in Buffalo, New York. Production was launched in December 2017. The company’s solar roof tiles directly convert sunlight into electricity. The invisible solar cells integrated into roof tiles replace the roof of a conventional home, giving the appearance of a regular shingle roof.
The tiles are made with tempered glass and Tesla claims they are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles. Tesla is currently offering four different designs. The solar roof also integrates with Tesla’s Powerwall home battery.
Tesla unveiled the product in October 2016 when it was in the process of acquiring US solar installer SolarCity.During the product announcement of the company’s Q2/2017 financial results, the management stated that some Tesla staff had solar roofs installed on their homes as part of a pilot program. After that, the company started taking orders. However, since then basically no news about progress had been reported until now – and many analysts were anticipating that Tesla would rather focus on fixing its issues producing its Model 3 electric car. Now it remains to be seen when installations will actually start. In the coming months – the company hasn’t specified when – those roofs will be installed on some customer rooftops, reported media outlets.
In May 2017, Tesla had announced that installations of solar roofs would begin in the US during the summer and installations outside the US would launch in 2018. The first target was missed, the second can still be met.
While the pilot solar roof products were being produced at its Fremont facility, mass production was set to begin at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo before the end of 2017. Tesla – or better Panasonic which operates the factory – aims to reach more than 1 GW of cell and module production at the Gigafactory, which already employs around 500 people.
The Gigafactory is already producing lithium-ion battery cells, for which Tesla is also working with Panasonic.