Tesla is gearing up to build and sell its own range of solar panels with built-in batteries. At a press event at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, the company announced that the Powerwall 2 will enable people to replace their whole roof with solar panels and an upgraded Powerwall 2 battery system. The whole idea is to make it easier for home owners to harness solar power for their personal use.
The panels look like textured glass tiles, but with integrated solar cells. When complete, these roofs look “as good or better” than more traditional roofing materials, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says. From the gorund, the panels look like normal roofing tiles, but are transparent to the sun. Each solar tile is “hydrographically printed,” making each one unique so that no two roofs will be the same, Musk adds.
You can take any two roofs that look like that and they will be different — because they are different.
There are variations for customers to pick from: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and highly energy efficient, the tiles are also much sturdier, making them more resistant to extreme weather conditions like hail, The Verge reports.
The Powerwall 2 can store 14kWh of energy, with a 5kW continuous power use, and 7kW at peak. The battery holds a 10-year warranty for unlimited power cycles, and can be installed on the wall, floor, indoors or out. It can also be used for back-up power and for load shifting.
Musk had earlier announced his intention to break into the electric car industry via Tesla, following his three-part energy solution: generation (solar panels), storage (batteries) and transportation (cars).
So far, there has been no information on pricing and installation costs for the solar roof. The Powerwall 2 retails at $5,500.
The project is a joint venture between Tesla and SolarCity, according to SolarCity SEO Lyndon Rive. Tesla is working to acquire SolarCity for $2.6 billion, and shareholders of both companies are set to vote on the said acquisition in November.