Tesla expands clean energy vision with solar roof tiles

From electric cars to long-lasting storage batteries to solar roof tiles, Tesla's Elon Musk is moving towards realising his dream of selling a fossil fuel-free lifestyle to consumers.

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By next summer in the United States, homeowners looking to harness energy from the sun through their rooftops will no longer need to separately install roof tiles and then rooftop solar panels. Instead, they will only need to install roofs that are solar panels.

On 29 October, Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk – the billionaire entrepreneur and engineer behind electric cars and long-lasting solar storage batteries — unveiled the latest addition to his portfolio of clean energy products: Glass solar roof tiles.

“This is sort of the integrated future. An electric car, a Powerwall and a solar roof. The key is it needs to be beautiful, affordable and seamlessly integrated,” Musk said at the launch of the solar roof tiles on the homes that once served as the set of television show “Desperate Housewives,” in Universal Studios, Los Angeles, California.

Tesla says its glass solar roof tiles will be more durable, offer better insulation, and look far better than any similar product.

The solar roof tiles can be manufactured in a range of styles to suit a variety of home designs.

While Musk shed little light on the cost, he said the glass solar roof tiles would cost less than the conventional roof plus solar panel installation and thus would appeal to most home builders.

The tiles will be available to consumers next year.

Tesla has partnered with SolarCity Corporation, a California-based solar power design, finance and installation company, to handle the installation of the roof tiles. Musk is a major shareholder in both Tesla and SolarCity, the latter being owned by two of his first cousins.

No details have been shared on when the new solar tiles will be introduced in sun-rich Asian countries as of yet, but Musk said the new product reflects his vision to sell a fossil fuel-free lifestyle to consumers all over the world.

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