Nick Rosen | |
Musk has yet to announce the price
Musk has yet to announce the price

The solar roof tile seems set to transform technological necessity into desirable object.   Elon Musk’s launch event last week was a revolutionary moment because it integrated urban house design with solar technology.

Bring it on, if you can, Mr Musk-  but at the right price.

Consumer Reports says Elon Musk needs to price his tiles at no more than $73,500 for the average pitched roof. It calculated how much Tesla’s new solar tiles would have to cost to be competitive with a traditional roof.

Tesla (TSLA, US) has not yet provided specifics about how much the tiles will cost. Chief Executive Elon Musk has said the “beautiful” solar tiles would beat rivals in price, efficiency, and looks.

Instead of solar panels perched on roofs, that are visible from the outside and not exactly an architectural enhancement, homeowners would get a seamless product made with sleek glass that covers a house and powers it too. And the produce will be available in four styles.

Consumer Reports estimated that to cover the roughly 3,000 square feet of roof needed for the average U.S. home size, homeowners would have to shed $16,000 for clay tile, $20,000 for an asphalt roof, and $45,000 for a slate roof.

The magazine calculated $60,000 in added value from 30 years free of electric bills ($2,000 a year is a typical electric bill in states where solar is big, like California, Texas, and North Carolina) and did other calculations to arrive at $73,500 as the price point a Tesla textured or smooth glass solar roof could be considered cost-competitive with a $20,000 asphalt roof.

That competitive price point is lower for Tesla’s Tuscan-style solar tile and higher for its slate-looking solar tile.

Tesla shares were slightly higher Thursday, but are down 21% in the year so far, while the S&P (SPX, US) as gained 2.4%.

This, from news site TechCrunch: & It’s easy to dismiss the aesthetic import of how Tesla’s tiles look, but it’s actually important, and a real consideration for homeowners. The appearance of the tiles, which come in four distinct flavours, is going to be a core consideration for prospective buyers.& More about those & distinct flavours& there is Textured Glass, a metallic looking flat tile; Slate Glass, which is very hard to distinguish from traditional slate; Tuscan Glass, the old, curved Italian-style tile; and Smooth Glass.

In short, you will become a consumer living inside Musk’s vision of the future: an ecosystem that is modern, cool and green. And expensive.

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