Tesla's new solar roof tiles, a sleek alternative to solar panels for those seeking to power their homes through solar energy, have hit the market, the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced Wednesday.
The glass tiles were revealed several months ago, as the company sought to create "the most beautiful and efficient roof ever." They come in four different styles — textured, smooth, tuscan and slate — two of which are currently available for purchase. The other two styles are set to hit the market in 2018.
The tiles are different from traditional solar panels because they mimic traditional roofing. They feature solar and non-solar tiles together, Tesla said.
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"When you have this installed on your house, you'll have the best roof in the neighborhood. The aesthetics are that good," Musk said in a conference call with media.
The tiles are made with tempered glass and come with an lifetime warranty, according to Tesla's website, because they're meant to be "more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles." Installation of the tiles people may now purchase is expected to begin in June.
Tesla said the solar tiles cost $42 per square foot to install, making them far more costly than slate, which costs around $17 per square foot, or asphalt, which costs around $5. But homes would only need between 30 and 40 percent of their roof tiles to be solar; the rest would be Tesla's cheaper non-solar tiles which would blend in with the solar ones.
Solar energy has become increasingly popular through the years, with solar roofing panels dominating the market. Tesla also offers solar panels, but the tiles are its latest venture into clean energy.
"It is the metaphoric 'super-car' of residential solar," BNEF solar analyst Hugh Bromley told Bloomberg in October. "It portrays cutting-edge technology with broad appeal, but … it competes in a solar market where most customers are comfortable in a family sedan."
But other roof-integrated solar panel systems have failed in the past Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov told CNBC, adding that the numbers Tesla disclosed are "rule of thumb estimates" and may not reflect reality.