Tesla, the American automobile maker and energy storage company, has just unveiled roof tiles that are designed to shake up the solar panel industry. Dave Lee reports about the launch on the BBC News website.
Tesla shows off solar roof tiles
Roof tiles with built-in solar panels have been unveiled by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.
The tiles, made from glass, are intended to be a more attractive way to add solar panels to homes, compared with currently-used solar technology.
The launch took place in Universal Studios, Los Angeles, on what used to be the set for the television show Desperate Housewives.
It comes with Tesla due to take over struggling energy firm Solar City.
Some of the electric carmaker’s investors have expressed concern over the takeover, suggesting it is a Tesla-funded bail-out of a company Mr Musk has a vested interest in as its biggest shareholder.
Solar City’s chief executive is Mr Musk’s cousin.
Bringing the solar tiles to the Desperate Housewives set was a way of displaying the idea’s key selling point: it looks far better than solar panelling. Mr Musk jokingly described it as a “sweet roof!”.
No price was given for the tiles, which come in a variety of colours and styles, though Mr Musk did say it would be cheaper than fitting a traditional roof and then adding solar on top.
Also part of the launch was Powerwall 2, Tesla’s home battery product. The primary function of the Powerwall is to store any surplus energy from the solar panels. It will cost $5,500 (£4,511), Mr Musk said.
Tesla posted a surprise profit in its last quarterly earnings – its first in three years.
The $2.6bn acquisition of Solar City seems set to see the company plunge back into the red, but Mr Musk insisted on Friday that the deal made sense as having separate companies would “slow things down”.
Tesla shareholders vote on the acquisition on 17th November.