Tesla solar roof generates electricity without traditional rooftop panels

On Tuesday, Tesla Inc reported manufacturing of its solar roof tiles began at the company’s Buffalo, New York factory in December.  The Palo Alto-based company says it has also begun surveying the homes of customers who signed up for the product last year.

Tesla solar roof tiles generate electricity without the use of solar panels.  The technology is a cornerstone of the company’s strategy to encourage consumers to shift to a fossil-fuel-free lifestyle powered by Tesla.

The solar roof panel technology was unveiled by Tesla in October 2016 just as Tesla was working to buy SolarCity.

Tesla founder Elon Musk said at that time that the roof tiles could be available by the summer of 2017.  But, last November, Musk said the product was still in the testing phase, adding “it just takes a little while to get this behemoth rolling.”

As part of the pilot program, Musk along with a dozen Tesla employees had the solar panels installed on their homes.

Beginning in May of 2017, homeowners interested in purchasing the Tesla solar roof tiles put down a $1,000 deposit.  Tesla says it will not disclose the number of reservations it received for the project.

The tiles are expected to be installed on some buyers’ homes in the coming months.

Tesla says its system will cost somewhere between 10 to 15 per cent less than an ordinary new roof fitted with traditional solar panels.

The company has partnered with Panasonic to produce the solar products in Buffalo and about 500 people are employed at the site.

Tesla Inc. photo.

Follow Teo on LinkedIn and Facebook.