Tesla’s Solar Roof Story: So Far, So Superficial
Its new solar shingles were shown off in a fictional neighborhood, with an unconvincing narrative to match.
Tesla chose to unveil its new solar roof technology on the fictional road of Wisteria Lane from the TV show Desperate Housewives. The choice may have proven apt: like the set that was used as a model for the new products, the technology for now remains rather superficial.
Elon Musk’s dream of an all-electric future is no secret: the man runs the electric-car company Tesla and solar-energy provider SolarCity, after all. But speaking at the launch event, which took place in one of the famous street sets at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, he explained that for his imagined future to become a reality, the whole thing—solar panels, energy storage, and electric car—“needs to be beautiful, affordable, and seamlessly integrated.”Yeah but other than that...
His new solar roof so far goes a long way to achieving the first of those three aims. Tesla's new tiles, made of quartz, are individual solar panels disguised to look like regular shingles. The idea is to turn your entire roof into an electricity-creating surface, while maintaining the looks that we’re all accustomed to. As the Verge shows, in that much the company has succeeded. They’re so far being manufactured in four designs, from rustic-looking Tuscan terracotta tiles to smooth, modern slates. They all look pretty great.
The effect is apparently made possible by a coating, developed alongside 3M, that allows light to pass through the upper surface in some directions but appears opaque when viewed from others. So from the sidewalk the tiles look like a regular roof, but sunlight from above can head straight through to the solar cell. That is undeniably smart.
But when it came to detail at the event, things were lacking. As Wired notes, Musk failed to talk about pricing, performance, availability, or installation....MORE
Last week at Climateer:
Tesla, SolarCity Tumble Ahead Of New Merger Financials (TSLA; SCTY)
Attentive reader may have noticed we didn't cover Mr. Musk's press conference on the roof tile solar panels last Friday. We've been at the market long enough to recognize a master magician's "hey, look at this" misdirection. The tiles aren't going to matter to anyone for at least a year, probably two, and by then I would expect the market to have changed to the point that they will be recognized as a niche at best.
The oohing and ahhing from the assembled journos was kinda funny though; in a naïve, never had to bet real money sort of way.
TSLA $189.85 down $7.88 (-3.99%); SCTY $19.00 down 0.60 (-3.06%). Nasdaq down 1.05%.
After last Wednesday's earnings announcement the stock (very) briefly traded as high as $216.48 (16:18:30 PM).CEO Of Total, Major Solar Investor: " ...Industry facing 'a new winter'" (SPWR; TOT; CAFD)
That's down 26 bucks in four trading days. As the retail guys say "And Mr. Bigg, if you annualize that..."