Elon Musk’s plan for an all-Tesla existence is about to get one step closer, when his high-tech solar roof shingles go on sale in April.
Musk tweeted that Tesla would start taking orders for the unique solar tiles in April on Friday in the middle of a massive news-dump about the upcoming Tesla Model 3. Tesla’s new solar roof, made from a sophisticated new kind of glass tile that disguises solar panels as ordinary shingles, was announced as the icing on top of the Tesla and Solar City merger-cake. The tiles are a new type of “Tesla Glass,” that also might appear in future versions of the Model 3. We don’t yet know how much they’ll cost, but Musk said that he expects them to cost “less than a normal roof.” In other words, homeowners that need a roof replacement can go to the Tesla system and essentially make their money back in power savings after a few years.
The ideal system, according to Musk, is a house covered with Tesla shingles feeding into a central, off-the-grid system of Tesla Powerwalls with at least two Tesla vehicles in the garage (in a few years, Musk’s plan is for the Tesla vehicles to spell out S-3-X-Y, because $13.2 billion means you can make all the preteen calculator jokes you want).
They’re also super strong, as durable or more durable than traditional roofing supplies (one fan on Twitter asked Musk if they’d be able to stand up to rough weather in the Northern United States). Musk didn’t reply, but based on this GIF, we’re guessing that’s a yes.
They can also defrost themselves after a heavy snowfall or frost, incorporating heating elements into the glass just like the defrosting wires in a car’s rear windshield. Hopefully, in most climates, they won’t need to use that function in April.
Here is the full Tesla solar tiles demonstration from last October (Held on the former set of the TV how Desperate Housewives, if it looks familiar), just before Solar City merged with Tesla: