Tesla unveils its vision for the future of solar roofs

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stood in front of a gathered crowd of several hundred people yesterday to unveil his latest, much-ballyhooed vision for the future: a world powered by his company’s solar roofs, with a Powerwall 2 battery on the wall and a Tesla automobile in the driveway.

As pictures of the new roof tiles flashed on a video screen behind Musk, audible gasps escaped from the attendees. From French slate to Spanish tile to traditional asphalt, Tesla’s new roofing materials mimic closely the roofing materials and are virtually indistinguishable from the ground (and, in some cases, look better than the originals).

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Musk says the new solar roofs will cost less than a traditional roof plus the cost of electricity and last longer than traditional roofs which, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association, “are designed to provide useful service for about 20 years. Some roof system types, such as slate, clay tile and certain metal (e.g., copper) systems, can last longer.”

Prior to showing real-life examples of solar-roof installations, Musk unveiled the Powerwall 2, a 7 kW, 14 kWh battery system to store the power the solar roof captures during the day so homeowners can use it at night. The system will cost $5,500 and come from Tesla Energy, the proposed name for the merged company of Tesla and SolarCity.

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The merger has not been approved by either company’s shareholders, though the vote is expected to take place on Nov. 17.

Watch the unveiling: