Tesla might not be able to deliver its Model 3 car on time but the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, wants to make sure that people are able to build the roof of their houses with solar panels rather than asphalt or metal.
At the moment, people usually think about renewable energy after they have built their homes using almost conventional construction techniques and production of energy through solar roof panels comes as an optional afterthought.
Elon Musk wants to change this paradigm. Instead, Musk wants people to build renewable energy sources into their homes at the time of construction rather than at the date of convenience.
Elon Musk, widely regarded as the real life incarnation of Tony Stark from Iron Man, has built quite a reputation around chasing projects that seem unrealistic to most.
Musk has been able to manufacture electric cars from scratch and also revolutionized how people paid and received money online through PayPal.
If that wasn’t enough, then Elon Musk is also a key figure at SpaceX enterprise which aims to land its spaceship on Mars (and the Moon) before NASA does.
Just last month SpaceX, after experiencing considerable success in sea-based rocket landings, tried to achieve ground landings. Musk’s SpaceX mission was to carry an international docking adapter to ISS (International Space Station).
The company failed to achieve its target last year with its Falcon 9 rocket that broke up on the launch site.
But this time around, SpaceX was able to send a rocket with the critical docking port part to the ISS.
That should be enough to give you an idea how ambitious and unrelenting Elon Musk is with regards to his projects. And let’s not even talk about how Musk plans to transform tomorrow’s family SUVs with Tesla Model X electric SUV which has outrageous looking doors with speed to match.
Let’s stay with Elon Musks latest mind-bogglingly fantastic SolarCity project. SolarCity had its latest earnings call a couple of days ago, where Elon Musk along with his crew explained how his current efforts would be focused on renewable energy.
Elon also revealed that his company, SolarCity, is in the process of developing a roof that is made entirely of solar panels.
Then he went on to further emphasize the fact that his solar roof won’t be a roof with solar panels on it. In fact, he said, his company’s roof will be made out of solar cells and nothing else.
Elon Musk also expounded upon the fact that people build and install millions of conventional roof every year, so the ideal time to turn these people into renewable energy users is when they go out in the market for roof replacement.
Generally, people who own old homes are more inclined towards not installing any solar panels on the top of their roofs.
The primary reason for that aversion to solar panels is that usually solar panel installation companies have to rip off everything which is part of the old roof in order to install solar panels.
Add to that the fact that solar panel tiles or shingles aren’t being produced on a mass scale yet. So if theoretically, you get your solar panel roof and then break on of your solar panel tiles, then you are seriously out of luck.
Another problem with solar panel roofs is that even though they don’t take up much space, you still need a relatively large flat roof surface to install a bunch of solar panels. Along with that, you will mostly likely need some more standard roof tiles in order to fill out the edges and corners of your roof.
And then, of course, there are other questions that need to be answered such as solar panel durability, reliability and maintenance costs (along with efficiency and installation costs).
Elon Musk has now shown that he has extraordinary abilities to execute his projects and then scale those projects into mass production without major hiccups.
But this time, Elon Musk missed out a couple of points from his talk at SolarCity’s earning call.
Exactly how Elon Musk’s SolarCity will overcome these solar panel roof problems, was not explained. In fact, Musk didn’t even shed light on how his roof, which would be made entirely with solar panels, would function when the technology nears its completion.
He did reveal that customers will be able to customize the design of their solar panel roofs.
One could say that customization options are an important part of any project that involves installing roofs made of solar panels because the variety of housing on the market is incredibly large.
The customization option announcement also indicates that Elon Musk’s SolarCity won’t just install patches of solar frames on your rooftop and leave it at that by calling it a day.
But, the most important announcement regarding solar panel roofs was never made. Neither Elon Musk or any of his other executives revealed a time frame of when the general public will be able to see SolarCity’s solar panel roofs.
Peter Rive, who works at SolarCity, said that the company started to talk about solar panel roofing just a couple of weeks ago so potential customers should give them more time to come up with a definite release date.
Rive also told reporters that SolarCity would ramp up production of these solar panel roofs sometime in the second quarter of 2017.
Perhaps the lack of a set release date is because of SolarCity’s merger with Tesla which was announced earlier this month.
Tesla and SolarCity agreed to a $2.6 billion merger and announced it on August 1. Just that you know, both companies (Tesla and SolarCity) were Elon Musk’s firms. This merger would only form a giant green company that will be called Tesla.
With this merger in place, Tesla will be able to offer its customers solar panels along with Powerwall batteries (for energy storage purposes) and electric cars which will run on those batteries.
The product line which Tesla would be able to sell because of the merger has been called as “end-to-end-clean” energy solution.
This clean energy solution had been the absolute singular aim of Elon Musk since the beginning of his entrepreneurial streak.
Elon Musk promised this complete solution in his “Master Plan Part Deux” about two weeks ago. SolarCity also announced that the company will start to offer integrated solar and storage facilities and will aim for 5 million new roofs installed each year in the US alone.
Elon Musk also said that a merger of this sort would not adversely impact the production schedule of Tesla. He also clarified that his plans for Tesla Model 3 electric car and GigaFactory would remain unaffected.
And while the merger is recent news, SolarCity and Tesla have been working together on projects for quite some time now.
SolarCity was founded by Lyndon Rive (now the CEO of SolarCity) and Peter Rive (now a director at SolarCIty), both of whom are Elon Musk’s cousins. Elon Musk, now, is the largest shareholder of both companies along with being the chairperson.
SolarCity recently also revealed that the firm has been able to install more photovoltaic panels than was forecasted in the last quarter. SolarCity installed panels equal to 201 megawatts compared to 185 megawatts which were forecasted.
SolarCity also said that despite an increase in the number of photovoltaic panels installations, the number of residential installations had gone down by a slight margin.
SolarCity also plans to reveal more products after the merger with Tesla is made official by the regulation authorities.
In short, you’ll only get more details about future products and plans when SolarCity has finished its merger activities with Tesla.