California's Requirement to Solarize New Houses Will Create Need for Advanced Roofing and Siding Materials
by John Lawrence, May 13, 2018
Within two years all California new house construction will be solarized. Instead of solar panels being retrofitted on old houses though, these new houses will have solar built into roofing shingles, tiles and even perhaps in siding. Tesla offers a new roofing material with solar built in. It looks just like a regular roof but without the panels attached to the roof.Tesla warranties the roof tiles for Infinity, or the lifetime of your house, whichever comes first. Their website says, "Solar Roof complements your home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning your home into a personal utility." Essentially the solar cells are invisible and indestructible. They have the highest ratings for wind, hail and fire.
The roof tiles integrate with a battery to store energy during the day. There are also tax credits which will bring down the cost, and the whole thing can be financed with the mortgage for the house. Why would anyone not install this kind of roofing material on a new house? The new roof will be offered in four designs: Tuscan glass tile, slate glass tile, textured glass tile and smooth glass tile. The house will integrate with the existing power grid but will keep the power on during grid outages.
If you’ve found it difficult to stay up to date on the future of Tesla Motors and SolarCity in recent months, you are not alone. Numerous industries (solar, electric vehicles, and ridesharing, to name a few) worldwide are starting to feel the impact of a merger that could significantly alter growth plans for manufacturers and executives across the globe. Now the concept of an integrated solar glass shingle – the Tesla solar tile – is on everyone’s mind.
We had already heard about Tesla’s plans for total clean energy integration – a one step carbon reduction process that involves pairing solar panels with your Tesla electric vehicle. Now for the latest: with Tesla’s highly anticipated solar roofing product, we’ve seen the future of PV roofing and the future of Tesla. One thing is certain: building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are going to be a big part of Tesla Motors – or should we say Tesla Energy’s – future.
Tesla started accepting deposits to reserve solar roof tiles in May 2017. In January 2018, the company announced that they are ramping up production of the roof product at their Buffalo Gigafactory. Then in mid March, they completed some of the first initial installations for customers at the top of their wait list in the California area approximately six months after their initial estimate.
Elon Musk revealed in August 2017 that he and another Tesla executive have installed the roof on their respective properties already. While the company has stated that they have begun installations for their wait list, it’s unclear when Tesla will be installing the roof at a national, mass market scale. Some estimates suggest large-scale installation won’t start until mid-2018 or later.
To give prospective solar roof customers more information, Tesla launched a calculator that provides estimates for its solar roof. The company has also released basic pricing information: customers can expect to pay around $21.85 per square foot for their solar roof.
That's about four times as much per square foot, but with energy savings and tax deductions and the fact that the whole thing is integrated into the cost of the new construction, it should definitely be worth it. The esthetics of the house will also be greatly enhanced which will be much welcomed by architects.
The article goes on:
Many stakeholders recognize that solar needs to be rebranded as an aesthetic and technical improvement that could be a part of a home renovation rather than a hefty module that is nailed onto your rooftop. That sentiment was emphasized in Elon Musk’s October 2016 launch of Tesla’s new roofing product. The cleantech company aims to bring solar further into the mainstream by removing any sort of visual setback that homeowners may fear.
“I think there’s quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not, I think it’s going to be a night-and-day difference,” said Musk in a statement before the product’s official launch. Two months later he unveiled the solar roof, using a crowded, suburban event in California to demonstrate that his panel design is so seamlessly integrated that an entire audience of press needed to be told the house they were looking at even had solar installed.
Welcome to the future, California is already the leader for solarized houses in the nation with over a million houses solarized. Other companies besides Tesla are also getting into the business. Costs should come down as research and development proceeds. The new law passed by the state will make the number of solarized houses skyrocket. I predict that architects will incorporate these new roofing products into their designs in innovative ways thus helping to develop this industry in a quick way.