The founder of Tesla and SolarCity Elon Musk’s focus on the electric vehicles market has been recently shifting towards other environmentally friendly solutions, as the CEO of the company famous for awe-inspiring releases once again amazed fans and clients in a presentation about a Tesla and SolarCity joint collaboration initiative.

In October 2016, in a typical households neighbourhood setting, Musk gave a short presentation announcing the latest developments in the fields of electric vehicles, storage and solar roofs. His vision emerged from the alarmingly high record levels of CO2 emissions, increasing threat of global warming as well as enormous upward potential in the market for solar roofs.

Analogous to the early unspectacular days of electric cars, solar panels are expected to become more appealing to larger masses of consumers. This is reflected in SolarCity’s goal to create solar roofs that look better, generate electricity, last longer, have better insulation and an installed cost that is less than a normal roof with electricity costs. Tesla’s mission on the other hand is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Three Part Solution

In order to incorporate the emerging potential of solar panels and storage, and growing market share of electric vehicles, SolarCity and Tesla formed a joint collaboration, focusing on a three part solution. Namely, the future that both companies want consists of an integrated solution of a solar roof, storage and electric car, which when scaled globally can help solve the energy equation.

Musk used the occasion to introduce solar panels and storage products that will become complementary to the famous Tesla electric vehicles. The storage systems designed and manufactured by SolarCity are required in order to facilitate the transition from roof generating power to the battery pack. They are intended to store the electricity that is generated during the day, thus filling the batteries planned to be used during the dusk and dawn. The revamped and upgraded storage systems, Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 will have greater power, electricity generation capacity and scalability.

Powerwall 2 will have twice as much energy and power than its predecessor Powerwall 1. At a price of $5,500, it could power lights, sockets, and refrigerator of a 4 bedroom house for a full day. It could also be scaled to any size and full home power.

Powerpack 2 will have electricity generation capacity of 210 kWh/ 50 kWh. It could be seamlessly integrated in the grid, with the highest power density inverter and unlimited potential for scalability.

The company previously also announced the biggest utility battery installations in Southern California (80 MWh) and Kauai Island (52 MWh). Moreover, Musk stated that there is a need to increase utility power and local power generation, which stand at 1/3 required for transport, another 1/3 for heating and the last for electricity. According to Musk, however, 1/3 could suffice for local power generation, whereas 2/3 would be enough for utilities and rooftop.

Aligned with Musk’s expectations, the three part solution consisting of an electric vehicle, Powerwall and a solar roof would be beautiful, affordable and seamlessly integrated.

Shades of solar roofs

SolarCIty presented four different types of glass solar panels, which are tougher and more resistant, thus creating longer lasting roofs.

The first type of panels includes panels made of textured glass tile applicable to normal roofs. The second type includes hydro-graphically printed solar panels suitable for French Slate roofs. The third include modern-look film panels, while the last type consists of Tuscan glass solar panels.

Check out that sweet roof!

Musk’s analysis of the market divides consumers into two segments, namely owners of new houses and houses with refurbishing needs. Currently there are 4-5 million new roofs in the US, while 20 times more in the entire world. Musk’s vision is to reach complete dominance of solar roofs, as all new roofs and all replacements are done with solar panels. He expects that neighborhoods will become accustomed to better aesthetics, making solar desirable and placed on the most prominent parts of houses. According to Musk, proud owners of solar would brag to their neighbours to “ check out that sweet roof”.

Musk believes that people care about, love their homes and want to make them better, which is where solar panels would be helpful.

That’s where we are headed and I hope you agree that’s the future we want.

Snezana Sokolovska

Snezana has extensive international background and business media experience. She is covering e-mobility, autonomous vehicles and smart technology at Electric Think.

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