During the event held on October 28, 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled his company’s latest offering of two solar roof-top panels. At the Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Musk revealed the Powerpack 2 aimed for businesses. It also introduced the high-capacity Powerwall 2 residential battery pack valued at $5,500.
Even before the unveiling, Musk had long been teasing that the company would be coming out with rooftop panels embedded with photovoltaic cell. In addition to the display of the roof-top panels, the event also explained why it was important for Tesla to acquire Solar City, considering that if the merger does not push through, the actual launch of the tiles would prove to be a problem. Also prior to the event, the company installed non-operational tiles on the homes used for the Desperate Housewives show. The tiles appeared normal and this could be why no seemed to notice. However, this is what the two companies wanted.
Once the event started, CEO Musk also displayed a Tuscan-style house whose garage had a roof composed of glass tiles. A quick look and one would fail to see that it was indeed getting energy from the sun. The same house had the rest of its original tiles and according to Musk, this set-up allows homeowners to choose where to put the solar panels should they want to ensure that their homes would look good as well.
Musk said that while people do love their homes, the goal of the company is to make them better. Although no actual pricing was discussed considering that it would be hard to determine the actual price for each house, Musk though added that the installed cost would likely be cheaper compared to a normal roof plus the electricity cost. The company however shared that the tiles will be sold directly to the customers rather than home builders.
One concern raised is what happens when there is no sunlight. This is where the batteries enter the picture. Offered is the latest version of the company’s Powerwall where there are two lithium-ion battery packs with each producing 14 kWh. This is more than twice the capacity offered by the prior version. With this battery pack, the power stored will be enough to run a four-bedroom house for a single day, which includes the lights, refrigerator, and various other appliances. Unlike in the previous version where a separate unit is needed, the new Powerwall has a power inverter integrated to it. Thus, it can function with the solar roof tiles to change the power from solar to electricity.
CEO Musk said that the company estimates that the glass tiles will be available for installation by the summer of 2017 and he fearlessly guaranteed that the roof will last for quite a long time.