Ground-breaking tech company Tesla have made a move into the housing and energy market, taking deposits for their remarkable solar roof tiles.
In a move that could see the beginning of a sea-change in the global construction of new build houses, Billionaire CEO Elon Musk announced the much anticipated news to his 8.6 million Twitter followers last week.
Homeowners will need to be prepared to pay a large initial investment with some roofs coming in at around $75,000 (approximately £17 per sqr ft), but the electric-car company expects these costs to pay off in utility savings over a 30 year period.
Tesla will begin production of two of the four styles it unveiled last year, a smooth glass and a textured glass tile, with plans already confirmed to roof a 2,000 square-foot home in New York.
As a sweetener, the tech firm is guaranteeing its tiles for the lifetime of the house, in addition to the 30 year power and ‘weatherisation warranty’ that comes as standard.
Musk was gushing in his appraisal of his new tech, “These are really the three legs of the stool for a sustainable energy future…Solar power going to a stationary battery pack so you have power at night, and then charging an electric vehicle…you can scale that to all the world’s demand.”
Not every rooftop is suitable for solar panelling and a number of factors determine the amount of electricity any given roof can generate – sunlight, the roofs exposure to sunlight, neighbouring buildings and tree coverage.
In a Q&A with journalists Musk stated that the new tech “ain’t gonna make sense for somebody to replace a brand new roof with a solar roof.” However, if your roof needs replacing anyway or you are a developer creating a new-build home, financial cost of purchasing a solar roof would be equivalent or cheaper than most traditional roof tiles.
Super-entrepreneur Musk said he expected initial sales of the roof to be slow. He declined to project sales, but said they’d gather speed and one day grow exponentially, “It will be very difficult and it will take a while,” Musk said. “There will be some stumbles along the way, obviously. That’s the vision for the future we think is the only sensible vision for the future, and the one we’re building toward.”
The Californian giant acquired solar-power provider SolarCity last November for a whopping $2.6 billion, so the unification with a large rollout of the increasingly efficient renewable technology is an obvious one. The impact on the housing industry could be palpable, with some international developers such as Arden Homes in Australia already adopting the tech as standard in their construction process.
DealMakerz thinks the sale of solar roof panels can be considered a ‘hard’ form of PropTech. The industry can become obsessed with the digitisation of PropTech; app and online based solutions that cut out a middle-man or provide a lower cost service than traditional methods. In many cases the hype is justified, however, there is an obvious neglect of other forms of PropTech including the use of the latest building and construction technology to provide greener, longer-lasting and in many cases cheaper substitutes to current offerings.
It’s easy to become caught up with the buzz of a new online company, but the scale of Tesla’s solar technology in new build construction could dwarf the majority of PropTech companies we see in the ascendency today.
Developers – Tesla will start fulfilling solar roof panel orders in the UK from early 2018, but you can pre-order now.
Interested in green buildings? Check out this article from last year that looked at an innovative development in North London.