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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Tesla Begins Mass Production Of Solar Shingles

Tesla began manufacturing its solar powered shingles for mass market release, according to CEO Elon Musk’s Tuesday email reported by Bloomberg.

Musk introduced the concept to industry leaders and brand fans last year. The shingles are topped with a strong glass that allows light to pass through to specially designed miniature solar panels, allowing homes access to affordable and visually attractive off-the-grid electricity.

A group of the Tesla employees signed up for prototype testing, and the company will be ready to begin installing the shingles in the coming months.

“It may actually do well in overseas markets where solar-photovoltaic is cheap and homeowners are used to paying a premium for building materials and cars -- such as Australia,” Hugh Bromley, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said.

Comparatively, opting for the Tesla roof is more expensive than using traditional materials, but not by an overwhelming margin. Bromley estimates that a 2,000-square foot home would require $57,000 worth of Tesla tiles, whereas a terra cotta roof with solar panel add-ons would cost $41,000. Plain asphalt roof panels for a similarly sized home would cost roughly $22,000.

The solar roof and the energy storage Powerwall will combine with Tesla’s electric vehicles to create what Musk argues is a complete package for everyone to shift to clean energy. “These are really the three legs of the stool for a sustainable energy future,” Musk said at the shingles’ launch event. “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.”

Reflecting its status as an increasingly vertically integrated clean energy company, Bloomberg points out that Tesla is revamping its sales strategy. Instead of doing door-to-door sales for its solar roof, Tesla is moving its solar roofing sales into its EV car stores.

By Zainab Calcuttawala of Oilprice.com

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