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4 September 2017

Tesla begun large-scale production of solar roof tiles

American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer Tesla launched large-scale production of its glass solar roof tile at its Buffalo plant. 

The company has already started the small-scale production and installation of its innovative solar roofs, which look like regular roofs- only they are made of glass.

Now, the roof tiles will be produced in its 1.2 million-square-foot factory in Buffalo, where the company has several hundred workers and machinery installed.

JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer said: “By the end of the year, we will have a rump-up of solar roof modules started in a substantial way”.

He underlined: “This is an interim milestone that we’re pretty proud of”.

The roof tiles will change the way that rooftop solar installations are perceived, as they will be able to produce clean electricity without compromising the “aesthetic” side of the roof.

Tesla has partnered with Panasonic Corp, which will be responsible for the solar cell, - which are said to look like computer chips, and then Tesla will incorporate them in the roof tiles.

Mr Straubel revealed that the factory aims to produce 2GW of cells on solar roof tiles by 2019- double the initial 1GW target, and that they have already started working on how to make the factory more efficient.

When the endeavour was originally announced, Mr Straubel had remarked that 1GW is the equivalent output of a nuclear or a large coal-fired plant, meaning that Tesla will be “eliminating one of those every single year”.

It hasn’t been revealed yet how many customers have actually ordered the solar roof tiles, but Mr Straubel reassured that demand was strong and current orders would be met by the end of 2017.

Customers started placing orders last May, when the installations had started only for Tesla employees.

According to Forbes, the price of the tiles is $42 per square foot ($11 for non-active tiles).

The same source expressed concerns over the success of the niche technology in terms of costs- especially when the conventional solar rooftops PVs have experienced tremendous cost reductions in the past few years.

You can check the first images of how the innovative solar roof tiles will look like here

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