Elon Musk's company SolarCity, recently purchased by Tesla, will be developing solar 'shingles,' small solar panels that would take the place of roof tiles.
The merger between Tesla and SolarCity was finalized earlier this month, with Tesla paying about $2.6 billion for the solar company. During SolarCity's Q2 earnings call with investors, Musk and also introduced plans to make a "solar roof" that would be integrated with Tesla's battery technology. "It's not a thing on a roof. It is the roof," said Musk during the earnings call.
Most current solar roof setups involve panels mounted on existing roofs, but Musk says that for roofs that are nearing the end of their lifespan, installing rooftop solar panels doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
"You don't want to put solar panels on top of a roof you're going to replace," said Musk.
Instead, Musk proposes replacing old roof tiles with new ones that also generate solar power. These solar shingles will be manufactured in SolarCity's new Gigafactory in Buffalo, NY.
Musk says there is a large market for these solar shingles. "If your roof is nearing end-of-life you've got to get a new roof anyway. There are 5 million new roofs a year just in the U.S. And so, why not have a solar roof that's better in many other ways as well?"
There's no indication when these solar shingles will hit the market, and there are no specifics yet when it comes to price or other details. However, Musk says that when the solar roof does launch, "people are going to be really excited about what they see."