Tesla Unveils Revolutionary Solar Panels After Summer Merger with SolarCity

Jack_Benoit

Civil Engineering Student
Nov 30, 2016
Tesla Unveils Revolutionary Solar Panels After Summer Merger with SolarCity

Tesla Unveils Revolutionary Solar Panels After Summer Merger with SolarCity 
 

 

On October 28th, tech tycoon Elon Musk unveiled a new product that could revolutionize the household implementation of solar energy. With the aid of SolarCity, a solar company that merged with Tesla earlier this summer, Musk has developed a new brand of solar panels, one that in many ways challenge pre-existing conceptions regarding these alternative energy sources. 
 

 

The biggest difference between Musk’s model and those that have come before is its aesthetic appeal. Coming in four different styles (these being Textured Glass, Slate Glass, Tuscan Glass, and Smooth Glass), the tiles greatly resemble common roofing material, as opposed to the bulky and unappealing panels of the past. With characteristic dramatic flair, Musk revealed the tiles in LA on the old set of the television show Desperate Housewives, showcasing their luxurious appearance. 
 

 

With the planet’s environment growing ever more unstable, many are questioning Musk’s apparent focus on form over function. However, there are many simple marketing forces that could lead the Tesla solar tiles to have a massive impact on small scale solar power generation. First, while the tiles do seem geared towards those with high disposable income, Tesla’s business strategy has always been to slowly move from luxury products to more readily accessible ones. Their Model 3, set to go into production in 2017, starts at just $35,000, a far cry from the $100,000 luxury vehicles they put out at first. It is not unreasonable to assume that Musk will follow this same model with the tiles, generating excitement with a high end first generation and then moving towards something more mainstream. Furthermore, many home solar panel producers to date have been part of small scale companies, with relatively small and focused customer bases. By virtue of being backed by a well established producer such as Tesla, it is probable that the solar tiles will be seen and purchased by a much broader audience. 
 

 

With Tesla’s recent financial instability in mind, many question whether Musk’s empire can handle any more large capital expenditures. Musk himself is optimistic about the success of the tiles, expecting their sales to surpass those of his automotive branch. The two could tie together very well, as Tesla tiles could easily end up charging electric Tesla cars in the future. Whatever uncertainty still surrounds the applicability of the tiles, they represent an important push towards home-scale adoption of solar power. 

 

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Jack_Benoit // Civil Engineering Student

Currently a junior student at Tufts University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I am also pursuing minors in Architectural Studies and Engineering Management. My other interests affordable housing, green architecture, and urban planning.

 
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