Tesla opens up preorders for its solar roof

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Tesla has started taking preorders for its “solar roof,” the tile-sized solar panels that the company announced back in October 2016. According to the company, the “typical” customer in the US can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot of solar panels.

A Tesla solar roof for a two-story, 2,000-square-foot home in New York state would cost around $50,000 to install after federal tax cuts, and would generate $64,000 in energy savings over 30 years, according to the company’s solar roof calculator.

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“Although the cost of our solar tiles is more expensive up front, it can be more than offset by the value of energy the tiles produce,” Tesla says in a blog post. “In many cases, the reduction in a home’s electricity bill over time will be greater than the cost of the roof.”

Of the four panel types Tesla has said it will make, only two are currently available for preorder: “smooth” or “textured” glass tile. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that the Tuscan and French Slate varieties will be available “in about six months.” Musk also said that Tesla’s solar roof will be available in “almost any country.” Deliveries will start in the US this year, with the UK following next year.

Tesla’s solar roof connects to the Powerwall 2, its home battery, which is capable of storing 14kWh of energy, with a 5kW continuous power draw, and 7kW peak. The tiles themselves are made with tempered glass to protect the underlying panels from damage. They’re also printed a special way so that the solar panels aren’t visible from the road — they supposedly look opaque enough to be mistaken for traditional roofing tiles unless you’re looking almost straight down on them.

Tesla claims the tiles do not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete. “Solar Roof is the most durable roof available and the glass itself will come with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” the company says.

(Musk is pretty obsessed with the durability of the solar tiles. He just posted this video of a “cannonball” shattering against one in slow-motion.)

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