Solar roof, not panels, caps the package

“What if we could offer you a roof that looks way better than a normal roof? What if we could offer you a roof that lasts far longer than a normal roof? Now it’s a different ballgame.” — Elon Musk quote from SolarCity conference call yesterday

Looks like Tesla/SolarCity is going to unveil a solar roof product that makes your entire roof photovoltaic. It’s a product YOU configure to the same extent you configure your Model S. Sounds pretty enough to complete a ménage à trois of pretty electric car in the driveway, pretty battery system on the wall and pretty lid on the house. But it also sounds potentially problematic for aircraft pilots, birds and satellites. When these solar roofs become super popular, that’s a whole lot of light and heat pointed upward. TeslaMondo eagerly awaits assuaging words on this subject. Will the solar roof somehow be non-reflective?

Moreover, if these PV pieces serve as shingles, how will they survive harsh winters? Shovels? Ice dams? Reindeer?

Tesla/SolarCity’s efforts are not an assault on utility companies. Musk: “I really want to emphasize that our goal is to work with utilities, and to collectively solve the future energy-electricity demand of the world. As the electricity demand rises tremendously, due to electrification and sustainability — I don’t think anybody wants to have huge new power lines pulled through their neighborhoods and mass expansion of substations, and all those things that would be necessary to fully electrify transport and heating. It’s a huge headache to do that.”

And striking solar/battery deals with utilities — we might see hundreds of these deals — would be awfully slow and sloppy if the boards of two different companies have to approve all of them. That’s yet another reason for the TSLA/SCTY merger.

Meanwhile, looks like the aging terms “going green” and “going solar” might change to “going Tesla,” as hinted by TeslaMondo last year. If that lingual transition does indeed happen, it will make it all the tougher for, say, Mercedes to sell a “me too” solar/battery/car package. Can you imagine anyone emailing Mercedes to ask about going Tesla?

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