Tesla has begun selling its long-awaited solar roof tiles, offering an alternative to the traditional unsightly panels that can deter some homeowners from making the switch. Recalling that the Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future by creating compelling products, Elon Mask promised an infinite warranty that protects the tiles for life.

Solar roof tile installations will begin in June on the west coast starting in California, while the other countries can expect it in 2018. The deposit for pre-ordering is $1000. Tesla said the product, which generates solar energy without the need for traditional rooftop panels, will be pricier than a conventional roof but will look better and ultimately pay for itself through reduced electricity costs. However, Tesla has created an interactive calculator, powered by  Google Project Sunroof, where customers can calculate the estimated upfront cost of a solar roof.

What Do You Need To Know About Solar Roof Tiles

Elon Musk announced a new type of home solar panel in October 2016, called Solar Roof. The solar panels are being sold through Tesla Energy. Traditional solar panels are bulky and stand out. On the other side, solar roof tiles are meant to look like a traditional roof.

The new roof will be offered in four model designs: Tuscan glass tile, slate glass tile, textured glass tile and smooth glass tile. Each of these achieves a different aesthetic look, but all resembled fairly closely a current roofing material style. Responding to a question via Twitter Musk said the first version of the tiles that can be pre-ordered are the black glass smooth and textured versions. Although made from glass, Musk assures that tiles are extremely durable.

Image credit: TESLA
Image credit: TESLA

The glass tiles are designed to look like a traditional roof, with options that replicate slate or terracotta tiles. They contain photovoltaic cells that Tesla says are invisible from the street.
The energy from the tiles can power a home when combined with Tesla’s Powerwall energy storage unit. With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available anytime, which Tesla claims ‘effectively turns your home into a personal utility.

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In the above gif, you can see solar roof tested for the highest FM 4473 hail rating, and Tesla states that the video was filmed at a tremendous 2,500 frames per second.

Tesla said the solar tiles cost $42 per square foot to install, making them far more costly than slate, which costs around $17 per square foot, or asphalt, which costs around $5. But homes would only need between 30 and 40 percent of their roof tiles to be solar; the rest would be Tesla’s cheaper non-solar tiles which would blend in with the solar ones.

Musk said it expects the product to be popular in locations beyond where its SolarCity subsidiary currently operates and plans to expand installation crews accordingly. Tesla will manufacture the tiles at its solar factory in Buffalo, New York. Production will start “very slowly,” Musk told reporters on a conference call, adding he expects robust demand.