Tesla to begin selling solar roof tiles

Tesla to begin selling solar roof tiles

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows a Tesla solar roof cell.

Tesla will begin shipping solar roof tiles to U.S. customers in 2017, CEO Elon Musk said early Wednesday.

The company will begin accepting orders Wednesday afternoon for roof tiles that Musk has pledged will be more durable than a typical roof and cheaper when electricity savings are included.

Musk revealed the plans in a series of tweets, adding that the company would provide more details Wednesday afternoon. The tiles will convert sunlight into electricity.

The "black glass smooth" and "textured" tiles will be available first, and the company will begin selling the "Tuscan" and "French slate" tiles in six months, he said.

It's unclear how quickly Tesla will ramp up production volume to meet demand. The company said Wednesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that "pilot manufacturing" would begin at its Fremont, Calif., factory in the second quarter.

Soon after that, the company will move production to a plant in Buffalo, N.Y., where it is collaborating with Panasonic on manufacturing, according to the filing.

Tesla stock edged up 0.1% in pre-market trading to $321.60.

The product, which Tesla will offer through its SolarCity division, will be a no-brainer for homeowners, Musk has said.

"The base of the proposition would be, would you like a roof that looks better than the normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less, and by the way, generates electricity?" Musk told investors in November. "It's like why would you get anything else? Maybe there's a reason. I'm not sure why."

The company says on its website that the product will offer a "lower cost than a traditional roof when combined with projected utility bill savings."

The product could also pave the way for increased interest in Tesla's home-energy storage product, a wall-mounted battery pack that provides backup power. Solar energy could fuel electricity into the battery pack to provide power when the sun goes down.

"Solar and batteries go together like peanut butter and jelly," Musk said in October.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.



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