Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) have come up with another way of pleasing both the eco-conscious and the aesthetically-minded markets, though maybe not investors. Time will tell if the shareholder decision on the acquisition of SolarCity will be in favour of the merger and subsequent solar tile production.
Elon Musk’s latest vision for the future foregrounds the greentech philosophy that the ‘sun provides more than enough energy in just one hour to supply our planet’s energy needs for an entire year.’ He is harnessing this power in solar panel technology used to create lasting and attractive rooftops.
Solar Roof and Powerwall
The technology used enables tiles to change color and blend in with traditional roofing. These camouflage panels use “hydrographic coloring”, a cost-efficient printing process which allows for competitive pricing.
Tesla’s newest product is made of glass, film and solar cells, and come in four types: Terra Cotta, Clay, Slate and Tesla Glass Tiles, depending on the homeowner’s preference.
Solar glass tiles can also incorporate heating elements, like rear defroster on a car, to clear roof of snow and keep generating energy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2016
Tesla Energy’s bid to power the planet exclusively with sustainable energy takes shape in the Powerwall 2, their commercial and utility energy system, a household battery that can convert sunlight from the rooftop solar tiles into energy or save it for a rainy day.
Tesla and SolarCity
However the technology itself could be overshadowed by the politics behind it. In a blog post and conference call, details surrounding the collaboration with SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) have surfaced. Tesla is branding the relationship a merger, but critics are dubbing it as a bailout for the debt-ridden firm. Musk will hope news about their roof panels project will encourage investors to back the purchase. However, the stock price for both companies went down after the conference call, ahead of the November 17 vote by shareholders on the acquisition.
Tesla was not the first to produce solar shingles but perhaps their prevalence in the clean technology space ensures a greater chance of success. Dow Powerhouse’s Solar System 2.0 was similar in terms of the integrated nature of the tiles that lie flat on the roof, as opposed to original bolt-on panels. Dow used to be the biggest manufacturer but closed in 2016, despite benefitting from tax rebates and subsidies. They could not distinguish themselves enough from the PV (photovoltaic) solar panel market.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Emma Harwood, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.