By: Evan Marshall
Tesla has unveiled its newest product—solar panels that can be added on to a pre-existing roof.
Last year Tesla acquired another company of Elon Musk’s, SolarCity, which specializes in solar products, generally home and business solar panels. Musk called the purchase “blindingly obvious,” allowing Tesla to offer end-to-end solar services, although the stock market disagreed with him at the time. SolarCity struggled with its investors, who wanted the company to expand its growth before working on turning a profit.
The panels utilize technology that SolarCity had acquired while still an independent company, a system which allows for them to be attached to a roof “with integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware.” The result, Tesla says on its website, is a “clean, streamlined look.”
While the company has not revealed all the new specs of the panels, they provide 325 watts and Tesla claims that they “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan.” The non-Tesla 325-watt panels that Panasonic sells have a 21.76 percent efficiency and a 25-year power output warranty.
Where SolarCity struggled, Musk is convinced Tesla can add a boost to an industry that entered 2017 with a sense of dread. Everything from the bankruptcy of SunEdison, the world’s largest renewable power developer, to a predicted decline in Chinese demand, to the election of a president more focused on coal than solar, has left the industry shaky. It’s too early to see if Musk can buck the trend, but considering the success of his other recent ventures, there’s certainly reason to believe he stands a chance.