Will 2020 be the year of the solar roof? – pv magazine USA

Tesla shipped a record number of electric vehicles in the last quarter and started production at its new plant in China. Despite Elon Musk’s efforts, 2019 was not “the year of the solar roof”. Your humble narrator tracked down some rooftop solar installations for viewing Tesla’s solar glass in the wild. We have pictures.

January 10, 2020

Last year Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, called 2019 “the year of the solar roof”, his long-promised building-integrated photovoltaic product.

It turned out that 2019 wasn’t the year of the solar roof.

In late 2019, Musk announced in a memo to employees that Tesla’s top priority was to deliver “all cars” by the end of the year – before the Tesla electric vehicle tax credit expired. Tesla built nearly 105,000 cars and delivered around 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter – both records for the pioneering EV maker, which pushed Tesla’s share price to new highs. Tesla today has a market cap of $ 94.5 billion.

Musk’s second priority, “equally important, is that we significantly increase the rate of solar deployments immediately,” the CEO said in the same memo.

Up on the roof

More than three years after its inception and after Tesla received deposits from interested homeowners, it has only plugged a handful of solar-integrated roofs into the grid.

It is difficult to get the exact number of Tesla rooftop solar installations as Tesla’s public relations are not related to the press. Twitter user Nikola’s Stache suggests that fewer than 100 solar roofs have been installed and only a handful of version 3 roofs are finished.

At the end of last year, Musk introduced version 3.0 of the solar roof tile, claiming with characteristic optimism that the company would increase production to 1,000 roofs per week by December 2019. On a conference call, Musk said:

  • The solar roof version 3.0 with larger tiles is ready for mass use.
  • The tiles now look the same from every angle – with new cell technology and new materials.
  • Musk said the goal is to install the roof in a single visit.
  • Tesla intends to open the product to roofers.
  • He said, “The solar roof doesn’t make financial sense for someone with a relatively new roof.”

Kunal Ginotra, senior director of Energy Operations, said Tesla “increased the size and power density” of the tiles while changing some materials and reducing the number of parts and assemblies.

Ginotra said the goal is to install the solar roof as quickly as traditional composite shingles – with a goal of eight hours. This requires a streamlined process of bringing parts to the field along with assembly equipment to allow for customization for flashing, edging and trimming in the field.

Musk said that with versions 1 and 2, Tesla “still figured out something.” He said version 3 was “finally ready for the big time. That is why we are increasing the production of the version 3 solar roof in our Buffalo Gigafactory. “

Photos of the solar roof in the wild

Here is the roof of version 3.0 in Cupertino, California. This installation contained a Tesla battery.

Photo by the author

Photo by Eric Wesoff

This Los Gatos, California home had V2 tiles on the roof and was completely renovated.

Photo by the author

There were several piles of unused or scrapped tiles on the side of the house.

Photo by the author

Here is a version 2.0 installation in San Jose, California

Photo by the author

Here is another house in San Jose with a version 2.0 roof.

Photo by the author

Here is a roof that has seen better days on a house in San Jose, California. According to Nikolas Stachethese homeowners have drawn a permit for the roof of version 3.0.

Photo by the author

Twitter user Austin Flack provided a time-lapse of his version 3 installation.

Progress. #solarglass #tesla #solarroof pic.twitter.com/hy21vicLkP

– Austin Flack (@austinflack) January 9, 2020

Prepare to install Austin Flacks version 3.

Josh Pomilio, a Tesla solar glass crew leader, posted these version 3 installation photos on Instagram, captured from a house in San Jose. This installation included two Tesla battery units and three inverters, according to the homeowners.

Install same version 3 by Josh Pomilio

The installation is more than 10 kW, according to the homeowners.

Photo by the authorNikola’s Stache (@ BSA19741) posted photos of a Version 3 installation in a Claremont, California home on Twitter. Nikola’s Stache claims that the installation took a team of 11 installers 11 days in late November.

The installation of 1,000 solar roofs per week requires a lot of personnel. To that end, Tesla is holding a hiring event in Petaluma, California later this week looking for solar glass roofers and installers across the San Francisco Bay area.


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