Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) founder and CEO Elon Musk made a bold claim last week by declaring that the solar roof that will be sold under a combined Tesla-SolarCity will likely cost less to install than a conventional roof — and that’s even before factoring in energy tax credits and energy cost savings.
Tesla and SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) shareholders voted Thursday to approve a $2.6 billion all-stock merger of the two companies. In late October, Musk unveiled at a much-hyped event at Universal Studios in Los Angeles four types of different stylish looking solar shingles made of textured glass and integrated solar cells which are specifically designed to grab sunlight and turn it into electricity. Musk however, did not provide any specifics in terms of how much the rooftop products – which would reportedly feature tempered glass made by Tesla, a special coating from 3M (NYSE:MMM) that changes the appearance of the shingle based on the viewing angle, as well as solar power technology jointly developed by Tesla, SolarCity and Panasonic – would cost.
“It’s looking quite promising that a solar roof will actually cost less than a normal roof before you even take the value of electricity into account”, Musk said [via Bloomberg], minutes after the Tesla-SolarCity merger was approved. “So the basic proposition would be, ‘Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, last twice as long, cost less and by the way generates electricity?’ Why would you get anything else?”
Musk added that the price point he was referring to factored in the cost of labor.
The idea is to make solar-paneled roofs “as appealing as electric cars,” Tesla’s CEO said.
If Musk’s claims prove true, with five million homes needing a new roof each year in the US alone, this will certainly be big news for the solar industry and perhaps a real turning point in the evolution of solar power.