We posted earlier that Elon Musk is planning to lease solar panels for extremely low costs in the near future. While the cost of solar panels has plummeted dramatically, we know that the installation of solar panels still remains stubbornly expensive.
A new patent has been filed by Elon Musk for the upcoming Solar Roof V3, which describes a design that will greatly reduce the time required to install the solar panels, and ultimately bring down the final price for the customer.
The patent titled “Inter-tile support for solar roof tile” describes a way to create a semi-rigid joint between the tiles, which will help to bring the installation time down from 2 weeks to 5-7 days.
The roof module can include at least a first photovoltaic roof tile, a second photovoltaic roof tile positioned adjacent to the first photovoltaic roof tile, and a spacer coupled to and positioned between the first and second photovoltaic roof tiles. The spacer is configured to facilitate a semi-rigid joint between the first and second photovoltaic roof tiles.
The semi-rigid joint will allow a group of tiles to be manufactured and installed at once, thus saving much time and labour.
To facilitate scalable production and easy installation of PV roof tiles, a group of tiles can be fabricated together and jointed in a rigid or semi-rigid way. Carefully designed spacers inserted between adjacent tiles are needed to facilitate the jointing of adjacent PV roof tiles.
While installation costs have been reduced, the product itself still remains quite expensive at $21.85/square foot; but Musk is adamant that it’s equivalent in cost to the overall savings on electric bills.
I am very excited about version 3 of solar roof. We have a shot at being equal to a comp shingle roof plus someone’s utility cost or being lower than that. That’s one of the cheapest roofs available. So you can have a great roof with better economics than a normal fairly cheap roof and your utility bill.
It’s also worth noting that a lifetime of the house warranty, as well as a 30-year power generation guarantee is also included in the cost.
Musk’s goal of producing 1,000 Solar Roof V3’s per week is certainly optimistic considering the difficulties the company faced with the previous models. When Tesla first launched its Solar Roof Tiles in 2017, the company initially expected volume production and installation to start in 2018; but further improvements meant the date had to be pushed to 2019.
Hopefully these technological improvements will help make Musk’s vision of a Tesla house and a Tesla car powered by a Tesla power wall and a Tesla solar roof a reality!