The innovative maker of electric cars announced Tuesday that it has begun manufacturing electricity-producing roof shingles at its new factory in upstate New York.
The company first revealed plans to offer premium solar roof tiles at the time of its US$2bln acquisition of SolarCity Corp. in 2016. CEO and founder Elon Musk has said that the glass solar shingles will transform the rooftop solar industry.
Tesla’s shingles closely resemble ordinary shingles, except they allow light to pass through to a flat solar cell to produce electricity. Musk and Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel, as well as several Tesla employees, had solar roofs installed on their own homes in a test program.
The Buffalo, N.Y., facility called Gigafactory 2, began production of solar panels and cells four months ago. The 1.2-million-square-foot factory was built with a US$750mln contribution from New York state to jump start the economy in the western part of the state.
The Gigafactory began rolling out the photovoltaic glass tiles last month.
According to Bloomberg energy analyst Hugh Bromley, the premium solar shingles will cost more than conventional roofing, but not “wickedly so.”