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First up-close look at Tesla solar roof tiles

Tesla is slowly ramping up installations of its solar roof tiles and we got to see a few final product from customer installations in the last few months, but never a close look at the actual tiles and their connection system – until now.

After unveiling the solar tiles, CEO Elon Musk said that making the connectors robust involved “a shocking amount of technology”:

“This is a connector that has to last for more than 30 years. It has to be weatherproof, heavy rain, snow, slush, salt, water leaking – it’s like connector hell.”

Tesla CTO JB Straubel then added that the automaker managed to leverage its experience manufacturing connectors for electric vehicles:

“A lot of the challenges here leveraged some great learning from the Tesla team on validating automotive connectors and volume production processes. Tesla is building all these tiles ourselves – we are not outsourcing it. We have been able to solve those more complexed design problems and hit those price points that you see.”

We never had a good look at those connectors or the back of the tiles in general, but a Tesla Energy installer shared a rare up-close look at the tiles on Instagram (hat tip to Broke3):

Electrek’s Take

It looks like Tesla’s ‘textured’ solar tiles and interestingly, we might be able to see the difference between Tesla’s solar and non-solar tiles.

The first one doesn’t appear to feature any solar cell or connector, which leads me to believe it’s one of Tesla’s non-solar tiles.

But we get to see the sort of mounting system to lock the tiles together:

As for the other tile underneath the first one, we get to see the connector, which appears to link the solar cells between the tiles:

As we previously reported, Tesla says that the “typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for a Solar Roof” with a mix of regular tiles and solar tiles.

It’s a fairly expensive product, but it comes with a lifetime of the house warranty and 30-year power generation guaranteed. After the electricity production, Tesla estimates that its solar roof will be cheaper than a non-solar tile roof of similar style or virtually pay for itself through electricity savings.

Tesla claims that they can guarantee the product due to a new glass that they developed for the tiles and is reportedly much more durable than any roofing product to date.

From the little information and images that we have so far, it looks like a fairly well-built product, but I’m curious to see the reviews from owners in the next few years.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

Tesla solar roof products are interesting for homeowners who want solar and need a new roof relatively soon, but a regular solar panel installation is still a good solution for people who don’t need a new roof. Solar and energy storage prices are highly dependent on your market (electricity cost, gov incentives, etc.) and your property. We suggest getting quotes from more than one installer to make sure you get the best energy solution for your place. UnderstandSolar is a great free service to link you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates for free.

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