Tesla has started installing the first of its Solar Roofs, and Elon Musk is among the initial customers. The Tesla CEO said on a call with investors last night that he and JB Straubel, the company’s CTO, have both installed the solar power roofs on their homes. Musk even claims that two photos released in Tesla’s letter to investors (seen below) are of one of their houses (though the home looks a little small for Musk).
“I want to emphasize there's no Photoshopping on the roof. That is actually how it looks,” Musk said. “It was, ‘take some pics with your phone and send them over.’ That's what we're talking about here. Not some special lighting conditions, pro-photographer situation.”
There was no update on when customers outside of Tesla will start getting their roofs installed. Preorders were opened on Solar Roofs back in May, and deliveries are supposed to begin later this year. Musk said installations would start slow and then ramp up “exponentially” as the installation process is simplified and production increases. It’s a similar pattern to what Tesla is doing with car deliveries, as the first of its Model 3s went to Tesla employees, too.
Musk also seems to suggest that Tesla is using these initial installations to help refine the product. “This is version one,” he said of what was installed on his home. “I think this roof's going to look really knockout as we just keep iterating.”
The Solar Roof product was announced less than a year ago, in October 2016. The product is designed to resemble a normal roof, but contain solar panels hidden among regular tiles. That way, homeowners can get the benefits of switching to solar power, without having the drawback of putting large and often unsightly solar panels on or around their home. The product is also designed to connect to Tesla’s Powerwall, a large battery meant to store enough energy to power a home.
Of course, for the benefit of all of that, you’re looking at a pretty expensive up-front cost on a roof.