Apparently the most exciting advance in roofing technology could also plausibly come with a lifetime warranty — and lifetime of the universe, not just you. Tesla Founder Elon Musk said at a TED talk over the weekend that the roofing tiles, some of which will be available to the public this month, could last forever.
“We thought about having the warranty be ‘infinity,’ but then we thought that might sound like we were just talking rubbish,” said Musk. “But actually this is toughened glass … well after the house has collapsed and there’s nothing there, the roof will, the glass tiles will still be there.”
Musk has been an ardent promoter of this latest venture in solar technology since he announced it last fall, as he believes that all homes in the United States will have solar roofs in the next 15–20 years.
Tesla’s solar tiles function much like traditional roof tiles, and he claims they have more durability. At the same time, they form a system that allows the roof in question to look good while also absorbing high amounts of solar energy to be stored in a household battery for later consumption.
Musk’s solar roof tiles come with some commanding promises: They’ll look good, survive wear and tear, and apparently, one day, they’ll even have the ability to defrost themselves.
Musk explained solar glass is capable of incorporating a heating element like you’d find on a rear window of a car, and that that could allow the tiles to clear themselves during winter weather to keep on generating electricity. There was no indication that standard models would have that technology, or even if they’d yet developed said technology.
Of course the biggest question is still unanswered: the price. Musk’s disclosures about cost have been confident if murky, and he has made it clear the final price will be less over a period of time than normal roofing, if certain factors are taken into account. For instance, you’ll save money on electricity with the tiles, and they’re guaranteed to last lifetimes.
Unfortunately many people have to take short-term costs into consideration when making decisions like this, so saving money on a 10- or 20-year curve doesn’t necessarily tell people whether they’ll be able to afford to replace their roof with Tesla tiles. You can watch the rest of the TED Talk below.