The Tesla solar roof made waves when it was announced in October of 2016. Its cutting-edge technology and one-of-a-kind visual appeal made it the first of its kind.
In Part 1 of this four-section article, we discussed Tesla’s aesthetic goals and the unique printing process. In Part 2, we provided an overview of the solar tiles’ impressive materials and technology. In Part 3, we introduced the Powerwall battery and broke down the cost factors associated with a solar roof. Today in Part 4, our roofing lawyers in Florida will conclude the series with a discussion on what to expect in the future.
What to Expect in the Future
Tesla started accepting deposits to reserve solar roofs in May of 2017. Three months later, the company announced that they had begun installing the first solar roofs on some of their executives’ and employees’ homes. The homes of Tesla’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO) J.B. Straubel and Elon Musk himself were among the first two respective installations. The company seems to be taking the same approach as they did with their Model 3 car, which was delivered to employees before the company started delivering to other customers.
In December of 2016, Tesla announced its plans to move solar tile production from their Fremont, California factory to “Gigafactory 2,” their larger factory in Buffalo. After a year of delays and a brief trial run, production officially began in January of 2018.
Critics say it’s unclear how much production is actually underway, but Tesla has confirmed that they are now installing their solar roofs in non-employee customers’ homes. Currently all installations are smooth or textured black glass. The company has plans to make both “Tuscan glass” and “French slate” style solar tiles; however, they are not yet available for installation.
Tesla and Panasonic work together on battery production. The two companies signed an agreement in December of 2016 to begin manufacturing solar PV cells and modules at Gigafactory 2.
Panasonic hosted multiple job fairs and fielded tons of job applications in preparation for increased production. In October of 2017, Gigafactory 2 employed 182 people and currently employs approximately 500 (as of January 9, 2018). New York state contributed $750 million to the factory’s building and outfitting on the condition that it would provide 1,460 Buffalo area jobs by the time it is fully operational, so employment numbers are critical. Gigafactory 2 will significantly ramp up production in the near future.
Tesla estimates that their current solar roof reservations will keep them busy well into 2018.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.