Technology

Elon Musk announces opening of online store for solar roof tiles on Twitter.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet this morning that the company’s online store was ready to begin taking orders for solar roofing tiles.

Last October, Tesla unveiled four styles of solar tiles. The company says two – smooth glass and textured glass – are ready to begin production. Tesla promises the other two styles, Tuscan and French slate, will be available by the end of 2017. Although the company will accept orders from anywhere in the world, it has announced that overseas deliveries will not begun until 2018.

Solar tiles will be manufactured initially at Tesla’s solar plant in Fremont, California. Production will shift to the company’s new factory in Buffalo, New York, with additional investments from Panasonic, which is partnering with Tesla on the initiative.

Tesla’s rooftop shingles are nearly indistinguishable from traditional high-end roof tiles. Solar cells are discreetly embedded beneath a glass surface. They look like ordinary shingles from most angles, but they allow light to pass through to standard solar cells, generating electricity.

Tesla’s October announcement of solar roofing products generated a great deal of interest, but the enthusiasm has been muted by lack of details about when they tiles would be available and how much they would cost.

The first question appears to be answered. Tesla is taking orders, and the tiles will ship soon. As for the prices, Tesla still hasn’t revealed them. Presumably customers will find out how much their tiles cost when they place an order in Tesla’s online store.

After acquiring SolarCity in November 2016, Musk predicted that Tesla’s solar roofing products might cost less to manufacture and install than traditional materials, even before savings from power generation are factored in. “Electricity,” the CEO said, “is just a bonus.”