A few weeks after Tesla Motors Inc. unveiled its plans for a new line of sleek solar roof tiles, the electric car and battery maker officially became a clean-energy company on Thursday after about 85% of shareholders voted to acquire SolarCity Corporation, the largest American provider of solar energy. The $2 billion deal effectively creates a “one-stop shop” that will allow consumers to simply integrate their homes and vehicles through Tesla products.
As Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk put it during a meeting with shareholders in Fremont, California: “We’re trying to make an integrated product. So you have an integrated solar roof with a Powerwall and an electric car, and you just go into a Tesla store, just say yes, it just happens. It all works, it’s seamless and you love it.”
But Musk made an even bigger claim, saying that Tesla’s new rooftop solar “tiles” will cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof—without even taking into account savings on the electricity bill. According to Bloomberg, Musk said:
Electricity is just a bonus [...] So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and—by the way—generates electricity. Why would you get anything else?
A bold claim, to be sure, as pricing is still being worked out, but Musk believes that the bulk of savings will come from the fact that the new shingles, made of tempered glass, will be drastically lighter and therefore significantly cheaper to ship.