Eco-Friendly SolarRoof And Powerwall 2
The need for sustainability and eco-friendliness has led to inevitable revolutions and developments in some industries. In the solar industry, for example, building integrated photovoltaic technology (BIPV) has seen a gradual but steady increase in attention.
Unlike traditional solar installations (also known as building applied photovoltaic technology, BAPV) BIPV aims at saving costs by incorporating photovoltaic modules into the building material rather than as an after-construction addition.
This implies the use of solar technology as a building material rather than as an add-on.
One of the latest developments in BIPV technology is the launch of the new and innovative Solar Roof by Tesla and SolarCity. This development comes barely a few months after Tesla brought SolarCity into its fold in a $2.6 billion deal that many were skeptical about. The Solar Roof integrates solar panels within glass roof tiles replacing the traditional home roof as we know it.
According to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, the new Solar Roof is expected to eradicate any visual or aesthetic setbacks that homeowners may fear when thinking of reverting to the use of solar energy. After all, the new Solar Roof does increase the aesthetic value of a house.
Stakeholders have also discussed this subject in the past, stating the need for solar installations to be rebranded and marketed as aesthetic and technical improvements. In fact, the solar panels are so seamlessly integrated with the glass roof tiles that during the launch, the normal hawk-eyed reporters only realized they were looking at the panels when Musk pointed them out.
Features Of The Solar Roof
Some of the most notable features of the Solar Roof include;
- A colored louver film that camouflages the cells into the roof while at the same time minimizing the loss of solar efficiency.
- Highly efficient solar cells that produce more energy even when the temperatures are high.
- Tempered glass that incorporates the use of quartz. This makes the Tesla roof incredibly strong and durable. In fact, according to the estimates, the Solar Roof tiles can withstand the impact of hails hitting them at a stunning 200 mph. According to Musk, the lifespan of the Solar Roof can easily stretch to at least 50 years. This is extremely good news for homeowners looking to lay their concerns regarding the long-term productivity and durability of their solar panels to rest.
- The Solar Roof has also earned praise for its competitive advantage regarding aesthetics and the way it complements the beauty of the home. In addition to that, the Solar Roof will come in a variety of styles including; Tuscan glass tile, smooth glass tile, textured glass tile and lastly, slate glass tile. The Tuscan glass tile has style closest to looking like a real conventional roof.
Although no pricing information was given for the Solar Roof, Musk did note that it would be affordable. According to him, the roof’s cost will be equivalent to the cost of a traditional roof plus the cost of electricity.
According to SolarCity’s website, the total cost will be less than the cost of a traditional roof once projected savings from the utility bill are factored in. The website also notes that homeowners wishing to install the Solar Roof will have the choice of choosing from several financing options.
Production of the Solar Roof is expected to begin in 2017.
Aside from the Solar Roof, Tesla also unveiled Powerwall 2 yet another potential game-changer when it comes to residential energy storage. The best thing about the Powerwall 2 is that it comes with double the power of the previous Powerwall model.
Those who want to own the Powerwall 2 will cough up $5,500 for one 14 kWh battery and an extra $1000 for installation and supporting hardware. However, it is important to note that the total cost of $6,500 does not include sales tax, permitting fees or a solar power system. Nevertheless, this is still an affordable price considering the features of the Powerwall 2.
Some of the most exciting features of the Powerwall 2 include;
- Installation of the Powerwall 2 is quite simple. One can mount it on the wall or the floor, and it doesn’t matter whether it is installed indoors or on the outside.
- The Powerwall 2 also includes a fully integrated Tesla inverter. The inverter converts DC energy to AC energy for use in the home.
- This home battery has an energy capacity of 14 kWh. This is a great improvement over the previous model of the Powerwall which came in two sizes, the larger unit with a capacity of 10 kWh and a cost of $3,500 while the smaller unit came with a capacity of 7 kWh and a cost of $3000. According to the Tesla website, the Powerwall 2 can comfortably power a two bedroom house for 24 hours.
- It can power a house/room on a continuous basis at 5 kW with the ability to go as high as 7 kW at its peak.
- The unit also boasts a high round-trip efficiency score with the AC Powerwall’s efficiency rated at 89% and the DC Powerwall’s efficiency rated at 91.8%.
- The Powerwall 2 can operate at between temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius.
- The unit comes with an unlimited warranty of 10 years.
- The unit is UL and IEC certified. It is also Grid code compliant.
- It is safe for the entire family as there are no live wires on the unit and neither are there any bulky vents.
- Powerwall 2’s design makes it quite durable as it comes in a water resistant and dust-proof casing.
- Real-time monitoring allows homeowners to monitor their solar energy use. They also get alerts whenever the unit is getting ready for cloudy or other severe weather.
It is possible for homeowners to escape the use of the grid by using solar panels (or the Solar Roof which will hit the market soon) together with one or two Powerwall 2 units. Homeowners intending to purchase electric vehicles in future may also find that the Powerwall will come in handy when charging the batteries of their cars.
In the meantime, however, the Powerwall 2 is useful in powering up the home during power shortages. With this in mind, homeowners who live in areas that are highly prone to power outages should seriously consider getting hold of the Powerwall 2. Tesla will start shipping Powerwall 2 units in December 2016 while installations are expected to begin in January 2017.