Tesla debuts sleek glass solar rooftop tiles

tesla tile
Tesla
Tesla's proposed takeover of the solar installation company Solar City makes more sense now.

Tesla has taken a major step towards delivering on its vision of providing integrated solar, energy storage and electric vehicle technologies with the unveiling Monday of its new solar glass roof tile and Powerwall energy storage system.

At an event on the lot for the TV show "Desperate Housewives" at Universal Studio in Los Angeles, the company showcased its Tuscan solar roof tile for the first time.

The glass roof tiles include integrated solar cells and are designed to avoid the visual impact of conventional solar panels.

The company has not provided pricing information for the new tiles, but Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said the system would prove cheaper than installing a new roof and adding a traditional solar array.

In a series of Tweets, Musk said the technology also would prove more robust and energy efficient than a conventional roof.

The launch also saw Tesla unveil its new Powerwall 2 domestic energy storage system, which will be priced from $5,500 and will allow customers to store the solar power they generate onsite.

The dual launch came a day after the company provided an update on the new version of its energy storage system for commercial clients, Powerpack 2.

"Powerpack 2 provides twice the energy density and a more seamless integration into multiple levels of the grid," the company said in a statement. "Powerpack 2 is also now matched with a new inverter, designed by Tesla and manufactured at the Gigafactory. It is the lowest cost, highest efficiency and highest power density utility-scale inverter on the market. It also significantly simplifies the installation process of the entire Powerpack system by integrating a number of previously independent components into the inverter itself."

Tesla is targeting the fast-expanding grid-scale energy storage market, as well as the domestic sector, and already has signed up a number of high-profile clients, such as Southern California Edison's Mira Loma substation and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

"The Powerpack systems for these two projects are being built now at our Gigafactory and, when deployed later this year, will be the two largest lithium-ion battery storage installations in the world," the company stated.

It added the Powerpack product was "a cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions such as building larger substations, bigger wires and more power plants".

The flurry of announcements comes at a crucial time for Tesla, which earlier this week surprised analysts by posting a profit for the most recent quarter on the back of stronger than expected shipments of its electric vehicles.

The company is awaiting a decision from shareholders next month on its proposed takeover of U.S. solar installer SolarCity, which has been criticized by some analysts, but which Musk has argued will provide a major boost to the company's vision of delivering integrated clean energy and transport solutions.

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